Aston Clinton residents share fears over the future of their village

Aston Clinton
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Developers have declared open season on Aston Clinton, with a whopping six firms all planning to build houses in the village.

Planning approvals and pending applications have increased exponentially since 2014, with a 60% increase in dwellings since 2014.

This would mean an extra 1200 cars on the roads around Aston Clinton and the A41.

But residents are not taking the planning approvals lying down, and have banded together to form SHAVE (Sustainable Housing for Aylesbury Vale and the Environment).

Several members of SHAVE and the Aston Clinton community got in touch with The Bucks Herald to air their concerns about the adverse affects of these planning approvals.

Jeanett Baxter from SHAVE said: “The size of the developments are mind-boggling - imagine, an extra 250 houses are proposed on land behind Chapel Drive, on top of the already approved and being built 149.

“The developers seem to think that green fields are there for their taking because if you look at Brook Street, Green End Street and College Road South, you will see that is where the concentration of applications is.

“Just last week we have yet another application in for College Road South for 89 houses and the land agent is saying that they are providing “much needed housing and affordable housing.

“Can they please explain why they need to build on these green fields when already AVDC has enough housing to satisfy the housing need and why Aston Clinton should actually be taking any extra on top of that already approved and being built, totalling in excess of 600 houses.

“In 2014 there were 1571 households in Aston Clinton, with the level of housing now and proposed it could exceed 2,500 which represents in excess of 60% increase.

“Where else in the country has a village had to take this amount of additional housing, without the additional infrastructure being in place first?”

Simon Icke, who is also involved with SHAVE said: “Core nerve centre issues”...is the lack of forward planning and co-operation between AVDC & Bucks County Council, especially when it comes to road safety improvements plus the provision of primary school places locally for the expected growth in primary school age child population, knowing Bucks CC policy is to taxi young children all over the Vale (with strangers), putting young children at risk.

“For the few child places available at Aston Clinton School the school will not be able to show any preference to those who have long standing connections to the village ; except perhaps where there are siblings already in the school.

“I predict this will become a highly emotive issue unless decisions are made now to build a second school in the village; if it is impossible to expand the existing school further to allow for the significant expected increase in demand for places.

Another local resident John Oliver has questioned the scale of development in the area, and the impact this will have on the already overloaded A41.

He said: “Apart from the understandable concern within the village about the scale of what is happening, it should be noted that every one of these developments, and many of those in Weston Turville too, will inevitably feed more traffic on to the already overloaded A41, to the detriment of all those who reside on it or travel on it.”

A similar concern for all residents in Aston Clinton is the sheer numbers of proposed housing, with a 40% increase in the numbers of houses mooted by developers.

Destruction of green spaces that give Aston Clinton it’s distinctive green character is also a massive concern.

Helen Sharp, a concerned resident said: “619 new dwellings in the last 5 years = 40% increase in the village.

“Most of the new homes are on large scale greenfield sites and consist of 3-5 bed homes with initial prices of £500k.

“As a village what we need are small homes and flats for first time buyers and downsizers, or the elderly.

“They should be small organic developments that fit naturally into the existing settlement boundary, so we do not lose any more wildlife habit, agricultural land or rural landscape.

“In turn the large scale greenfield developments, as well as failing to provide the homes that the community actually needs, destroy the things that make Aston Clinton a valuable place to live.

“Fields and footpaths visible on the 1816 inclosure map, present and used for 200 years are being torn up under the teeth of the machines.

“The new hedge planted around the Bovis site for 91 homes in Brook Street as a panacea for the anticipated ripping up of the well established hedgerow is untended, wilting and dying.

“Traffic surveys that fail to recognise that potentially 1200 additional cars (from the 619 homes already approved) will have a significant impact on the roads and highway safety of Aston Clinton, the A41 to Aylesbury and surrounding villages.

“They state that the development will be encouraged to use sustainable travel, ie bikes and bus so the traffic will have no impact.

“Well if that is the case why does the new College Road South application for 89 homes including over 200 parking spaces?

“Not to mention the air quality issues that the additional amount of vehicles will bring (not to mention the fact that Tring Road is already detailed as an Air Quality Management Area due to vehicle emissions due to the AVDC website).

“Surely a 40% increase in new homes over five years in Aston Clinton is enough?

“Have the school and the doctors surgery received 40% of the S106 money paid by the developers in order to ensure that can accommodate the increased demand?”

Susan Kitchen, head of planning at AVDC said: “In line with the Government’s aim to boost the supply of houses nationally, housing growth is taking place across all of Aylesbury Vale, including Aston Clinton.

“To meet identified housing needs, around 27,400 new homes must be built within Aylesbury Vale between 2013 and 2033.

“This growth is being planned for within the Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan (VALP), with our final version of this plan due to be published for examination later this year.

“VALP specifically looks to address the requirements for sufficient school places, affordable housing, and adequate transport options and sites which might come forward through the emerging Aston Clinton neighbourhood plan.

“A number of applications were submitted to the council by developers to develop land at Aston Clinton which we have had to consider.

“In each instance, we carefully looked at all of the issues, including the government’s advice, and took into account all comments from residents before any decisions were made.”