Housing development approved unanimously as council admits: ‘There’s more to come’

Housing development between Bedgrove, top, and Weston Turville,  bottom
Housing development between Bedgrove, top, and Weston Turville, bottom

A housing development sandwiched between Bedgrove and Weston Turville has been approved after a unanimous vote from councillors.

Developers Broughton Farming Partnership wants to build 135 new homes between Ingram Avenue/Wellbeck Avenue in Aylesbury and New Road in Weston Turville.

Aylesbury Town Council and Weston Turville Parish Council objected to the scheme, as did the council’s own planning boss Carole Paternoster.

Concerns included the impact on infrastructure including Tring Road and fears the development would effectively merge Aylesbury and Weston Turville together.

At Aylesbury Vale District Council’s strategic development management committee this afternoon Councillor Phil Yerby, who lives in Weston Turville, hit out at a council planning officer’s recommendation to councillors to approve the plan and ‘implored’ committee to consider the ‘severe impact’ of the scheme.

The district council’s cabinet member for planning, councillor Carole Paternoster, added that the extra housing would put a strain on local services, as there are no plans to build additional amenities on the development.

She said: “The children who live on the development would need to go to school somewhere, but we have heard nothing about the further expansion of the town’s schools.

“Sorry, but they are already full. This development has failed to provide its own infastructure and is not sustainable, therefore it must be refused.”

Cllr Paternoster, who had previously said she didn’t understand why her planning officer had recommended approval, also spoke of the potential knock on effect of traffic at the A41 and New Road junction if traffic lights were introduced, meaning drivers will use Weston Turville’s Main Street as a rat run to avoid queuing traffic on the main road into Aylesbury.

Despite the objections – including 15 letters from the general public – the application was passed by the seven members of the committee on the proviso that officers consider points raised over traffic, flood risk and access to local amenities.

Committee member Julie Ward said: “I wanted to find a reason not to like this application, but this is a more logical growth extension of the town as Bedgrove is already a housing estate. It makes sense.

“Having heard the report and the response, I’m struggling to find solid reasons to refuse this application.”

During the debate, Cllr Janet Blake said that although it was a complicated report, the pros outweigh the cons.

She said: “The way I see it, I do think it has cons which will cause adverse effects but in terms of pros I think it has fulfilled highways, floods, education and affordable housing criteria – therefore I support this application.”

Planning officer Claire Harrison had recommended councillors approve the outline application, as the ‘adverse impacts (of the scheme) would not significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits’.

This includes 35% (47 homes) of the development being affordable housing, considered to be ‘benefits of considerable weight’. New flood-prevention systems put in by the developers would also improve drainage in the area, while plans for 70% of the 5.5 hectare site to be public open space were also praised.

Weston Turville is also faced with plans for 70 homes on the opposite side of New Road and 40 homes along Wendover Road. A government planning inspector’s decision on the massive Hampden Fields development of 3,000 homes is due in January.

The council’s Vale of Aylesbury Plan housing strategy stipulated only 6,000 new homes were needeed in the Vale until 2031 – including just 50 in Weston Turville.

However, the plan became defunct after a government inspector found it to be unsound – leaving the district with little protection against large development.

A council spokesman admitted that until the authority completes its new Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan, the district will have little protection against more housing development.

He said: “Developers and landowners can make planning applications at any time. The council can’t control when this happens and have a legal duty to consider the application under the appropriate local and national guidance.

“If applications for sites come forward in advance of the Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan (VALP) being approved, it’s important all aspects relating to the sites are fully considered. This is to ensure the strategic development management committee are fully aware of all issues when making a decision.

“The National Planning Policy Framework states that if a plan is absent, silent or out of date, permission should be granted, unless there are significant and demonstrable reasons not to grant permission.

“Following the withdrawal of the Vale of Aylesbury Plan (VAP) earlier this year, it was clear we would have to develop beyond our original plans – meaning much higher numbers of new homes. We don’t know what these are yet but we will ensure there is adequate provision for additional infrastructure such as schools, play areas and transport improvements to support new development.”