More than 9,000 homes could be built across Aylesbury Vale in the next 20 years, despite a ‘dramatic U-turn’ on the target number, according to the councillor in charge of plans.
Aylesbury Vale District Council cabinet members unanimously voted for a minimum target of 6,000 new houses by 2031 as part of the Vale of Aylesbury Plan, having indicated in May it would prefer 9,000 homes.
Much of the development is expected to be in the Aylesbury East area, around Bierton and Broughton.
But the target does not include plans for up to 3,200 homes at Hampden Fields.
Councillor Carole Paternoster, cabinet member for strategic planning, said the Hampden Fields application, and one for nearly 3,000 homes at Fleet Marston which was thrown out but faces an appeal, could still be built on top of the target.
Councillor Paternoster said: “If they were to be granted then they would be in addition to the 6,000. We can’t take them into account at the moment.”
Former cabinet member Councillor Phil Yerby, who has campaigned against the Hampden Fields application, said it would be ‘beyond belief’ if it was now given the go ahead after the lower target was selected.
Mrs Paternoster said one reason why cabinet settled on the lower target was that the recently announced East-West rail link should mean future development in the northern Vale.
She said: “We are going to have to look at this again in about 10 years’ time. The northern area is going to become the focus for growth.”
The council also hopes to generate 6,000 jobs by 2031.
Mrs Paternoster said the cabinet expects many of these to be created at Silverstone, Westcott, and the Arla dairy, in addition to the 700 jobs already generated there.
Concerns have been raised that the lower target could be thrown out by an inspector and the council lose the power to set the target, and that going for the smaller number will also lead to a greater shortage of affordable housing.
The council is consulting on what percentage of new homes should be ‘affordable’.
Matthew Applegate, Vale of Aylesbury Housing Trust chief executive, said: “Any reduction in affordable housing numbers will inevitably result in longer waiting lists.”