Housing developers are having a ‘feeding frenzy’ in Weston Turville, according to a former district council cabinet member.
Councillor Phil Yerby hit out at the council planning department’s decision to back Broughton Farming Partnership’s plans for 135 homes between New Road in Weston Turville and Ingram Avenue/ Wellbeck Avenue in Bedgrove.
The strategic development management committee will decide on the proposals, put forward by the Broughton Farming Partnership, on Wednesday.
The council’s cabinet member for planning, Councillor Carole Paternoster, also disagrees with her own officer’s recommendation and will speak out against the proposals at the meeting.
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.
Mr Yerby, who represents Weston Turville and defected from the Conservatives to UKIP, said: “It’s disgraceful the council has given up trying to fight these proposals.”
He said the council gets six years council tax for every house built under the government’s New Homes Bonus, adding millions to its coffers, which he claimed meant they had a conflict of interest when weighing up proposals.
“People in Weston Turville feel let down. They feel the council has given up and despite being loyal to the council over many generations they now believe that politicians are beyond contempt.”
Fifteen letters of objection from residents have been received by Aylesbury Vale District Council regarding the farming partnership plans, while Aylesbury Town Council and Weston Turville Parish Council are also against the plans.
Concerns include increased traffic on already-busy roads, impact on nearby oversubscribed schools and that the plans would merge Aylesbury and Weston Turville together.
Planning officer Claire Harrison has 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.
Mrs Paternoster said: “I don’t know why officers are recommending this for approval. Officers work independently and as far as planning is concerned it is not political – there’s no way a cabinet member can put pressure on planning officer, they will stick with their policies.
“I am very critical of this site and we can’t keep taking additional housing developments like this.”
She said the council could and would still fight unwanted development by arguing that the authority already has enough housing land supply to build 1,000 homes a year for the next five years.
Mrs Paternoster also denied that the council was being ‘paid off’ to approve developments.
SPM Homes Ltd has submitted a planning application for 70 homes on land off New Road, together with ‘public open space, attenuation basin and associated infrastructure’.
This follows a consultation held earlier in the year, which SPM admitted showed residents are against the plans.
The James Bone Group is also due to submit plans for 40 homes, pre-school nursery and shop at a derelict site in Wendover Road, Weston Turville. The original plan was for more than 70 homes, including flats, but following a public consultation this has been reduced to 40 houses.
Mass development in Weston Turville (to the south-east of Aylesbury) was actually promoted by the council in its core strategy in response to the Labour government’s demand for 26,000 new homes in the Vale. The core strategy was dropped after the coalition came to power in 2010.
View application documents on council website . Reference 13/01488/AOP for Broughton Farming Partnership and 14/02072/AOP for SPM)