CONTROVERSIAL plans for a 2,450 home ‘urban extension’ to the east of Aylesbury have been supported by politicians.
On Wednesday, a bid to build three new villages close to Bierton and Broughton were given a thumbs up – although complicated legal agreements still need to be reached.
And no work can begin until the secretary of state has decided whether to challenge the decision, members at Aylesbury Vale District Council were told.
Critics slammed the application, claiming other sites around Aylesbury, including the Hampden Fields between Bedgrove and Weston Turville, and Fleet Marston, would be more appropriate.
Backers told councillors the application would create around 1,100 new jobs in the Vale, and cash would be put towards an eastern link road and the rural section of a Stocklake Link Road.
Ward councillor Julie Ward, Liberal Democrat, accused officers of overlooking ‘glaring failures’ in the application, and said: “This has always proved to be the least viable of the major applications in place.”
Brian Robson, chairman of Bierton and Broughton Parish Council, said villagers were ‘almost unanimous’ in their opposition to the scheme, and at a six hour meeting, critics branded the application ‘premature’ and ‘speculative’.
The committee heard that developers have agreed at least 20 per cent of the new properties will be affordable homes – far less than a district target of 35 per cent for new schemes.
But politicians were told they could not weigh up the site’s merits against rival applications, and had to weigh it up on its own merits.
Senior planner Susan Kitchen said: “We can’t just put this on hold when we’re in a position to decide.
“If we did delay, it could amount to a claim that we’ve acted unreasonably, it could leave us open to substantial costs at a public inquiry.
“We haven’t given this application priority. The other applications aren’t at the stage this application is, they still have outstanding issues.”
Councillor Tim Mills, Conservative, said: “I think the applicants have come up with an application that’s difficult to refuse, to some extent I think our hands are tied by the planning system.”
Members of AVDC’s strategic development control committee voted six to two in favour of supporting the application, with one abstention.
The plans also include 10 hectares of employment land, two primary schools, a neighbourhood centre, two primary schools and an electricity sub station and flood defences.