Campaigners against more than 5,800 homes being built on three developments around Aylesbury are celebrating this morning after the government ruled in their favour.
Government planning inspector David Rose heard simultaneous appeals from rival developers wanting to build 3,000 homes at Hampden Fields (near Weston Turville, bordering A41 and A413), 2,745 homes at Fleet Marston Farm and 120-220 homes at Weedon Hill way back in 2013.
The appeals arose after Aylesbury Vale District Council refused to give the applications planning permission.
Mr Rose’s decision was published this morning, a day later than scheduled. He recommended the appeals be dismissed and the report said Eric Pickles, secretary of state for communities and local government, agreed with the decision.
The decision letter said: “Overall, while recognising the important contribution which each of the appeal schemes would make to the social and economic wellbeing of the area, particularly through the provision of much-needed housing, the Secretary of State considers that, in each case, there are adverse factors which significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits of the particular scheme.”
Phil Yerby, who chairs the Hampden Fields Action Group, welcomed the ruling, saying that it showed people power can still sway decision makers.
But he warned that the developers are still entitled to appeal and that the battle to protect Aylesbury’s remaining green spaces is still not over.
The council is currently drawing up its new local plan which sets out future housing figures for the whole of the Vale for the next 18 years. It also sets out where the new homes, which could number as much as 35,000, should be placed.
Councillor Carole Paternoster, cabinet member for strategic planning, said: “We are very pleased that the Secretary of State has dismissed these appeals. It vindicates the district council’s decision to vigorously oppose these applications.
“We fully recognise that a significant number of new homes will be required in Aylesbury Vale but strongly believe that the future level and direction of growth at Aylesbury should be through the proper development plan process already underway.
“I would like to thank everyone who has been involved – local residents, councillors and officers – for their patience and hard work in getting to where we are at today.”
In a joint statement Vale MPs David Lidington and John Bercow said: “This is excellent news. What our constituencies need is housing that is developed and managed with the best interests of residents, both current and future, at its heart.
“It is never acceptable to put profit before people and it would have been a tragedy to lose the identities of some wonderful village communities as a result of these plans.
“We have been working hard to make these points to Ministers and the Secretary of State since the plans were announced and we are delighted that the appeals to build these vast new developments have been dismissed.”