An Aylesbury Vale District Council (AVDC) planning committee meeting has been overshadowed by a comment seemingly inadvertently caught on camera at the close of proceedings.
The committee voted to approve outline plans for 170 new houses in Maids Moreton, despite opposition from residents and an impassioned submission from councillor Warren Whyte, in which he concluded that the project is “not needed, not wanted, not justified and has not been mitigated.”
However, after the vote, committee chairman Brian Foster turned to deputy chairman Richard Newcombe and whispered:
“I thought we were in danger of having that one unceremoniously thrown out.”
The incident has sparked concern among some councillors that decisions are being made without proper scrutiny. Pat Hardcastle of Maids Moreton parish council said:
“It is very disappointing. It suggests the whole thing was pre-determined.”
Councillor Robin Stuchbury, who raised the issue at a subsequent meeting, commented:
“I would be most interested to hear the Chairman's explanation for what he said, as I believe most of Buckingham and Maids Moreton would be also.”
The 170 extra homes in Maids Moreton will increase the population of the parish by 50% and add an estimated 300 extra cars.
In a statement provided to this paper, Councillor Whyte said:
“I am deeply disappointed at the decision taken by the strategic development committee last week and I am reviewing with the parish council what options are open to challenge this. I am particular concerned at how around 450 objections were not taken seriously in relation to impact on Maids Moreton’s Conservation Area and on the environment and local infrastructure.
I have since also spoken to Barratt Homes, who own David Wilson, to express my concern at the lack of any community engagement over the last two years, and that if this development does indeed go ahead, then they make significant efforts to mitigate the impact on the village and on Foscote and Buckingham town centre.”
We have contacted Brian Foster for comment but had not received a response at the time of going to print.