Development plan withdrawn as leader warns of ‘much higher’ homes quota

Neil Blake
Neil Blake

A blueprint for future homes and job creation has been officially withdrawn by Aylesbury Vale District Council after it was crticised by a government inspector.

The full council voted to withdraw the Vale of Aylesbury Plan at its meeting last night after it was found ‘unsound’ by the Planning Inspectorate.

The plan proposed a target of 13,850 new homes to be built in the district by 2031, along with the creation of 6,000 jobs.

It superseded central government’s original South East Plan which would have seen around 26,000 homes built.

Following an examination hearing last December, planning inspector Kevin Ward concluded that the level of proposed housing was too low to create the new jobs and that the council had not worked closely enough with neighbouring authorities, as well as Luton and Bedford Borough Councils, to address their housing needs.

Mr Ward suggested that the council consider withdrawing the plan as he could not recommend it for adoption in its current form.

Councillor Neil Blake, leader of the council, said: “We believed from our own evidence and consultation with residents, that VAP was in the best interests of the Vale.

“However, the continually changing messages from central government during the writing of the plan, made the whole process very difficult.

“We were criticised for not consulting enough with neighbouring authorities.

“Some of those authorities, including Chiltern District and Luton Borough, are expecting us to provide for some of their housing needs.

“We didn’t feel that was in our residents’ interests but, that apart, these councils were not able to confirm the housing numbers they were looking at and still can’t today.

“The withdrawal of the VAP does not mean that the council has to go back to the start.

“Much of the evidence base is either up-to-date or needs only minor refreshing.

“However, we are going to have to develop beyond our original plans – meaning much higher numbers of new homes.

“We don’t know what these are yet but we will do everything to ensure there is adequate provision for additional infrastructure such as schools, play areas and road improvements.

“We will now work to produce a revised plan and turn this into an opportunity to attract more business and create more jobs in the Vale.”

At the council meeting last night it was also suggested that Lib Dem Steven Lambert be invited along with senior Tories to a crunch meeting with government planning minister Nick Boles in Westminster to try and create cross-party agreement for the plan’s future.

The council leadership is yet to confirm they are happy for this to happen.


Council meeting papers including report on Vale of Aylesbury Plan

Read the inspector’s full report on the Vale of Aylesbury Plan