Editor’s Comment: Building more houses is a numbers game

Roger Hawes
Roger Hawes

We may not like to admit it but building homes is very important for the future welfare of this country.

That said for me it has always been a numbers game. Get it right and there will be no fight.

Here in the Vale we have had more than our fair share of house building over the years with consecutive governments telling us we need to build even more.

As a virtual lifelong resident of the Vale I have seen many fights over housing plans in the county.

Some have been won temporarily, others lost outright.

But in recent years the pressure to build on our green and pleasant county has been relentless resulting in Aylesbury and the Vale being one of the fastest growing areas in the country.

History will recall the predictable rows over the size of the Bedgrove estate, where thousands of new homes were built. Watermead, Fairford Leys, Berryfields and Buckingham Park to name the bigger developments were similar stories.

However these often unpopular projects, heralded as the end of the world by some, have brought much fresh blood to the area, wealth and a fresh energy. And inevitably as new people move in the fears of Armageddon are diminished by time.

This week’s decision by the Rt Honourable Eric Pickles MP, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, kicked out the plan to build thousands of homes on Hampden Fields in Weston Turville, and Fleet Marston on the Bicester Road, but very clearly left the door wide open for a rethink.

With our district council still unable to produce an acceptable local plan, it isn’t surprising developers have taken advantage of the lack of a clear cut policy over house building in the Vale.

It has been down to the communities to fight these plans, often ploughing in their own money and time when the council has seemed impotent.

Projects like Hampden Fields and Fleet Marston are simply just too big for such confined areas where they butt up against villages fearful for their cherished way of life.

So what is the answer? As a priority AVDC needs to get its Vale of Aylesbury Plan sorted with locally accepted plans that take into account geographical confines, its proposed infrastructure, or lack of it, so we all know what to expect in the future.

Let’s have a sensible policy, led by the people of the Vale, with sensible targets and take back the power from speculative profiteering developers before we are faced with another big fight.