Is a garden parish the last chance to save Stoke Mandeville from speculative development?

A concept diagram of Stoke Mandeville parish
A concept diagram of Stoke Mandeville parish

The Stoke Mandeville neighbourhood plan team say they are pleased that residents agreed with their views to turn the area into a garden parish.

The group are inviting residents who have a view on the future of Stoke Mandeville to apply to join the steering group and get involved.

The group say it is 'interesting work' and will provide people with a detailed insight into the planning process in Aylesbury Vale.

In February the neighbourhood plan team held a successful residents consultation day at two venues across the parish at Stoke Mandeville Community Centre and at Booker Park School.

The day introduced a new plan outlining Stoke Mandeville as a garden parish, taking into account the principals of garden town planning such as incorporating 50% green space.

There were also details of four neighbourhood planning zones which could influence the shape and location of future development and infrastructure.

The steering group say the garden parish plan has been formulated based on inputs from previous consultations and as part of the neighbourhood planning process consultation is required at each stage.

Attendance and response at the previous consultation was very strong and many ideas were discussed.

The neighbourhood plan team say that one trigger for such a high turnout seems to be that the parish is currently being swamped with speculative applications from developers for any pieces of land that are available and the reality is that this trend is likely to continue.

The group chairman Laurence Prestage said: “We were really pleased with the high turnout for this stage of the consultation and also at how passionate the views were on protecting and developing our parish.

"We were particularly excited that many residents thought the idea of a garden parish was a good way forward.”

Vice-chair of the group, parish councillor Andrew Clark added: “We were very excited to present our vision for the parish to our residents.

"A neighbourhood plan gives residents much more control over what happens in their area.

"It is a legal document which will influence planners and developers and help shape Stoke Mandeville’s future not as a shapeless suburb, but a beautiful cohesive green community.”

Opinions expressed in the consultation included concerns over the scale of extra housing and how the local community facilities, roads and infrastructure would cope and could be improved and expanded.

There were also many views about public transport, schools and health facilities.

Green spaces, linking footpaths and cycle paths and connecting the new housing to parish infrastructure was also discussed in detail.

All views were recorded and will be reviewed and taken into account when putting together the final plan.

The plan will be progressed over the coming months and the final draft is expected to be available this summer.

Neighbourhood plan meetings takes place monthly at the Community Centre on Eskdale Road.

For more details about how you can get involved with the plan and details of its progress visit www.smnp.org.uk