“Opposition to Hampden Fields is futile – and we need the infrastructure”

Hampden Fields map, released February 2016 (OS data licence number: AL100012293.  Copyright: SLR Consulting Ltd)
Hampden Fields map, released February 2016 (OS data licence number: AL100012293. Copyright: SLR Consulting Ltd)

Plans for 3,000 new homes near Aylesbury could provide essential infrastructure and opposing them is ‘futile’.

That is according to local councillors, as the previous unity against Hampden Fields appeared to crack.

The revised proposals, on land between Bedgrove and Weston Turville, were submitted to the district council this week, just over a year since the original plans were rejected by a government planning inspector following a long battle.

They now include a dual carriageway Southern Link Road between the A41 and A413, which in time would connect directly to the proposed Eastern Link Road.

The Hampden Fields Consortium claim the southern link road ‘will result in a reduction in traffic through Weston Turville and Bedgrove and at the Walton Street gyratory’ removing the inspector’s major concern about the plan.

Bedgrove councillor Tom Hunter-Watts (Independent) said he will not be opposing the plans.

“I think opposition will be futile and stand absolutely no chance whatsoever.

“The truth is as well people need homes to live in. I’ve never met anyone who wishes nobody had built their house.”

Fellow Bedgrove councillor, Mark Winn (Conservative), said he will be guided by his residents and has not made up his mind whether to support or object to the application.

However, he conceded: “So much development in the past has lacked infrastructure but this time we are seeing infrastruture.”

The original proposals were fought by the Hampden Fields Action Group, with £65,000 that had been raised by the local community.

Its chairman at the time, Phil Yerby, announced this week that he has stepped down, although he will continue to play a big role within the group.

Mr Yerby said there was ‘no evidence whatsoever’ that concerns over the scheme had been properly addressed.

He said the new road would shift the problem and create ‘bottlenecks’ elsewhere.

“We have to look at the application but unless the reasons for refusal have been addressed beyond reasonable doubt it should be thrown out again.”

Mr Yerby, who is chairman of UKIP Aylesbury Vale, said it was essential the action group remained apolitical, hence his resignation.

His replacement, Chris Webbley, who has lived in Weston Turville since 1988, said they would spend time looking over the detail of the application before taking a ‘rational and mature’ decision.

The group remains concerned over the development’s impact on traffic and creating ‘coalescence’ between Weston Turville and Aylesbury.

He added: “Clearly if we feel strongly this is a bad proposal then it’s better to have wide support than narrow support, but obviously people have the right to make their own minds up. The impact for Bedgrove might be slightly different to Weston Turville.”

The consortium says the revised plans also include a substantial employment area aimed at growing smaller local businesses, two primary schools and a local centre with a mix of commercial, retail and community facilities.

Approximately half of the entire site is also proposed as ‘open green spaces providing an extensive network of parklands, play spaces and sports facilities’.

A site for a park and ride on the A41 is also proposed in addition to new bus services and improvements to pedestrian and cycle routes.

A spokesman for the consortium, which comprises Aylesbury College, Taylor Wimpey and the Fairfield Partnership, said: “The submission of the application follows widespread consultation with local residents, groups and politicians, through which the proposals have evolved to include a number of further benefits for the local community.

“We will continue to engage with local groups and residents to help understand any concerns as the application moves forward.”

Aylesbury MP David Lidington said the ‘proposals are an improvement on last time’ due to the southern link road and because there is ‘more of a green buffer between the development and Weston Turville village’.

However, he said he would need to look at the plans in more detail and hear the views of residents ‘who are most affected’ before coming to a view on them.

He added that traffic forecasts also need a careful examination.

“It’s not just about its impact on the vicinity but also on the wider traffic flows within the Aylesbury area.”