Council given go ahead on controversial housing development plans at former sports club in Aylesbury

Bucks Council has been granted permission to create plans for the controversial housing development set to be constructed at a former sports club in Aylesbury.
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Bucks Council announced today (7 June), that it is greenlighting a housing project on the former Buckinghamshire County Council Sports and Social Club site in Stoke Mandeville.

During the public consultation period residents launched a Facebook campaign opposing the plans.

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Campaign launched to save former Aylesbury sports field from becoming housing si...
the provisional plans presented to the public by the councilthe provisional plans presented to the public by the council
the provisional plans presented to the public by the council

Residents concerns stemmed from a lack of playing fields available to families in the Stoke Mandeville area.

Campaigner Mungo Duncan said in April: “The Stoke Mandeville area has already been affected by five major house building projects.

"The local countryside has been put almost entirely off-limits by HS2 works where almost every field has been fenced off, and one of the last remaining open field areas will become a building site.”

The field was fenced off during lockdowns, photo from @Stoke_LeysThe field was fenced off during lockdowns, photo from @Stoke_Leys
The field was fenced off during lockdowns, photo from @Stoke_Leys

The Save Bucks Sports and Social Club Fields Facebook group has over 300 members, which delivered flyers and encouraged residents to submit their displeasure to the local authority.

Bucks Council says the aim is for at least 30% of the homes built to be of affordable housing.

The local authority hopes that the homes will be filled by clients of adults and children's services.

If an outline planning application is successful, a detailed development scheme will be considered by the cabinet at a future date and a detailed planning application will follow, the council revealed.

Councillor John Chilver said: “For many years this site has been empty.

"The proposed development of residential properties together with community facilities and provision for some of our adult social care and children services means we are gaining multiple benefit from one site and following through on our commitment to help provide more affordable housing for people in Buckinghamshire.

"There is still a long way to go in terms of getting a full planning application on the table, but this is the first positive step in that direction.”

The sports field being unused for years has been a point of contention for local residents who believe the green spaces should have been opened to the public, rather than barricaded when exercise was a respite from isolation during the pandemic.

While the decision to close the sports club was criticised at the time.

Included within the plans will be a new road link between Booker Park School and Lower Road, an increase in size of the existing access road to Lower Road and the provision of a sports and leisure area for community and school use as well as a significant amount of green space.

Campaigners, initially balked at these proposals, arguing the sports field should be saved in its entirety.

A Bucks Council spokesman conceded a recent consultation on the potential development, ‘received mixed feedback from local people’.

The council states, “future proposals will seek to address this.”

Within the initial proposals were plans to build 100 new homes in the area along with associated parking and landscaping.