Investigation begins after campaigners challenge planning approval to convert former Aylesbury Vale bank into housing

Bucks Council will investigate its decision to grant planning permission to turn a traditional building in an Aylesbury Vale town centre into housing.

By James Lowson
Thursday, 21st July 2022, 11:44 am
Updated Thursday, 21st July 2022, 12:52 pm

The local authority rubber-stamped an application to turn the former Lloyds TSB building at Market Square, Winslow into six apartments.

But when the decision was approved last month, campaigner Jeff Crisp launched a fundraiser to challenge the ruling.

After inspecting the application, Jeff spotted what he believed to be inaccuracies in the report submitted by EA Town Planning Ltd.

Campaigner, Jeff Crisp

EA Town Planning Ltd director Anthony Adler told The Bucks Herald that the company was working with the local authority to address the concerns that have been raised – and would not be providing a further comment at this time.

Jeff launched a fundraiser to pay for the costs needed for a judicial review in hopes of proving the application didn’t meet specific criteria required for legality.

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At the time of writing Jeff has received £2,000 of the £2,500 needed for the review.

Market Square in Winslow

In reaction to the grassroots campaign Bucks Council has announced it will investigate the application as ‘further information has come to light’.

Jeff believes the building is worth fighting for as Market Square acts as the ‘traditional centre of the town' and a ‘focal point’ for the community.

This application has been submitted using certain criteria that means the local authority is ‘limited’ in its ability to police the submission.

A report made by the ‘Save Winslow’s Market Square’ Facebook group challenges the claim that the building was empty for three months prior to the application.

The group claims the building was vacant for just one month before the application was submitted on 31 January.

Campaingers are also disputing the developer’s view that a six-apartment complex, comprising 10 bedrooms, can be ‘car free’.

Protesters also dispute whether conclusions reached by the Highways Department accurately reflect the potential new traffic brought by 10-plus new residents.

In announcing the new investigation, Councillor Peter Strachan told The Bucks Herald: “This application was concerned with whether prior approval is required in respect of conversion of commercial and business and service use (Class E) to form 6 residential units.

“The nature of this application means that what the Council can consider is limited, as set out in the Town and Country Planning General Permitted Development Order 2015 (as amended).

"Due process has been followed at all times – we consider such applications against the information provided and within the nationally set legal guidance on Permitted Development.

“Since the decision was issued further information has come to light, which the council is currently investigating. We will respond directly to all parties involved in this process when the investigation is concluded.”