New tourist site coming to Aylesbury Vale splits opinion among local residents

Plans approved by Bucks Council to turn Pitchcott Farm into a tourist site have received a mixed response from locals.

By James Lowson
Friday, 20th May 2022, 12:07 pm

While Oving Parish Council officials welcomed the regeneration, other residents on social media remain concerned about road safety near the farm.

Only one objection to the tourist site was raised at the time, yet many citizens have since contacted The Bucks Herald regarding a potentially dangerous stretch of road.

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The site in its current form

After hearing of plans to add a cafe, farmshop, holiday letting homes, and a glamping area at the currently unused site.

Residents mentioned fears that the extra burden on Pitchcott Road could lead to additional traffic problems on the road.

One local told The Bucks Herald: “This is a single track drive lined with trees that might be cut down to accommodate traffic onto a dangerous bend where there are daily near misses.”

A representative for the Langford family, who owns the farm and is behind plans to build the small-scale tourists site, advised that detailed technical surveys were submitted to traffic consultants before Bucks Council greenlit the plans.

To solve the issue additional passing lanes will be added, the representative explained.

All plans to use the Pitchcott Road were approved by the council, one resident advised Carter’s Lane is a safer road for a new project.

Site owner Tony Langford told The Bucks Herald: “This is a small-scale scheme, which is intended as a quiet rural retreat where people can rest, heal and re-vitalise, with an emphasis on mindfulness and a connection to nature.

"The proposals are intended to regenerate the area – not just in renovating the old stable block but also through increasing the biodiversity of the farm and protecting the wildlife.

“While it will attract some visitors to the area in small numbers, it deliberately includes facilities such as a café which can be enjoyed, and run, by local people.

“The feedback I’ve received from local people during the planning process has been overwhelmingly warm and positive, and I’m hoping to continue developing the ideas for the scheme together with the local community.”

Another frustration raised with The Herald regards the state the farm currently sits in.

A local occupant told The Bucks Herald that prior to decaying into its current disused state, the location was used by Pauline Ricketts, a top-class coach, who taught equestrian lessons in the community for 20 years.

When she moved on, the site decayed quickly under the Langford’s watch, The Bucks Herald was told.

Once again Tony was keen to highlight the open discussions he held with the local community throughout the process.

Ambrose McGinn, chair of Oving Parish Council, said: “Tony came to Oving Parish Council a couple of years ago to talk through his proposals for the farm as it closely borders the parish. Since then we’ve since visited the site for a briefing and the parish council and have been kept abreast of the planning application which we now understand has been approved.

“We’ve always been very supportive of what is a welcome change and improvement for the site.

"It seems a very well thought-through scheme which will create a peaceful retreat with an emphasis on wellbeing, mindfulness and enhanced rejuvenated meadows.

“Tony spoke about the scheme at our recent Annual Parish Meeting and there was widespread support for this initiative.

“Oving Parish Council was pleased to hear that it has planning consent and look forward to seeing it come to fruition for the benefit of local residents who may enjoy these facilities.”

Councillor Gareth Williams told The Bucks Herald: “All planning applications are assessed against the relevant local and national planning policies.

"Consideration is also given to representations posed by interested parties, as well as statutory consultees such as the Highway Authority.

"This scheme has been considered acceptable by the council in terms of its design and impact upon transport, public right of ways, historic environment, landscape trees and hedgerows, amenity, ecology and flooding, as detailed in the officers report.

"As such, the planning application was approved on 29 April.”