The route of a proposed Princes Risborough bypass would destroy much-loved beauty spots in quiet residential areas, its critics claim.
The draft Princes Risborough Town Plan shortlists two options for a western relief route for lorries and through traffic between High Wycombe and Aylesbury, while also settting out proposals to build 2,500 homes.
Both routes would divert traffic off the A4010 on to Shootacre Lane, which lies within the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
One route option continues along Picts Lane and the other heads to the east of Horsenden, which is a Conservation Area.
Both routes are currently well-used by walkers, joggers, cyclists and horse-riders. Shootacre Lane residents Philip Hayes and Monica Nelson have formed the Princes Risborough Bypass ActioN Group (BANG). They said they’ve already won the support of pop star Jay Kay, who lives in the area.
On Saturday morning more than 70 people gathered to protest against Wycombe District Council’s plans.
Mr Hayes, 40, said: “Aside from the issue of housing development, the whole notion of relieving perceived traffic congestion through the centre of Risborough by transferring it to residential parts of the town is at best unsympathetic, at worst outright dangerous. But if the housing development does go ahead and the town does require a relief route, this is clearly not the right place to put it. We are keen to work with Wycombe District Council to find a safer and more suitable alternative.”
Cabinet member for planning and sustainability at Wycombe District Council Cllr David Johncock said: “We have looked really seriously at putting in a wider bypass around the town but it wasn’t as effective as the other options.
“While a wider bypass could take through traffic away from the centre, it wouldn’t solve local congestion which could then clog up the town centre roads.
“On a practical level, we simply couldn’t get enough money from developers to pay for a wider bypass and alleviate town centre traffic.”
The deadline for responding to the consultation is midnight on Monday, March 28.
Mrs Nelson, 38, said: “Anyone who knows and loves Princes Risborough needs to object to this plan and fast.”