Outrage has been directed at plans to build a large facility to train people for major infrastructure projects such as HS2 and East West Rail – which could last up to seven years.
Mr Patrick Flannery, of Flannery Plant Hire, has submitted to Bucks Council a ‘change of use’ application for Red Furlong Farm, on Twyford Road, in Poundon.
Plans detail the ‘temporary seven-year conversion of 8.39 hectares of agricultural land for the establishment of an operator skills hub for training operatives in relation to the development of major infrastructure projects’.
They also mention a caravan park, the erection of some temporary buildings (40-room modular accommodation, amenity block, offices, canteen, training rooms), and the “demolition of an existing barn”.
Around 74 parking spaces will be provided.
A planning statement says the scheme will “create a training facility for those learning to use plant machinery”.
It is understood up to 2,925 people could pass through the training, while around ten full-time employees will also result.
“There is currently a shortage of trained workers who are able to use the plant machinery required to deliver the infrastructure projects coming forward within Buckinghamshire,” a planning statement reads.
“These infrastructure projects include the HS2 Rail Link that will connect London with Birmingham, the East West Rail link that will connect Oxford with Cambridge and other infrastructure projects coming forward across Buckinghamshire such as new housing development.”
It adds: “After this (seven-year) period the site will return to existing form and use.”
EKFB Civil Engineering and HS2 have committed to four per cent of the workforce as apprentices.
There are well over 150 objections to the scheme.
One objector wrote: “This would be a totally unacceptable development. We have too much traffic already associated with EWR and HS2. Roads have been destroyed already. A training centre can be sited anywhere, it should not be in the countryside.”
Another wrote: “The infrastructure will not support it.”
East Claydon Parish Council and Marsh Gibbon Parish Council also objected on grounds of “noise, light pollution, increased traffic, devastation to local business and mental health issues”.
Both also support Edgcott Parish Council’s objection that “this application goes against the recently issued VALP (Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan)”.
The applicant was not the sole owner of the land 21 days before the date of the application, a planning statement reads.
The applicant is now awaiting a decision from the local authority.