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Planning: Our Fears Return

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Just as we were beginning to feel a little optimistic about the risk of a 5,000 home 'new settlement' going away, given AVDC's pushback against claims of an "unmet housing need" in South Bucks, the County Council has now waded in to resurrect the pressure on the Vale of Aylesbury.

On Monday 19th December, AVDC released this statement:

Bucks County Council (BCC) has objected to Chiltern and South Bucks' proposal to use areas of Green Belt for potentially over 2,800 houses. BCC has recommended the housing is moved elsewhere in the county and, as much of Wycombe is also covered by Green Belt, the most plausible place these houses can go is in Aylesbury Vale.

By cooperating with the other district councils, AVDC had recently reduced the level of housing the Vale would need to accommodate by 6,500 but BCC's proposal puts this work in jeopardy.

Aylesbury Vale District Council Leader, Cllr Neil Blake commented: "It's well documented that Aylesbury Vale is taking its fair share of the required housing growth for Bucks as a whole, and this announcement appears to set the precedent for sacrificing Aylesbury Vale to save the rest of the county. It's strange there was no similar objection from BCC to the Green Belt release for Wycombe's local plan. Surely this has nothing to do with the fact that BCC Leader Martin Tett lives in the area covered by the Chiltern/South Bucks Local Plan and there are county council elections next year.

The County Council is actually acting against a £100,000 report which it part funded. It contributed £20,000 to analyse potential usage of the Green Belt and accepted the findings, only to now reverse its opinion. Furthermore, this decision means BCC won't need the transport studies which it funded into the sites that it now no longer accepts."

Cllr Blake continued: "If this is an indication of how the county would be run were BCC to have complete control over planning matters, as detailed in its unitary plans, then we all have cause to be concerned. In the north/south two unitary divide proposed by the districts, local accountability and the capacity to fight unfair housing allocation such as this will be strengthened."

AVDC are now in discussion with the other district councils regarding this announcement and await the response of Chiltern and South Bucks to BCC's objections.

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