Council to vote on Watermead housing plan after Government rejects appeal

A view of how the Watermead development would look
A view of how the Watermead development would look
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Plans for 1,560 homes east of Watermead will be voted on by the district council after the Government rejected a request for it to make the decision.

Hallam Land asked the Planning Inspectorate to make the decision so its application could be viewed alongside appeals to build 3,000 homes between Bedgrove and Weston Turville and 2,750 homes in Fleet Marston.

However, the Secretary of State, Eric Pickles MP, has said it would not be appropriate for them to look at the plan until it has been considered by Aylesbury Vale District Council’s planning committee.

The council has previously made clear it does not feel the Aylesbury area needs another major development beyond those already approved.

Responding to the request for non-determination, the department for communities and local government said: “The appeal process should not be used to circumvent the decision making process within democratically elected local authorities.”

The council now has until June 3 to vote on the application.

If the application is still undetermined after this date, Hallam have the right to appeal for non-determination again.

Should the council refuse planning permission, the applicant could appeal the decision.

In either case, Hallam would be able to lodge its appeal before the inquiry on Hampden Fields and Fleet Marston opens on June 25.

If this happens, Mr Pickles would then have to decide whether to hear the Watermead appeal at the same time as the other two. Doing so would delay the inquiry further.

The South East plan, which imposed housing numbers on Aylesbury Vale, has now been revoked.

This means the council will soon be able to begin its six-week consultation asking residents if they support the Vale of Aylesbury Plan, which sets a target of 6,000 new homes by 2031, or think there is a fundamental problem that would make it unsound.

All comments will be sent with the plan for independent examination.

In an interview with the Bucks Herald earlier this month, council planning chief John Byrne said of development around Aylesbury: “Under the Vale plan we only need Aylesbury East [2,450 homes in Bierton/Broughton area] and then 800 more. There are other sites that can make that up. It doesn’t need to be a big site.”