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John Bercow column: We must not let precious sports site become housing

John Bercow MP

John Bercow MP

  • by John Bercow MP
 

The Thursday before last found me in Monks Risborough for a meeting on the future of the Molins sports ground.

Molins PLC evicted the sports and social club from the ground in 2007, to understandable uproar from the community.

The situation took a turn for the worse more recently when Molins PLC submitted a proposal to build one hundred new homes on the site.

The promotional material said that new homes are ‘much needed’.

To which I, at the meeting, made two points.

First, that this may be the case, but the Wycombe Local Plan, which is currently under development, is seeking to manage this need whilst considering how this can be done in line with the best interests of the existing community.

It would be a grave policy error simply to nod this through, without reference to what the Wycombe Plan will ultimately determine is the best course of action for the area.

Secondly, why the Molins sports ground?

This was a facility intended for the Risborough community and it is both Green Belt land and in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Is it possible, perhaps, that the developers are more interested in a quick profit than genuinely improving life in Risborough?

The meeting was extremely well attended by local people and, although Molins PLC had not intended for the gathering to be a public meeting, a couple of us swiftly turned it into one.

It was abundantly clear that local residents are staunchly against the proposed development, as – in case I haven’t been clear thus far – am I.

Molins and their agents were left in no doubt as to the feelings of local people: the only thing we want on the site is a sports club or a similar community asset and the council should not give the go-ahead for any intensive house building on Green Belt land.

I will be writing to object to the application in due course, and I would urge all Bucks Herald readers who are familiar with the area to do the same.

 

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