The small market town of Princes Risborough could nearly double in size under development plans for the area.
Wycombe District Council is considering allowing the building of up to 2,500 extra homes in the town as part of its long-term development plan.
Population projections for the district mean the council has to find sites to build between 500 and 700 new homes every year up to 2031. In the past decade only around 430 homes have been built in Wycombe district every year.
A number of options are being considered for development around Princes Risborough, one of the few places in the district not in either the Green Belt or the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The most dramatic is adding 2,000 to 2,500 homes to the town, which currently has around 3,500 homes and a population of about 8,000.
Should the council go for this figure, the building would take place over a decade or more and the authority said it would strive to ensure the ‘character and distinctiveness of the town centre is preserved’.
The council said if there was major development in Princes Risborough there would be:
> Well-designed, energy-efficient houses that meet the needs of the elderly as well as growing families
> Easy routes to walk and cycle to school, to the town centre and the railway station
> As many jobs as could be attracted to the area to minimise commuting
> Good areas of open space for wildlife and recreation and ways to manage water and flooding
> At least one new school and doctors’ surgery
> Lots of trees to reduce its visual impact from the Chilterns AONB
Several other options are being considered for Princes Risborough.
These include 450 homes at Park Mill Farm, 800 to 1,000 homes north of Longwick Road/Mill Lane, development in Picts Lane and creating jobs in Longwick Road and/or the Princes Estate.
The council said Princes Risborough has not seen major growth for many years and is a less popular place for businesses to locate, ‘which means that getting a good balance of homes and jobs would be difficult’.
A number of options for development around the district are included in a leaflet being distributed to residents.
A consultation will run until April 4 on the plans and a number of exhibitions are to take place around the district.
Councillor Neil Marshall, cabinet member for planning and sustainability at Wycombe District Council, said: “There will be some difficult choices we have to make.
“It seems a long way off, but in reality, the choices we make today could affect us all in one way or another by 2031.
“A new employment site could mean a new job for you or your children. One of the new houses that get built could be a home for you or your children.
“Some places in the district will change, which is why it’s so important that we work with local people to strike the right balance and achieve sustainable change.”
Wycombe is just starting the process which Aylesbury Vale District Council has been going through for more than two years.
The Vale’s development plan was recently declared ‘unsound’ by an independent inspector and a new scheme is likely to be needed.
It is likely the Vale will have to take housing overspill from surrounding areas, such as Wycombe.