Planning officer slams proposal for 1,560 homes near Watermead

An artist's impression of the plan
An artist's impression of the plan

Plans for 1,560 homes east of Watermead have been recommended for refusal by a district council planning officer.

Among the reasons listed for the recommendation, case officer Claire Harrison said the proposal would damage the environment, be a flood risk, fail to provide employment and is out of keeping with the council’s own long-term plan for development in the Vale.

The report also slammed a lack of detail in the application, saying developers had provided inadequate information on the impact the homes would have on traffic levels, biodiversity and archaeological sites.

It also said it was not clear if the costs of providing necessary infrastructure could be met to enable to building of acceptable levels of affordable housing, education and leisure facilities.

Councillors will take a final decision on the application next week at a committee hearing, but it is rare for them to go against an officer’s recommendation.

The council is looking to bring in its own Vale of Aylesbury Plan which, if implemented, would mean only an additional 800 homes need to be built in the Aylesbury area by 2031 on top of those already approved. This would mean developments on the scale of the Watermead application would not be needed.

Ms Harrison said in her report: “The development would cause harm by the significant adverse visual and landscape character impact on the area of the development site and its surrounding valued landscape.”

On traffic, she said: “It is not considered that the development could take place without having a severe impact on the existing highway network.”

She concluded: “The local planning authority is not satisfied that the proposal will constitute a suitable urban extension that fulfils a social economic and environmental role and is integrated with and will strengthen the traditional role of Aylesbury as a county and market town.”

The planning committee is due to vote on the application on May 29.