Stoke Mandeville homes decision put on hold for site visit

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A decision on the building of 24 homes in Stoke Mandeville has been delayed after a fiery committee debate.

It had been recommended councillors approve the development off Isis Close on what is currently open space.

However, some members of Aylesbury Vale District Council’s development control committee were concerned the site would encroach on open countryside. Officers say it is scrubland that comes within the urban area.

After voting down the idea of approving the application, councillors moved to refuse planning permission, but were strongly urged to reconsider by the legal adviser and planning officers.

Councillors voted against visiting the site, but officer Susan Kitchen said: “I would strongly urge members to go out and visit a site where you are going against the officer’s recommendation.”

Deputy council leader, Councillor Michael Edmonds, said: “I have very grave concerns about this application.

“We clearly voted against the site visit. We have agreed not to approve it. I take exception to the officers trying to tell us what to do. I propose this application be refused because it intrudes into open countryside.”

Fellow Conservative cabinet member, Councillor Neil Blake, said he did not see an issue with the site location, but Councillor Glenda Reynolds, Lib Dem, said Aylesbury needs to keep undeveloped areas like the one being discussed.

She said: “I feel this is one set of houses too many in an area that is already overdeveloped.”

However, after officers and a number of councillors stressed the importance of a site visit when going against the recommendation, another vote was taken and members agreed to go on a site visit.

Councillor Chris Adams said: “We have made ourselves look really stupid.”

In the debate, fears were also raised about how close the new houses would be to the HS2 line which, if it is built, would be just 200 metres away.

A number of previous applications to build on the site have been refused, but developers say this one is different as it would provide open space for people to use.