Thame to bear brunt of 400 extra homes?

MCBT Thame core strategy plan F
MCBT Thame core strategy plan F

MORE than 400 homes could be added to the Core Strategy for Thame after the original application was sent back to council chiefs last week.

Experts are now preparing for in the region of 850 to 950 new houses – a vast increase on the 530 that were submitted as part of the original application.

This is in addition to a possible 150 extra houses which may be built throughout the next 15 years.

Council planning assistant Jake Collinge said: “It is a potential double whammy, we could find ourselves getting up to 950 houses but still have to accommodate an extra 150 or so on top of that.”

This emerged after inspectors sent back the original application due to confusion about windfall sites - houses that are not planned into the strategy but are expected to naturally be built within the timeframe.

The town council had included these sites in its estimations when the documents were submitted but inspectors judged that it went against government advice.

It is not yet known exactly how many houses will be added to Thame as the district council ponders which towns will bear the brunt of the new housing.

It has to decide where 800 further houses will be placed throughout the district.

Cabinet member for planning, Angie Paterson, said: “The inspector’s approach is a major disappointment not just for us but also for the communities we have previously consulted on our proposals.

“We can’t change the situation or the numbers we are going to have to provide.

“Although the inspector has referred the problem back to us to resolve, under the current planning system he still has the right to decide what the numbers should be and whether we are proposing to put the homes in the right place

“We therefore need to plan together where the additional houses might go. It is in all our interests to work together on this. If we do not have a plan in place then we will be open to speculative developments across the district.”

A final announcement is expected in around two weeks, at which point the town council can start planning where to put homes.