UPDATED: ‘Shambles’ as council is sidestepped on plans for 3,000 new homes

Councillor Steven Lambert
Councillor Steven Lambert

The consortium behind plans for 3,000 homes near Aylesbury has sidelined the district council in a bid to get them considered alongside another big application.

An application to build between Bedgrove and Weston Turville was being considered by Aylesbury Vale District Council, but the Government is now being asked to make the decision.

The Hampden Fields consortium has submitted an appeal so it can be considered at the same time as plans for 2,750 houses in Fleet Marston.

Lib Dem leader Councillor Steven Lambert blamed the move on the Conservatives’ ‘shambolic’ planning policy, while anti-Hampden Fields campaigners described the appeal as a part of a ‘cynical game’.

Mr Lambert said: “The council must have a sustainable strategy for housing and economic growth and their constant messing around with little bits here and there is farcical and not sustainable. They’ve shot themselves in the foot because they voted for Hampden Fields in the first place in the local development framework in 2009. It’s now out of elected members’ hands because the Tories can’t get their act together.”

The council’s head of planning, John Byrne, said it could understand the confusion caused by the decision. The authority will complete consultations on the plans and the committee will decide what decision it would have made.

Proposals for Fleet Marston were refused in July, but the decision was appealed and will be considered by a Government inspector at an inquiry next April.

The Hampden Fields consortium appears concerned if a decision is taken on the Fleet Marston application before their own, it could affect their hopes of being successful.

A consortium spokesman said: “We would normally prefer the decision for Hampden Fields to be taken by the district council but the timescale for the appeal for Fleet Marston has complicated matters.”

The Hampden Fields application was originally submitted in March. In response to ‘technical issues’ raised, updated proposals were submitted last month, with 200 fewer homes.

But Aston Clinton Councillor Phil Yerby criticised the move, saying: “How can developers say consistently over the last few months they’re going to resubmit plans, then resubmit the plans but then after that appeal for non-determination?

“That appears to be a very cynical game and I think it shows that they know that their argument is weak, they know their plan is weak and they know there is a good chance it won’t stand up to scrutiny, so they’re trying to get Hampden Fields in through the back door.”