Is Vale secret dumping ground for 50,000 new homes?

Housing development
Housing development

Up to 50,000 homes may have to be built in Aylesbury Vale, a Tory councillor has warned.

The district council’s own plan has been rejected by an inspector and Councillor Mark Winn said the result could be anything between 35,000 and 50,000 new homes being imposed on the area.

Planning chiefs at Aylesbury Vale District Council would not be drawn on the 50,000 figure, although strategic planning chief, Councillor Carole Paternoster, said the new target is likely to be more than the 26,000 proposed in Labour’s scrapped South East Plan.

Mr Winn has fought against the building of 3,000 homes between Bedgrove and Weston Turville.

He said: “35,000 to 50,000 is a number that has been floated around the council.

“If you start putting together all the overspill from other areas you can start getting that picture.”

Mr Winn added that extra development would be a major strain on the area.

He said: “It’s not just the roads we would have to worry about.

“You have got to think about the hospitals and doctors’ surgeries. Can our town centre cope with it?”

The Vale of Aylesbury Plan proposed around 13,850 new homes and a minimum of 6,000 new jobs, along with necessary infrastructure, to be created by 2031.

But inspector Kevin Ward said the level of housing was too low and criticised the council for not working closely enough with neighbouring authorities.

Under Labour’s plan, which was scrapped by the coalition, the Vale would have had to take 26,000 homes.

Mrs Paternoster said: “We don’t know the exact number because we have not got figures for overspill from neighbouring areas.

“But I would think we are looking at at least 26,000 and probably in excess of that.”

Asked about the 35,000 to 50,000 estimate, Mrs Paternoster said: “I hope it won’t go as high as that.

“If 35,000 is what the Government wants us to take then the Government will have to help us fund the infrastructure to take that number of houses.”

Localism was meant to give councils more power to decide their own fates, with the coalition government singing its praises.

But after the Vale plan debacle, Mrs Paternoster said: “Localism as far as housing numbers are concerned is no more.”

Aylesbury MP David Lidington, a coalition minister, said he still supports localism but that questions needed to be asked about what has happened with the Vale plan.

Mr Lidington said: “As far as I’m aware these things don’t touch ministers’ desks.

“It’s the planning inspector who checks national planning policy is being complied with.

“Clearly this is very disappointing because I have always supported going in the direction of localism.”

AVDC chiefs have asked for a meeting with the Government to discuss the situation.

Leader Neil Blake said he fears there may be a hidden ‘agenda’ behind the decision, particularly with rumours circulating about plans for a new ‘garden city’ in Bucks.

Councillors are meeting on Monday (January 27) to discuss the housing plan, with Lib Dems and Labour calling for Mrs Paternoster to resign.