Team behind controversial Thame development defend plans ahead of public exhibition

An artist's impression of the plan for the Elms in Thame
An artist's impression of the plan for the Elms in Thame

Officials behind controversial plans to build 45 homes in the heart of Thame have moved to dismiss fears that the development will decimate an open space.

The proposed Elms housing development, allocated as a site for new homes in the Thame Neighbourhood Plan, has drawn much criticism, with hundreds of people petitioning against it and the loss of green space.

A public consultation on the plans is being hosted by planning and design consultancy Barton Willmore at the town hall on Friday (November 29) so people can have a closer look at the proposals.

Responding to recent concerns, the consultancy has said the area is ‘a suitable housing site’.

Writing in The Thame Gazette this week, Barton Willmore said: “People will see at the exhibition that opening up Elms field to the public and making a link to the existing Elms Park is a major part of the proposals for the land and more than one hectare of the existing parkland will be open to the public and form the central feature of the site.

“The trees on the land will all be retained save for those in poor condition and for the first time the public will be able to see the heritage asset of the Elms from within the site.”

The company was responding to a letter in last week’s paper written by Thame resident Richard Jeffries, who has campaigned against the development.

Mr Jeffries wrote: “There is considerable land of limited heritage and ecological value on the outskirts of Thame available for development, yet the important open space of Elms field has slipped into the now adopted town plan. This seems by any rational assessment to be foolhardy.”

In its letter, Barton Willmore points to the fact that the majority of homes in the neighbourhood plan are proposed for the edge of town.

The consultancy said: “This option (the Elms) has been assessed and the neighbourhood plan process finds the site to be a suitable housing site.

“Indeed it is very well located to the town centre and its many facilities and services.”

The consultation on the plans will take place from 2.30pm until 7.30pm.

People will be able to look at the plans, ask questions of the team behind them and provide feedback.