A public consultation has started over proposals to build a care home with plans that have been criticised by Thame Town Council.
Angle Property Limited, who recently purchased the Kingsmead Business Park - including the DAF site - launched the consultation this week with an exhibition at the Howland Road site on Wednesday, March 28.
But the town council are opposed to the plans and say the land is designated under the Thame Neighbourhood Plan for employment, and have issued a statement putting their views to residents. They say the town has already lost employment space, mostly through permitted development rules, equivalent to around 600 jobs at a time when population is increasing through new housebuilding.
It also says it was made clear when it was advertised for sale that the DAF site was protected for employment use under the Neighbourhood Plan, and Angle submitted their bid on that understanding.
The statement said: “Regrettably they now seem determined to undermine the Neighbourhood Plan, and the community’s wishes, by any means at their disposal and to turn the whole site into yet another unwanted windfall residential development. Firstly, they used central Government initiated Permitted Development Rights to secure permission to convert the DAF building to 45 flats.
“The town council contested their case, pointing out that such rights didn’t apply, but the planning authority went ahead and gave permission. They then amended that permission in an attempt to establish residential principles on the existing DAF car parking provision.
“They are now proposing to build a care home on that parking area, which they presented to Thame Town Council two weeks ago. Members of the town council vehemently opposed this as it would incur further loss of employment space, and is potentially another means of establishing the principle for residential development of the whole site. Their proposals are clearly in contravention of the adopted Thame Neighbourhood Plan.
“Our Neighbourhood Plan vision statement was, and will remain, to retain the character of Thame as a true market town and the Neighbourhood Plan revision process will engage fully with the community in determining how that should be best achieved. We cannot allow developers to turn Thame into a dormitory commuter town with no heart.
“Angle Property Limited have invited comments and opinion on their proposals and we hope that the community of Thame will respond appropriately.”
A spokesman for Angle Property Ltd said the company would be commenting on the consultation at a later date.