Plan for 57 new homes in Edlesborough divides opinion

Plans for the land off High Street
Plans for the land off High Street

An application to build new homes in Edlesborough divided opinion when it went before a committee last week.

The plan by McCann Homes to build 57 homes between Kings Mead and Chiltern Avenue attracted controversy from the outset, with a village survey opposing the plans and around 180 letters of opposition from the public.

At an Aylesbury Vale District Council meeting last Wednesday, planning officers noted the site would include 29 units in the north and a cul-de-sac in the south, with green open space in the middle.

Housing officers recommended approval, stating economic benefits outweighed adverse effects such as impact on the landscape.

But many locals did not agree.

Edlesborough Parish Cllr John Wilkinson told the meeting: “The landscape officer’s report states quite categorically that the development would be unsympathetic to the area.”

Edlesborough resident Wendy Forsyth added: “Our natural, very rural environment would be lost forever.”

Mark Harris appeared on behalf of the developers’ agent.

He argued the proposals would boost much-needed housing in the Vale.

Of the 57 dwellings, seven would be two-bedroomed, 30 three-bedroomed houses, 11 four-bedrooms and six houses with five bedrooms.

Local AVDC member Cllr Chris Poll called the application “a compromise of epic proportions”.

As well as harmful to the landscape, Cllr Poll said there would be traffic issues and severe problems with the existing sewage system.

But the community’s concerns were largely challenged by the committee.

Cllr Janet Blake said: “I think Cllr Poll is right when he says this is a compromise.

“People wish [planning] to be tailored to everything they want, whereas we have to look at it from the planning policies that prevail.

“Some of the things that have been put forward I can understand the community wanting... But this does make a contribution towards housing needs.”

Cllr Brian Foster added: “I think the reason for the compromise is that it’s been driven by the cold fact that we need to have houses to contribute to our five year housing supply.”

Cllr Foster said it was crucial for people to understand that houses were being built to satisfy market need.

This was agreed by Cllr Llew Monger – who said he couldn’t accept that a development of 57 homes was too large for the village.

Nevertheless, Cllr Monger and Cllr Carole Paternoster both expressed worries about the housing mix. Cllr Paternoster also raised concern about school places.

After discussion, it was decided to delegate approval powers to the housing officer to address members’ concerns.