Village split over homes proposal as council refuses development

A photo of a home that was due to be demolished as part of an application to build more homes in Stewkley
A photo of a home that was due to be demolished as part of an application to build more homes in Stewkley

An application for new homes that split both villagers and the parish council has been refused by Aylesbury Vale District Council’s development management committee.

At a meeting at The Oculus in Aylesbury on Thursday, January 7, councillors voted to reject an application in Stewkley for the demolition of 66 High Street North and an outbuilding and a subsequent development of up to 14 homes including parking and an estate road.

The application was originally considered by the committee on December 17, however an agreement could not be reached and members voted for a site visit, held a few days later.

Speaking to the committee at the second meeting, local area member for Stewkley Cllr Janet Blake said: “I believe this development does not constitute an unwelcome intrusion into the countryside.

“There is no demonstration that this will cause significant harm.”

Conservative councillor for Buckingham Timothy Mills said of the application: “This is one of the hardest I think we have ever had to deal with.”

However Conservative councillor for Oakley Michael Rand said bluntly when giving his view: “I cannot support this application.”

The applicant’s intention was that people living in Stewkley or with connections to the village would get first refusal on the homes.

Conservative councillor for Watermead Ashley Bond said he felt the application was ‘sympathetically done’ although Lib Dem councillor for Coldharbour Steven Lambert said the committee should ‘dismiss the nice sales pitch.’

A report on the previous committee meeting said matters raised in support of the application included that there was a need for the proposed housing mix, in relation to downsizing and first time buyers; there would be no highway safety issues and that the existing house detracts from the conservation area.

It added that matters raised against included that traffic problems in the village would increase, that there was not sufficient parking and that the access to the site was unsafe.

The district council said in a letter to the applicant’s agent that they refused the application because:

> It would result in the partial development of a greenfield site which could intrude into the open countryside,

> The proposal would impact adversely on the character and appearance of the site

> The council would have had to enter into an agreement to secure money towards open space provision

Stewkley Parish Council was also split over the application at their meeting but agreed to support it.