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Plan to turn old landfill site into playing fields and community park

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A disused landfill site in South Buckinghamshire could be turned into playing fields and a community park to benefit the residents of Buckinghamshire.

It has been 28 years since the last landfill waste deliveries at Trenches Lane, in Wexham. Since then the site has been left to nature.

On Monday 18th December 2017 Buckinghamshire County Council’s Cabinet supported a proposal to breathe new life into the site by enhancing the landscape and creating self-sustaining community parkland.

John Chilver, Cabinet Member for Resources, said there was potential for the site to be restored, in discussion with residents, to provide a playing field and community park with additional planting and modern facilities.

At present, he said, concerned residents say that the 74-acre Trenches Lane site is a magnet for anti-social behaviour, fly-tipping and illegal encampments.

Quite frankly,‘ he said, ‘Trenches Lane is a significant nuisance to our residents and a maintenance liability for us, which is a costly burden on the taxpayer.

Restoration, he said, would not only provide residents with an improved environment, it would also allow the County Council, which has now lost all Government Revenue Support, to better use the land it owns to generate an income to support vital services.

Subject to planning consent, restoration would involve landscaping by a contractor using inert spoil imported by rail to a nearby siding, then dispersed on to the site.

It would cost the taxpayer nothing, he said, as the appointed contractor would bear all the restoration costs, and pay spoil importing fees to the County Council.

Before the project can commence, it will be subject to the stringent planning process for approval with full public consultation,‘ said John. ‘Residents will be fully consulted as part of the planning process.

The restored site could be an important public amenity offering recreational and wildlife study opportunities not just for the benefit of immediate residents but also the wider area of southern Buckinghamshire.

Once a preferred contractor was appointed by the County Council, he said, would have a year to consult with the community, carry out surveys and create a design at its own cost.

If planning approval was granted, the contractor would be given a six-year lease to complete the restoration scheme and then hand it back to the Council.

During that time a Council Project Board would closely monitor progress, ensure the community was consulted, and make sure the contractor stuck rigidly to the terms of the lease.

John said: ‘We not only have a duty to our taxpayers to manage our property assets and ensure those that are under-used are no longer subsidised, but also to see how they can be better used for the benefit of local residents. I believe this restoration project will do just that.

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