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Opinion : Is Aylesbury to become a ‘garden town’ while Wycombe remains ‘concrete jungle’?

| January 6, 2017

Flowers in Oxford Road, High Wycombe pictured in 2005, sadly now removed and paved over. (Picture from Ivor’s personal archive).

Have you heard the news that Aylesbury has been chosen by the Government to be a ‘garden town’?

Once again poor old Wycombe has been overlooked and millions of pounds of investment has passed us by going to Aylesbury instead.

No doubt living conditions will improve for the residents of Aylesbury once their town is modelled in the garden town ‘ethos’ with green spaces, community facilities and more pleasant living conditions.

You are probably thinking that my good self is upset at the decision to make Aylesbury a garden town? Well, no, actually I’m jolly pleased that Wycombe has been over looked on this occasion and the green countryside surrounding us isn’t going to be destroyed in the name of excessive housing development.

In fact when yours truly first heard the news of Aylesbury being chosen as a ‘garden town’ my good self started chuckling at the thought of Aylesbury being decimated with thousands upon thousands of houses.

However my mind boggles at why all that investment has gone to Aylesbury? To get from Aylesbury to London Marylebone takes roughly an hour by train, while it’s only 30 minutes to get from Wycombe to London Marylebone.

Wycombe is a key junction on the M40 giving easy access to Oxford, Birmingham, the M25 and London, however there is no motorway close to Aylesbury. Anyone travelling out of Aylesbury by motor vehicle has to negotiate country roads that seem primarily designed for use by tractors and farm vehicles.

How easy it is to get from Aylesbury to a major international airport? Well, you would need to travel through Wycombe if you wanted to get to Heathrow. Indeed Wycombe even has its own aerodrome at Booker, there are no such facilities in Aylesbury.

Who on earth would anyone want to live in Aylesbury? Let Aylesbury be a garden town, from what I can see the geographical location and facilities make it likely to be more of a ‘back garden town’ than a ‘front garden town’.

But there is another side to all of this.

While investment is being made to improve Aylesbury, under the ‘garden town’ banner, poor old Wycombe will remain more of a ‘concrete jungle’.

Wycombe was once a lovely town however Frogmoor has been paved over, the green areas of our town centre have gone and all available land that isn’t green belt or protected is being built upon.

As you can see from the picture at the top of this blog there were even large flower displays in Wycombe such as those in Oxford Road. Sadly these have all been removed and paving laid where the flowers once were.

Who can remember when the side of Downley hill was green fields with animals grazing in them? Only a couple of decades ago The Pastures road simply did not exist and sheep and cows roamed the grass where the houses stand today.

In my opinion Wycombe needs to get rid of the concrete and bring back the garden areas once again. Our town has so much potential but years of poor decisions have led to the stagnation that grips the town today.

Those who have recently moved to Wycombe may be interested to know that once upon a time the area we know today as simply ‘Frogmoor’ was initially called ‘Frogmoor Gardens’ and was filled with flowers, trees and a fountain. Wycombe had a ‘garden’ in the town long before Aylesbury and the other unfortunates who have been singled out by the Government.

If only the potential of Wycombe was unleashed our town would be the economic powerhouse driving the economy of Buckinghamshire. Sadly I fear it unlikely that things will change in the short term.

What do you think?

*My blogs are published every Tuesday and Friday evening around 8.00pm here on the WycombeToday.com website.

You can also follow me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ivor.wycombe or on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Ivor_Wycombe.

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