On Monday 9th October 2017 Wycombe District Council approved the final draft of its New Local Plan.
The plan shows the locations where 10,925 new homes may be built to meet local housing needs in the District and shows that 21 hectares of employment land will be allocated. Large swathes of the Wycombe District will also remain protected against future development.
The document, which is over 450 pages long, is supported by a large number of detailed technical reports all of which are available on the council’s website at www.wycombe.gov.uk/newlocalplan.
The New Local Plan also sets out the policies which will help to map out the future of the district and which will be used to guide local development and planning decisions for the next 15 years.
Over half the housing provision will be in and around High Wycombe and roughly a quarter in Princes Risborough where 2,050 out of 2,650 homes will be built within the plan period up to 2033 along with over 400 in Longwick and the Kimbles and around 800 homes at Bourne End. Other rural areas will take smaller pockets of development. Over half the housing will be on brownfield sites.
The final stage of public consultation on the local plan is a formal process which is run within parameters set in the regulations. A six week public consultation will start on Monday 16th October 2017 and run until Monday 27th November 2017.
Two briefing meetings and two drop-in events will be held where Wycombe District planners will be on hand to guide people through the process of making their comments. The drop in sessions are not exhibitions and are not aimed at explaining the content of the plan.
The briefing and drop-in events are as follows :
South of District
Briefing meeting : Thursday 26th October 2017, 7.30pm at the Council Chamber, Wycombe District Council Offices, Queen Victoria Road, High Wycombe. Further information is available at : https://www.wycombe.gov.uk/localplanbriefingsouth.
Drop in session : Thursday 9th November 2017, 2.00pm to 8.00pm at Committee Room 1 and 2, Wycombe District Council Offices, Queen Victoria Road, High Wycombe.
North of District
Briefing meeting : Thursday 2nd November 2017, 7.30pm at Princes Risborough Community Centre, Princes Risborough. Further information is available at : https://www.wycombe.gov.uk/localplanbriefingnorth.
Drop in session : Thursday 16th November 2017, 2.00 pm to 8.00pm at the Cherry Baker Room, Princes Risborough Community Centre, Princes Risborough.
Anyone wishing to attend a briefing session is requested to use the links (given above) to book a place or if you do not have access to a computer you can book a place by contacting Carol Clouden on 01494 421757.
Comments made in this phase of consultation will go directly before the independent Planning Inspector appointed by the Secretary of State and will form part of his or her examination of the local plan.
Councillor David Johncock, the Cabinet Member responsible for Planning and Sustainability at Wycombe District Council said: ‘We have worked positively with local communities and with our neighbouring councils over the last four years and we’ve reviewed every inch of land.
We’ve had robust discussions with stakeholders and many, many local people and community groups to get to this point. We’ve used all this feedback to help us produce this draft plan. We’ve had to make some difficult choices to get to the point we can present this plan.‘
He continued: ‘We have a severe shortage of homes locally so we will need to build on some greenfield sites, but we’ve made the very best use of brownfield sites and we’ve located housing in the best way we can, working within the natural limitations across the District.
We’ve spoken with and listened to thousands of local people and we produced thousands of pages of detailed, extensive technical research to get to this point in what can only be described as a thorough and exhaustive process.‘
With three quarters (71%) of the land in the District protected by AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) and almost half (48%) in the Green Belt neighbouring Aylesbury Vale District Council has agreed to accommodate a shortfall of 2,275 homes which cannot be met within the land available to Wycombe District.
The local plan sets out how to meet a target of 10,925 new homes within Wycombe District up to 2033. The methodology for calculating how much housing is needed in the future will change after the government’s deadline of March 2018. This could mean the provision to meet projected housing numbers is likely to increase further. The Department for Communities and Local Government has already calculated that, using this new method, the objectively assessed housing need in the Wycombe District would increase by an extra 2,640 homes over the plan period.
The timetable set for Wycombe District’s Local Plan means that it will be submitted to the Planning Inspector by the government deadline enabling it to be based on the current methodology of assessing housing need. It has also been the subject of an independent sustainability assessment to show that the plan is soundly based and will pass the various tests when the Planning Inspector goes through the examination process.