A public consultation is to be held on the future of the former Bassetsbury allotments in High Wycombe.
The allotments were closed in 2009 after the discovery of traces of heavy metal contamination on the site.
Before redevelopment can commence the former allotments site will need costly remediation works, involving cleaning the existing soil and adding a clay top-cap of about 60 centimetres. New gas, electricity, water, sewage and drainage will also be need to be installed. The estimated cost of all these works could be up to £1 million.
Site investigations have revealed that beneath are the remains of a Victorian tip, which are up to six metres deep. Below this the ground formation is poor. This means it is not possible to build conventional homes. For this reason the development proposed on the site is for single-storey off-site manufactured modular homes.
Prior to a formal planning application, Wycombe District Council is outlining how it proposes to develop the disused land which it owns at the former Bassetsbury allotments.
Starting early in January 2018 Wycombe District Council will be consulting on its plans to facilitate development of the site to provide more homes that are more affordable to more people.
The new homes will specifically target older people over 55 years of age. In addition, the proposals will include working with Chiltern Rangers (a community-led environmental business) to create a new facility beside Funges Meadow.
The Council, as landowner, intends to promote proposals for single storey homes which can be manufactured off site. These are considerably more affordable than traditionally built houses. They provide the opportunity for retired people and who want to downsize from their current homes. Some of the new homes could be offered for rent.
Demand is likely to come from older people who may prefer single storey accommodation and who are possibly looking to release equity by selling their existing larger (family) homes. They are likely to be able to purchase the new homes outright. The council is exploring the idea of restricting the proposed development to people over 55.
The proposed scheme will provide residents with low maintenance/low energy homes within a community which is close to local shops and transport links. The proposed development is an innovative approach which could enable local people to release equity and stay near their friends and families for their retirement.
The proposals include the potential to provide track access from Bassetsbury Lane to the south side of Funges Meadow, for Chiltern Rangers in what will become an activity centre, improving community access to this unique landscaped area.
The proposals provide a practical solution, which would not only help to meet our local chronic housing need, but also bring the site back into beneficial use, as allocated in the publicised version of the Wycombe Local Plan.
The council will publish more detailed information about its proposals when it launches a two week public consultation starting at the beginning of January 2018. This will look in more detail at Issues like traffic management and the construction logistics. The proposals will also look at ways to improve the old railway line access to create a new cycleway to the town centre/station.