'Brake on new homes'

A council has proposed a reduction in the number of new homes to be built in Aylesbury Vale, in the latest step towards a final approved Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan – the blueprint that will shape development until 2033.

Aylesbury Vale District Council has responded to the Local Plan independent planning inspector’s interim findings and his latest discussion document. In its response, the council sets out the way forward on matters where the inspector asked for changes before approval. The key change being suggested by the council is that the housing requirement in the plan should be reduced by 1,400 homes – from the inspector’s recommended 31,500 to 30,100 homes. This reflects the inspector’s finding that the Oxford to Cambridge Arc should not require extra housing in addition to those already proposed in the plan.

The council is also asking the inspector for his view on how this change in numbers will affect the increased number of housing sites that he requested in close proximity to Milton Keynes, as well as asking him to clarify whether an early review of the Local Plan is necessary (usually local plans are reviewed every five years). In addition to these queries, the council is also suggesting that the Green Belt designation at Leighton Linslade should be confirmed.

The council must now wait for the inspector to confirm whether the proposed new housing figure is acceptable. At the same time the council is working on further detailed modifications to the Local Plan that the inspector asked for in his latest document. This involves gathering a significant amount of new evidence and revising several policies.

Once these changes are agreed with the inspector, there will be six weeks of public consultation on those modifications, which will probably take place in the spring.

The council hopes that the plan will then be adopted for use by mid 2019, although this depends on the inspector’s requirements.

Councillor Carole Paternoster, the council’s Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning and Infrastructure, said: ‘The Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan is a major undertaking for all those involved. AVDC and the independent planning inspector are both working to secure the best possible plan for Aylesbury Vale. That will be a VALP which takes account of the predicted changes and challenges ahead and creates opportunities for the construction of the housing that will be needed, in locations where infrastructure can support communities whilst maintaining the character of the Vale.’

The adoption of the Local Plan will not be affected by the creation of the new unitary council.

Homes at Kingsbrook, to the east of Aylesbury.