Wycombe District Local Plan submitted

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Wycombe District Council has formally submitted the new Wycombe District Local Plan to the Secretary of State for independent examination. The Local Plan is the planning framework which every planning authority has to produce to shape future growth and facilitate new homes, jobs and infrastructure in a local area.

The Local Plan sets out how and where the council will meet housing and economic needs and provide sustainable development for the district up to 2033. It also sets out how the council will protect unique countryside such as the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and local Green Belt areas.

The result of over five years’ work, the Local Plan has involved looking at all of the district, and having active discussions and working with feedback with thousands of local residents and key stakeholders.

Throughout the process of preparing the plan, planners have set out the tough challenges of meeting housing need within the boundaries of our district which has the dual constraints of almost three-quarters (71 per cent) of the land being protected by AONB and almost half (48 per cent) in the Green Belt. However, this has not proved possible and, as a result, they have successfully negotiated with neighbouring Aylesbury Vale District Council to accommodate 2,275 homes which cannot be met on the land available to Wycombe District.

The Local Plan shows the proposed locations where 10,925 new homes could be built to meet local housing needs in the district and identifies where 21 hectares of new employment land will be allocated. Large swathes of our local area will remain protected against future development.

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.

Cllr David Johncock, Cabinet Member for Planning and Sustainability, said: “A lot of hard work has gone into producing a Local Plan that balances meeting our housing need, manages development and protects our countryside for generations to come. We’ve had thousands of representations, worked with neighbouring authorities, and we’ve literally reviewed every inch of land in the district. We’ve produced thousands of pages of detailed, extensive technical research in what can only be described as a thorough and exhaustive process.”

He continued: “We’ve had to make some difficult choices to get to the point where we can present this plan. We’ve had robust, open and honest discussions with local people and community groups to get where we are. I’m personally grateful to every single person who has worked with us to be part of this process and I want to reassure everyone that we’ve tried as hard as we can to accommodate those views wherever we could. Now we have an excellent blueprint to help shape our future.”

The Local Plan, along with all the supporting documentation and representations received during the 2017 Regulation 19 publication stage, is now lodged with the Planning Inspectorate for independent examination. This is an independent government body which will scrutinise the Wycombe District Local Plan to check it meets national criteria and then decide to accept, reject or recommend changes to it.

It is expected that public hearings will take place in the summer for the Inspector to further explore matters, issues and questions relating to the submitted plan. If the Inspector finds that the Wycombe District Local Plan is ‘sound’, the plan will then be considered for formal adoption by the council.

See new local plan: examination to see the submitted plan, documentation and updates.