The Town Council's Response to the Local Plan - November 2017
Subsequent to the Princes Risborough Town Council’s (PRTC) initial (2015) response to Wycombe District Council’s (WDC) preliminary Local Plan proposals for Princes Risborough, and in the light of subsequent Government guidelines on the formula for “Objectively Assessed Housing Need” via the HEDNA process, PRTC have updated its position statement on the Draft Local Plan as submitted to the Inspectorate by WDC and is outlined below.
Whilst PRTC would have preferred a lower quota of new housing for the Town we do accept that the District as a whole is heavily restricted by Greenbelt and AONB and that whilst Aylesbury Vale District Council, through the Duty to Co-operate, have agreed to take a proportion of our unmet need there is a heavy requirement on Princes Risborough to take the proposed level of growth as outlined in the Local Plan.
However, in the interest of offering a balanced perspective within our submission, listed below are our concerns, what we see as opportunities afforded by growth and the measures we believe must be implemented if we are to achieve the sustainable expansion of Princes Risborough. It should also be mentioned that, with the guidance and input of WDC planning officers and external specialist technical advice, PRTC formed a Local Plan Steering Group to participate in and inform the process. The Steering Group comprised of local Councillors from Town, District and County, plus representatives from Risborough Area Residents Association, Risborough Area Partnership, local schools, the Business Group, the Askett Society, Monks Risborough Society and a retired Head of County Highways (a local resident) along with other individuals/organisations/consultants as and when required/appropriate. We believe that the work undertaken by the Steering Group has helped to influence the Plans impact on
Princes Risborough, with much of the 2015 PRTC vision statement included in the Draft Plan. Particularly in relation to schools, doctor’s surgery, town centre regeneration and Community Land Trusts which will provide local homes for local people.
PR3 policy is unsound because it is not effective.
The Town Council is concerned that the policy PR3 does not provide certainty that the necessary infrastructure will be a delivered early enough in the development program. WDC should be outlining, in detail, how the infrastructure can be delivered in the early stages of the plan.
PR7 policy is unsound because it is not effective.
The Town Council believes that PR7 requires more detail on the phasing of the delivery of infrastructure. Infrastructure must be phased and furthermore the Town Council believe this should be outlined in the policy.
PR12 policy is unsound because it is not effective.
Further detail should be outlined in this policy. Policy should set out the process / timetables to ensure the issues are addressed,
CP3 policy is unsound because it is not effective.
Phasing of infrastructure must be delivered as housing is delivered. All developments within the area of Princes Risborough must contribute to infrastructure.
CP4 policy is unsound because it is not effective.
Homes must be delivered alongside infrastructure. Infrastructure being delivered at the end of construction is not acceptable.
Whilst we accept that currently there are insufficient financial resources to fund a fully-fledged Town Bypass to the South West of the existing settlement, in the long term (20 – 30 years hence) it is viewed as an essential requirement in order to cope with the potential growth in North – South traffic as future Local Plans add more and more housing to the North of the County.
NEED TO ENSURE.
In no particular order:
- It is absolutely essential that the expansion area is bounded by a Green Buffer, to include outdoor sports provision, in order to prevent further urban sprawl into the open countryside and to maintain gaps between the present local settlements.
- The current planning application (which aims to pre-empt and depart from the Draft Local Plan) to build 300 houses off Mill Lane, between Kingsmead and the railway line, should be resisted as it would contradict the concept of a Green Buffer and would link the villages of Monks Risborough and Askett through urbanised development in the open countryside.
- Likewise, any further planning applications for housing development on the Molin’s Sports Ground (in the Greenbelt & AONB) should be resisted and the ground restored to outdoor sports provision. The PRTC have a long-standing interest in facilitating such.
- Both the Town Centre and the Railway Station will require large scale car parking capacity increases.
- The existing Town Centre must remain the key retail and focal point of the expanded Town. NB – see also “Opportunities”.
- To ensure the last bullet point is successful, large scale through traffic needs to be re-routed from the town centre via the proposed new relief road, allowing for the expansion and re-development retail of parts of it, such as New Road (Back Lane), Horns Lane and including the implementation of “shared space” with a particular focus on linking the High Street and Horns Lane.
- If forward funding can be achieved we would want to see the early delivery of the proposed relief road.
- The two new primary schools should be built at the appropriate points of housing delivery.
- Sufficient care should be taken to preserve key environmental areas within the expansion area.
- Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS) should be sympathetically planned to take advantage of existing watercourses and the rural setting.
- There must be a broad mix of housing types both for sale and social/affordable rent, including Help to Buy, starter homes and self-build and in particular emphasis on homes for local people via “Community Land Trusts”.
- Further work needs to be undertaken to avert Mill Lane, Crowbrook Road and Askett village becoming “rat runs” with the increase in local traffic generated by the new developments.
The following opportunities are welcomed
- The economic regeneration and expansion of the existing Town Centre in both its retail offering and improvements to the public realm, in particular by means of the creation of “shared space” between pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles. Along with increased parking capacity and other improvements to make Princes Risborough a “destination town” including leisure and recreation for all ages.
- The proposed new Relief Road will help to alleviate current Town Centre traffic congestion.
- The provision of new sports grounds/facilities, parks and other green spaces. The creation of a central natural park running through the spine of the expansion area is particularly exciting.
- The potential to provide much needed homes (rental, shared ownership and for sale) for local people, particularly by means of Community Land Trusts.
- New businesses are already beginning to relocate here and hopefully more will be encouraged to do so as the Town grows.
- Providing current discussions with the relevant Clinical Commissioning Group and local GP surgeries progress positively, provision is made within the Local Plan for a new, state of the art surgery within the expansion area, could provide extra services which are not currently offered by the existing practices, with improved parking arrangements.
Princes Risborough Town Council wish to appear in front of the inspector.
END OF RESPONSE
Princes Risborough Town Plan - Action Area Plan
In March 2015 a report was sent to our Cabinet to update our Local Development Scheme. As a part of this update we have set out a timetable for the production of a Princes Risborough town plan. The timetable for this is as follows:
- · Consult on the emerging growth scenario in July 2015
- Consult on options/preferred options in October-November 2015
- Consult on a draft plan in April-May 2016
- Publish a "proposed submission" plan in August-September 2016
- Submitting for examination in October 2016
- Holding hearings in January 2017
- Adopting in July 2017
Full details relating to Princes Risborough Town Plan can be found by clicking on the link below.
Princes Risborough Town Council (PRTC) is opposed to large scale development on the northern side of the Risborough – Aylesbury railway line, as proposed in the draft Local Plan. Development on this land would set a precedent and potentially lead to uncontrolled urban sprawl across open countryside which is overlooked by the Chiltern Hills, a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It is PRTC’s considered opinion that all the land from the base of the Chiltern Hills, which extends from the northern border of the Town and lies within Wycombe District, should be re-designated as AONB and/or Greenbelt in order to protect this beautiful countryside for the present and future benefit of all.
Whilst PRTC is mindful of the need for new housing within the Town, particularly for young families, it is against the use of Greenbelt/AONB for such developments. PRTC is also mindful that low employment opportunities in this northern part of Wycombe District and poor road connections on the A4010 in either direction could impact any large-scale development being considered sustainable.
However, the Town Council takes its responsibilities seriously and should, in the worst case scenario, development be considered on land north of the railway line it would be imperative that the necessary infrastructure improvements, (including, but not exclusively, a western relief road, new primary school, new doctors’ surgery and current town centre redevelopment/expansion within the existing commercial centre of The High Street, Duke Street, New Road, Horns Lane and Bell Street), are implemented alongside any housing development. Furthermore, PRTC insist that it should play a key role in all matters relating to any development, including allocation of housing.
PRTC is currently in the process of establishing a Neighbourhood Development Plan to further establish its position.
This methodology considers the key aspects and issues arising from the project to deliver a Housing and Economic Development Assessment (HEDNA) for the commissioning Buckinghamshire Authorities.
This Methodology is set out in various sections -
The Housing Market Assessment (ORS);
Objectively Assessed Need
Overall Housing Need
Need for different types of housing
The Economic Development Needs (Atkins); and
Please click on the link below for a copy of the full report.
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