Green fields threatened as Vale of Aylesbury Plan thrown out
Inspector Kevin Ward said that Aylesbury Vale has failed in its legal duty to cooperate with neighbouring councils over housing numbers. Milton Keynes wants to expand into Aylesbury Vale and Luton borough says that it can’t accommodate all the housing it needs within its area. The implication is that Aylesbury Vale must now plan for higher housing levels.
The council has no realistic choice other than to withdraw its current plan and it is likely to do this at the beginning of February. This will lead the district open to unplanned housing developments. Developers will be able to argue that the area does not have an up-to-date local plan and that it has failed to identify a five year land supply for housing. They can then cite the National Planning Policy Framework, which says in this situation the presumption in favour of sustainable development applies. In these circumstances, planning inspectors routinely approve housing plans regardless of the wishes of local councils and communities.
A public inquiry into three housing schemes totalling 3,000 homes at Hampden Fields, Fleet Marston and Weedon Hill on the outskirts of Aylesbury finished in December. No one should now be surprised if these schemes are approved under the presumption in favour of sustainable development, even though they conflict with the draft Vale of Aylesbury Plan.
Developers have been bidding to build over green fields around Winslow. Gladman Developments is now likely to appeal over the refusal of a scheme at Shipton, and push for housing schemes elsewhere around the town. It is a moot point whether the draft Winslow neighbourhood plan will offer any protection in the new circumstances. There is also a question whether the neighbourhood plan can be completed until the level of housing needed in the Vale of Aylesbury is resolved.