Wendover Neighbourhood Plan May 2018
Wendover Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group (WNPSG) continues to work on a detailed analysis of the Questionnaire which was completed in late February and early March. Everyone is very welcome to drop in to the informal Feedback Meetings:
Thursday 14 June, 6.30pm – 8.30pm, MS Centre, Oakwood Close, HP22 5LX
Saturday 16 June, 2pm – 5.30pm, St Anne’s Hall, Aylesbury Road, HP22 6JG
WNPSG is still at the ideas-gathering stage. If you have a Big Issue that you want to draw to its attention, please contact email@example.com. It’s not too late! Ideas do not have to involve building. The Plan is for the well being of the community in general.
We hear news both locally and nationally about planning all the time. We need to be alert to issues affecting Wendover, which is under the AVDC umbrella for planning, eg:
- In Church Lane for The Chiltern Way Academy; land near Ashbrook Allotments off Aylesbury Road; Hideaway Farm; Chiltern View Nursery site
- Judicial deliberations on the Inquiry into the proposed Halton Lane development
- Hampden Fields, see below
- AVDC is still in the early stages of understanding what being a Garden Town means for Aylesbury: go to https://www.aylesburyvaledc.gov.uk/section/about-aylesbury-garden-town
- The Garden Town idea is stimulating thoughts about a Garden Village as part of the redevelopment following the closure of RAF Halton, see below
- The result of the Inquiry into Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan (VALP) is due in July. This often happens during the school holidays when fewer people are around to monitor developments so we need to watch for this and any implications therefrom.
Please watch, comment and report back.
THEY THINK IT’S ALL OVER– THEY COULD BE WRONG
There is an impression that the ‘Hampden Fields’ development now has the final green light to go ahead. This is based on press publicity over the Secretary of State’s decision not to ‘call in’ the proposal for independent public inquiry. The Hampden Fields Action Group and many supporters were very disappointed at Mr Javid’s decision, especially as we had had some support from our MP David Lidington. We believe that the District Council’s decision was based in part on a flawed assessment of the traffic effects of the development. This should have been tested at an independent inquiry.
So, is it all over?
Well, no! Our back-up plan, first publicised at a well-attended public meeting last September, has always been to seek legal advice over our options. We are now doing this, with a view to getting a decision this month.
Will we win? Who can say? But thinking about sporting examples, last month saw a gold medal won in the very last play of the Commonwealth netball final. The All-Blacks routinely win in the last few minutes of a match that everyone expected them to lose. And how many T20 matches go to the last over, or even the last ball?
All things are possible. We will let you know.
If you have any questions, or wish to join our supporters’ list to receive updates, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Chris Webbley, HFAG Chairmanwww.hampdenfieldsactiongroup.com
Closure of RAF Halton
At the March meeting of stakeholders concerning the closure of RAF Halton, it was made crystal clear that while the initial house allocation remains at 1000, this is only the first tranche so there will be further development, as expected. A curiously slow timeline of 150 houses per year was suggested. As significant infrastructure gains are usually paid for by large building projects implemented as quickly as possible, this timing didn’t make a lot of sense. Closure in 2022 was confirmed yet again, but no timetable was given for the emergence of a site Masterplan. If the Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan (VALP) is not approved, Her Majesty’s Government’s housing need calculation could be applied, which would lead to a 55% increase in the housing numbers already given.
The Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) plans “to reach financial potential of the site” which means Housing, not Employment, has priority. AVDC feels it has planned for more employment than required by the VALP. Local people were hoping for more employment opportunities to replace jobs lost because of the closure of RAF Halton.
The VALP specifically excludes a retail centre in the RAF Halton development but the DIO proposes one. Business owners in the retail centre of Wendover will want to know how this will be resolved.
Much was made of the concept: “A Garden Village within a Garden Town”. This development will be complex because it includes listed buildings, Green Belt and the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and could include a Heritage Trail as it is a Historic site: the railway platform and trenches were mentioned. Wendover residents are already involved with the museums at RAF Halton.
Road infrastructure was touched on briefly as much heavy traffic headed for the A41 already passes through Wendover, shaking the ancient buildings with limited foundations. No firm plans have been presented at this stage but it is essential that new roads enable the easy flow of extra domestic traffic, too.
David Lidington summed up with some very telling points reflecting local opinion:
- There must be no coalescence with other existing developments
- The DIO must handle stakeholders sensitively learning from the mistakes made by the HS2 project with its trail of broken promises
- Similarly, DIO must not follow the example of Princess Mary Gate where housing was just crammed in leading to traffic flow and parking problems
- Schools infrastructure must be examined very carefully as John Colet School is “bursting at the seams”
- As the local MP, he is always willing to take concerns of residents direct to the Defence Secretary or Ministers
Notes of Wendover Stakeholders
Friday 23 March saw the latest RAF Halton Stakeholders meeting held at Halton House. In reality, it was to start unveiling the plan with the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) showing their initial thoughts, some important information to set the scene. RAF Halton is still scheduled to close in 2022. AVDC hopes the Local Plan will be approved by the end of this year (2018), and will then be adopted by the new local authority. If it fails then the new authority will have to start again. Details about Halton will be contained in a Supplementary Planning Document which will commence as a subset to the Local Plan in 2019.
The headline number of houses is still 1000, but now we have an idea where they will be. Obviously we only had a very quick review of the presentation. The DIO seemed to have done a good job at looking at the site and what heritage assets they had. In broad strokes – Halton House becomes a 5 star hotel or luxury care home, Henderson Barracks are listed and become a small group within the setting of the AONB. Maitland Barracks are too close together to really be usable as modern housing, although some buildings in the area may warrant protecting, it is a site for new housing. New housing will replace the HQ building, the workshops, Kermode Hall and the Warrant Officers mess. A primary school will be located on the main site and there will be a community centre off the Upper Icknield Way with a Doctor’s surgery and a retail shop.
The DIO see the development along the principles of a garden village. They expressed a desire to enhance the landscaping of the site and protect the avenues of trees. They are looking at improving the transport links although there is no information on road improvements at this stage. They would like to retain and enhance the sports facilities if they can. There may be employment opportunities at the airfield.
There are one or two areas in the plan which are undecided and which we will need to input our views. There was a suggestion that some land may be set aside for housing needs in the future which needs to be reviewed.
Two interesting developments came out. Firstly, AVDC said they would be setting up a Joint Venture with the Rothschild Foundation to develop the site, and the DIO seemed to be on board with the idea. I believe this is a very positive step. Secondly, the concept of a National/Regional Sports Village being created utilising the existing sports facilities already there. This would fit with the DIO plan so it could get some momentum behind it.
In conclusion, a good first step along what appears to be a marathon race.
Brian Thompson,Chair, Halton Parish Council