How the local plan impacts on Princes Risborough : Key concerns for the Planning Inspector

 

Considering the number of reports and studies that are included as supporting evidence, Wycombe District Council’s 500-page local plan document sets out a concerning lack of detail and forward thinking.

Wycombe District Council outline their proposals for the development of Princes Risborough on pages 163 -258 of the local plan. Unfortunately, detail is sparse and the recommendations fail to reflect the the kind of town local people would like to see.

This is not surprising when one considers that the 2,600 homes proposed by Wycombe District Council was decided at the start of the consultation process and has remained unchanged in the face of considerable local challenge. This kind of predetermination goes against an important legal requirement and flies in the face of Wycombe District Council’s own policies on community engagement.

The local plan, in its current form, will cause significant and irreversible damage to Princes Risborough and the wider Risborough Area. It is not about planning for a better town, but rather mitigating the damage that such major and inappropriate development will cause.

Also the plan looks to easy solutions that are poor or suboptimal. Some general examples of this are:

  • Double-decking the Mount car park. The car parks that should be expanded are at Tesco and the Railway Station. These are not owned by WDC, so require effort to achieve negotiated agreement.
  • Moving the fire station and developing the Horns Lane/New Road frontage, could generate a considerable amount of town centre affordable apartments, ideal as starter homes for the younger residents. The biggest win would come from developing the area between High St and New Rd. This is not easy, so the plan has backed away from making this happen, rather than being proactive to achieve a real gain for Princes Risborough
  • The current town centre retail outlets cannot support a doubling of the population. Where in the plan is there any additional food retail outlets planned, except 3-400 sqm in the expansion area, basically one or two small shops.
  • The relief road, is a complete red-herring. It is basically a service road through the expansion area, and which will have to be built by the developers anyway

To help you respond to the Planning Inspector, RARA has provided some guidance on the key issues affecting you and the town. When responding, please quote the local plan policy and paragraph numbers that we have provided (in red), as this will ensure that your views are properly communicated to the Planning Inspector.

DOCUMENT: Key Issues When Responding to the Planning Inspector

For more general advice on writing to the Planning Inspector, including the why, how and when, visit our ‘Rescue Risborough’ page.