A BID to build 29 homes on a disused railway line in Wooburn Green has been thrown out after a developer appeal.
The Planning Inspectorate said the plan, for Wycombe Lane, Woodburn Green showed a “lack of privacy” for users of a proposed amenity space.
Yet David Morgan, who oversaw a November planning inquiry in High Wycombe, said other privacy concerns were not merited – and the scheme did allow for a public transport route.
To read the full judgement and previous stories about the issue see the links, right.
A councillor who campaigned against the scheme warned this raised the prospect of another plan being put in – and being passed by Wycombe District Council.
Henry Homes had appealed against the council for failing to make a decision on the plan, which would demolish 51 Wycombe Lane and put up 29 flats and houses.
The appeal decision concludes: “I find the development would not result in material harm to the living conditions of occupiers of adjacent properties, or to living conditions of future occupiers of units by virtue of habitable room inter-visibility.
“It would also safeguard the use of the former Bourne End – High Wycombe railway line for public transport purposes and make appropriate provision for infrastructure provision.”
He said the former line could be used as a footpath, cycleway or “some other form of public transport”.
Crucially this does not contravene the council’s agreed transport policy – even though the council and many residents want it to be used as a rail link.
This would have connected High Wycombe to Bourne End and provided a link with First Great Western via Maidenhead.
The inspector also said the scheme would “make adequate provision for affordable housing and would not materially compromise the safety of highway users in relation to the access junction”.
Yet he said all of this was outweighed by the problems with the amenity space.
He said: “These factors do not outweigh the significant and material harm that would be caused to the living conditions of future occupiers.”
This would be “through the lack of privacy for users of the proposed amenity space and the impracticability of those spaces for their intended purpose; the casual recreation of their occupiers”.
Councillor Simon Bazley, a district council ward member for the Wooburns, said he was “devastated” by the news, despite the appeal being dismissed.
He said: “The main issue we were hoping to win was the railway line. He has dismissed that and said what was proposed could happen, it was just the amenity issues.
“This means something could go through in the future. We wanted a solid decision that could preclude further development.”