Plan for extra housing at Houghton Conquest gets go-ahead

House building in Aylesbury Vale at its highest level in a decade
House building in Aylesbury Vale at its highest level in a decade

Extra housing is to be included as part of a site already approved for development at Houghton Conquest.

Planning permission was granted originally for 125 homes on land at Chapel End Road to the north-east of the village.

A scheme has now been approved for 37 properties instead of 17 on part of the area, despite an objection from the parish council.

It fears the change “would put further strain on the amenities and services in the village” and would represent an overdevelopment of the site.

The benefit of the additional affordable housing outweighs the size of the cluster, according to a report to Central Bedfordshire Council’s development management committee.

Ian Mitchell, who works for the applicant Kier Living, explained the site forms part of a larger scheme for which planning permission was granted to build 125 properties.

“It proposes the replacement of 17 mostly four- and five-bedroom homes with 37 smaller properties, he said.

“This will result in 20 extra homes on the site, of which seven will be affordable.

“These new homes are likely to be more suited to first time buyers, young families looking to move into their second home, or those wishing to downsize.

“The extra units will be provided without extending the scheme into the open countryside, and without diminishing the quality of the development,” he added.

“Unfortunately the parish council has objected to the application, even though when I met them to explain our proposals, before the plans were submitted, no concerns were raised.

“The scheme was also presented to the local councillor Angela Barker, again prior to submission, and the inclusion of smaller units and the provision of affordable housing was welcomed.

“The private drives won’t be in the ownership of the people who live in the houses.

“They will be maintained and run by a management company. Anyone could park in them.

“But it’s more likely they will be used by people visiting the occupiers of those properties on the private drives.”

Conservative Sandy councillor Peter Smith described that as “a recipe for disaster”, saying there were “no other words for that than complete and utter chaos”.

He told the meeting: “Unless we can clarify quite clearly that they have met our planning guideline for parking spaces I would respectfully advise the applicant to go away and have another look at that.

“The issues of getting emergency vehicles down to these properties or even bin lorries becomes a major problem.

“That leads to anti-social behaviour and aggravated situations, and having someone park on your drive is just a nonsense.”

But Mr Mitchell replied: “We are certainly not suggesting that people park on private drives of individual properties.

“That is not where these visitor spaces are. By private drives we are talking about the road that is privately maintained.

“These are spaces that are clearly marked on the side of the road, not on people’s driveways.”

Councillors approved the scheme with 11 votes in favour, and two abstensions.