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Better places to live

Housing at edge of town, beside fields
Becca Nelson

The current population of Buckinghamshire is approximately 855,000 (2018 figures). Projected growth rates vary widely and depend on some major investment decisions to be made by the government, but the population could reach 1.3 million or more by 2050. They need homes and meeting that demand while maintaining and protecting the countryside is perhaps the biggest challenge.

Containing the sprawl

“Urban Sprawl” is the unrestricted growth of housing , commercial development and roads over large expenses of land , with little concern for urban planning.

Almost half of the population of Buckinghamshire live in one of six major towns, some of which are already surrounded by the London Metropolitan Green Belt and hence are afforded some degree of protection against urban sprawl. However the two largest towns , Aylesbury and Milton Keynes ,ae not constrained in this way and have seen considerable growth in recent years , to the extent that some small villages have effectively been swallowed up.

To minimise the loss of countryside , we believe we should maximise the use of brownfield land within current town boundaries. CPRE has demonstrated , through its research, that there is plenty of scope for growth in that way. We believe we need to get creative over the use of brownfield land to achieve a better balance between between residential , office and factory space.

Concentrating development within existing town boundaries also has the considerable advantage advantage of reducing transport needs and revitalising our town centres which have become very depressed as the retail industry has increasingly moved from the high street to online.

Development in villages needs to be sensitive

the other half of the population of Buckinghamshire live in over 200 much smaller towns, villages and hamlets, many with populations of less than 1,000 people. To be sustainable , they need to be revitalised and well connected. Public transport is key to their survival. While we accept some new homes are necessary , they should be affordable, for local people and sympathetically designed to fit in with the local environment.

Do you agree we should:

  • Maximise the re-use of brownfield land?
  • Rejuvenate town centres by building new homes within existing town boundaries
  • Invest in better transport links to connect villages