The development company headed by former Greenpeace directors Jonathan Smales and Michael Manolson submitted an outline planning application to Wycombe District Council this week for up to 1,000 homes in the Gomm Valley.

The environmentalists claim the proposals drawn up for the site have the potential to deliver “the greenest and most elegant new place in England”.

Mr Smales told the Bucks Free Press on Wednesday the development is likely to cost around £300 million if it is built as set out in the submission.

Last year he estimated the scheme would take between eight and ten years to complete. He said: “This is no ordinary development project.”

Geographically the valley stretches from the Peregrine Business Park at the top of Gomm Road off the A40 London Road to the fields and paddocks at Ashwells on the northernmost tip.

The Gomm Valley is the last undeveloped chalk valley in Wycombe. It includes areas of Special Scientific Interest.

Until 2014 it was classed in planning terms as a reserved greenfield site, only to be drawn on when all other options had been exhausted.

That came about when five sites on the council’s reserved list had to be released to enable the district to build sufficient homes to match the government’s ever mounting target to address the housing need in the UK.

Smales and Monolson’s company called Human + Nature have named the proposed development Little Haldens, an ancient term for “secluded valley.”

The outline application follows a lengthy consultation process.

It culminated in an exhibition at Tylers Green Middle School last November when the public were invited to meet the multi-disciplinary professional team involved in the project and comment on the plans drawn up following a 12 month design exercise based on the local development brief for the site.

The submission accompanying the outline application states: “We were urged to create a place that is sufficiently bespoke and distinctive, elegant and accessible, adaptable and resilient to be cherished and stand the test of time.

“It should deliver net environmental gain; and it should enable the growth of a community that is committed to supporting all its members in living well and sustainably, integrating with neighbouring communities the better to take advantage of and complement the many excellent community groups and initiatives already in place.

“This plan provides for up to 1,000 new and high-quality dwellings in the Gomm Valley on a relatively modest building footprint, with 20 hectares of newly regenerated, species-rich chalk grassland, more than 4,000 new trees and about 1 kilometre of additional hedgerows.

“In many ways the work in the Gomm Valley is of national significance.”

Elaborating on the company’s commitment to build a development that will change lifestyles in a way that will benefit the environment as well as those who live there, the directors said: “A wide range and choice in housing is proposed: a place to start out in life and a place to stay.

“Every effort has been made to design for a strong identity across the plan to establish a distinctive but refined sense of place, with buildings set into the landscape - contemporary yet respectful of the best of the local vernacular designs and materials - and enveloped by an abundant and productive greenery of trees, green roofs and corridors, gardens and community allotments.

“The streets have been designed for gentle and safe yet efficient movement and to not jar with the sensitivity of the overall plan in its valley setting.

“The principal connection – Ashwells Lane – curves sinuously along the slopes of the western side of the valley. This Lane is designed at a 1:20 gradient which, despite the very hilly situation, offers the option of walking and cycling.

“The provision of local cafes, shops, a school and nursery, and community services and facilities in Little Haldens will give new residents and those from homes in adjacent communities a way of meeting everyday needs in a beautiful and neighbourly public square without having to travel long distances or jump in the car.

“Little Haldens looks to the future as a low carbon community with efficient and adaptable homes, clean energy supply, e-bikes and an e-car club, facilities for local composting and energy generation from green waste, a local food programme and community governance that helps bake in the shift towards an active community where people live well but with a low environmental impact.”