A shabby row of Victorian-style homes on a busy High Wycombe road will be replaced with 28 new flats for people with learning disabilities – and this is how the new development will look.
Two four-storey blocks – each with 14 flats in – will be built where numbers 42, 44 and 46 West Wycombe Road stood.
Plans to demolish number 46 and replace it with a block of 14 flats were already given the green light by Wycombe District Council, but the final part of the proposal – another 14 flats – was finally allowed to go ahead on March 27.
The 28 new apartments will be specifically for people with learning disabilities or Autistic Spectrum Disorder, with a dedicated manager, activities, and two members of staff on site at all times.
The flats will have limited parking, but they are close to the town centre and there are a number of public car parks nearby.
Identical plans for the flats were refused by Wycombe District Council in 2017 – and an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate was dismissed over concerns about the lack of affordable housing and the effect it would have on the “character and appearance” of the area.
However, site owners The Coin Group say all the concerns have now been addressed – but added that the development would not be viable if they had to include affordable housing.
The plans have been somewhat controversial, with residents in Wyatt Close – which is directly behind the site and across the railway line – raising concerns.
Objecting to the plans, Jenny Greer said the development is too close to the busy crossroads with The Pastures and Desborough Avenue.
She said: “I am concerned that putting a larger residential development here will cause traffic to build up on a critical route into High Wycombe.”
She added: “I feel the height of the building will obstruct the view from my flat and give all residents of the new build direct visibility over both my flat and our shared gardens.”
Another Wyatt Close resident Vicky Lyle added: “I do not feel that the site is suitable if intended for vulnerable residents with potential health issues due to no adequate communal area and health and safety concerns with vulnerable persons being so close to a busy main road.”
Another High Wycombe resident, Robert Hutton, said the plans were an attempt to “erase three pleasant Victorian buildings” even though they are in “poor cosmetic condition”.
White Leaf Support said although parking is limited on the site, those living there “would not be car drivers” because many would struggle to get a driver’s license, adding that many would use taxis and communal transport.
The latest plans were given the go ahead – but the developer must extend the double yellow lines along West Wycombe Road as a result.