Planning application submitted for South Bucks Country Park

Following intensive public consultation and careful design work, a planning application has been submitted by South Bucks District Council to transform the former golf academy site in Stoke Poges into a country park.

The vision is for the 22 hectares site to become a country park open to the public all year, providing a wide range of outdoor recreational facilities.

It's part of the Council's Community and Wellbeing Plan which aims to encourage residents to exercise and participate in a wide range of outdoor activities in a safe, local venue.

Extensive public consultation involving open afternoons, online questionnaires and meetings with local sports groups and societies revealed strong support for the proposals.

The consultation also highlighted the shortage of current opportunities in the area for openly available healthy pursuits.

The planning application seeks to reflect the feedback received from the public during the consultation.

South Bucks District Council Leader, Cllr Nick Naylor, said: "We are really excited about the possibility of this area becoming a country park and heartened to see that local residents support the idea. The consultation revealed a clear demand for enhancing sport and exercise opportunities in the area, as well as a considerable interest in protecting the environment, wildlife habitats and biodiversity. All this has been incorporated by the scheme designers into the site plans for the new country park and I am delighted to say that we have now submitted the formal planning application.

"We are one step closer to achieving our vision of a place where everyone can come to relax, exercise and enjoy the great outdoors."

As well as some exciting new sports facilities which do not currently exist in the local area, such as an enclosed national standard cycling track for public and club use, formal mountain bike track and pump track, the proposals include a sensory garden, protected biodiversity and walking/jogging/trim trails with external gym equipment available to all users.  Schools societies and clubs will be able to use an open air amphitheatre for lessons or productions.

The plans also include a new Community Hub built within the car park to provide visitors with a café, cycle shop and toilets along with meeting room and management offices, with a children's play area in close proximity to the café.

The jogging/walking/trim trail is designed to pass through an ever-changing vista of trees and flora containing seasonal trees, so regular visitors will see a variety of trees throughout the year.

The proposed layout has been designed to maintain extensive areas of the site to protect the existing wildlife and biodiversity and build on this by providing enhanced areas of the site to improve local habitats.

If the planning application is approved it is envisaged work on the development will start later this year and the facilities will be open to the public in 2020.