VALP Proposed Submission
Sustainable transport vision
7.1 Creating development that is accessible by different modes of transport, especially walking and cycling and the use of public transport is essential to promoting sustainable development as it reduces car dependency. An important policy tool to achieve this is a people-orientated transport hierarchy i.e. prioritising walking and providing access for people with mobility impairment, cycling, public transport, cars (for occupiers on site and visitors), powered two-wheelers, and commercial vehicles. A modal hierarchy will be used to ensure that, if not all modes can be satisfactorily accommodated, those towards the top of the hierarchy are considered first and given greater priority. Sustainable transport management will be based on promoting modes which minimise environmental impact and promote social inclusion. It is important that developments are well located in relation to existing walking, cycling and public transport networks, and where appropriate provide enhanced facilities, as this will ensure that there is the maximum potential to use these modes as attractive alternatives to cars.
7.2 The spatial vision for Aylesbury Vale identified at the beginning of the Local Plan includes making provision for transportation improvements for both new and existing communities across the entire district. This will include sustainable links across Aylesbury Garden Town itself and sustainable connections between Aylesbury and the other settlements included in the settlement hierarchy as well as the wider Thames Valley, Oxford-Cambridge arc regions. The creation of an improved highway network will allow for more pedestrian and cycle friendly town centres in Aylesbury and Buckingham which will provide for increased modal choice to further transportation choices such as rail and bus. At a local level new development will contribute towards and help deliver localised sustainable transportation improvements to villages for pedestrian, cycle and public transportation uses.
7.3 The transport vision will be underpinned by transportation mitigation identified and assessed through traffic modelling across the district and in Aylesbury and Buckingham. The main aim of these studies is to assess the status quo (development that has been implemented or has been consented) against future demands (the development strategy) to see what the impacts are with and without a set of highway and public transport mitigation measures. A brief description of these traffic models and their purposes are identified below.
Buckinghamshire County-wide Traffic Model Phase 3
.7.4 Jacobs were commissioned to assess the transport impact of the Local Plan proposals for the districts within Buckinghamshire, comprising Aylesbury Vale, Chiltern, South Bucks and Wycombe. Following two phases of modelling, including previous draft development strategies which identified a new settlement at either Winslow or Haddenham, a third phase of modelling focused on producing the revised Local Plan development scenario. In addition a set of mitigation schemes were tested in order to try and mitigate any impacts arising from the Local Plan development in terms of increased congestion and travel time. The model also considered traffic flows on strategic routes outside of the county. The Phase 3 version of the county-wide model can be found on the Council's website
Aylesbury Transport Strategy
.7.5 In early 2016 Buckinghamshire County Council (BCC) commissioned AECOM to develop a transport strategy for Aylesbury in order to support and accommodate future planned growth and the upcoming release of the Plan. This is known as the Aylesbury Transport Strategy (ATS), which will be a plan for transport in Aylesbury, setting out the improvements needed to support the planned growth of the town between 2016 - 2033. The VALP identifies Aylesbury as playing a substantial and critical role in delivering growth for the district and the rest of Buckinghamshire. The town has been awarded Government backing as a Garden Town and will be a focus for developing the ATS and prioritising investment in multi-modal transport infrastructure. The strategy is also intended to address current issues on the transport network and therefore represents the opportunity for a single coordinated approach to planning improvements and upgrades to the transport network and will form a key transport policy document for both BCC and AVDC. The focus of the strategy is Aylesbury town centre and its immediate urban area, however the growth and travel patterns were considered in a much wider context, including most of the Aylesbury Vale area. A list of mitigation schemes can be found in the Aylesbury Transport Strategy which is on the Council's website
Aylesbury Garden Town
7.6 The ATS will be used to justify the interventions required to facilitate growth in the Aylesbury Garden Town. The growth will be planned in a way which minimises the need to travel by private car, with more and more people choosing to walk, cycle or use public transport. Traffic growth will be managed to control congestion and provide opportunities to significantly maximise infrastructure improvements including:
- increased public transport, building on the success of the Aylesbury Rainbow bus routes
- increased walking and cycling facilities, building on the success of the Aylesbury Gemstone cycleways
- improving road infrastructure linking new developments to the town, which will create a series of link roads around the town
- enhancements to the regional rail infrastructure linking us to neighbouring growth areas
Buckingham Transport Strategy
7.7 AECOM has been commissioned by Buckinghamshire County Council (BCC) to develop a transport strategy for Buckingham that supports future planned growth in the town up to 2033. The focus of this strategy is the town of Buckingham, but also recognises that the town will be affected in coming years by proposed growth in a wider area around the town.
7.8 The growth aspirations in the Plan are likely to have an impact on transport requirements in Buckingham; any may therefore necessitate a number of improvements in/around the town. The aim of the Buckingham Transport Strategy (BTS) is to consider these growth aspirations holistically and propose measures that address their impacts as a whole, rather than the impact of each individual development.
7.9 In addition to accommodating these future growth aspirations, the BTS should also address existing known transport issues in the town.
.7.10 The BTS is expected to provide a guiding transport policy for Buckingham, to prioritise transport schemes for the area, and to promote a coordinated approach towards transport investment. A list of mitigation schemes can be found in the Buckingham Transport Strategy which is on the Council's website
T1 Delivering the sustainable transport vision
Development proposals should be consistent with and contribute to the implementation of the transport policies and objectives set out in the Buckinghamshire Local Transport Plan 4 (LTP). The Council, Buckinghamshire County Council and, where appropriate, Highways England, will work together to achieve the objectives and implement the proposals in the LTP, with particular emphasis on encouraging modal shift with greater use of more sustainable forms of transport and improving the safety of all road users.
The Council will aim to ensure that development proposals will deliver the improvements identified in the transport studies that underpin the Local Transport Plan to ensure new housing and employment development identified in the Local Plan period does not create a significant negative impact on the highway and public transportation network.
The Council will assist in delivering the pedestrian, cycle, public transportation and public realm improvements identified in Aylesbury town centre through the Aylesbury Garden Town initiative and Aylesbury Transport Strategy as well as the proposed improvements to the transportation network in Buckingham through the Buckingham Transport Strategy to help create sustainable, healthy and thriving communities.
Supporting and protecting transport schemes
7.11 The Plan will ensure that land needed to facilitate protected transport schemes, including both local and national projects, is protected from development that would prejudice their implementation.
7.12 Planning applications will be assessed as to whether the implementation of a protected transport scheme would be prejudiced by a development proposal, the nature of the proposal, the programming of the transport scheme, and the extent to which implementation of the scheme would be compromised by the carrying out of the proposed development.
7.13 There are three national infrastructure projects which directly impact on the district. These comprise a new high speed rail route, High Speed 2 (HS2), an upgrade to the existing partially disused rail corridor running through the heart of the district - East West Rail (EWR), and the Oxford Cambridge expressway as part of the Government's proposal for an Oxford to Cambridge expressway. The route has not been confirmed yet, however it is intended to improve east-west connectivity through Buckinghamshire.
High Speed 2 (HS2)
7.14 In December 2010 the Government announced a preferred route option for the proposed high speed rail link between London and Birmingham, known as High Speed 2 (HS2). The preferred route runs through the western part of the district, entering at Wendover in the south past the western edge of Aylesbury, and proposes a major infrastructure maintenance depot located at Calvert/Steeple Claydon, then continues northwards to exit the district at Turweston. The Council and many other groups petitioned the Government to achieve the best possible mitigation of the significant impacts that HS2 will have on the environment and local communities in the district. Work on cycle route design and how it interacts with the HS2 will be completed to maximise benefits and connectivity between communities and the countryside.
7.15 The Secretary of State has issued a safeguarding directive for the route and this will be shown on the final proposals map. The safeguarding directive requires the notification to HS2 of any planning application which affects the safeguarded line. The High Speed Rail (London - West Midlands) Act 2017 received Royal Assent in February 2017 and preparatory work for delivery of the line has commenced.
East West Rail
7.16 The East West Rail (EWR) project aims to provide a new east-west orbital route between the east of England and south-central England using primarily existing infrastructure. The EWR project will provide connectivity to Reading, Didcot, Oxford, Bicester, Aylesbury, Milton Keynes, Bedford, Cambridge, Norwich and Ipswich and supports sustainable growth across the corridor. The Council is one of a consortium of local authorities in England's economic heartland working with Network Rail and the Department for Transport, influencing and supporting the early implementation of this key infrastructure project.
7.17 The East West Rail western section (Phase 2) involves the upgrade and reconstruction of sections of line linking Bedford to Bicester and Milton Keynes, via Winslow, and Calvert Junction to Princes Risborough via Aylesbury. This will allow passenger and freight services to run between Bedford and Bicester and between Milton Keynes and London via Aylesbury. This second phase of East West Rail will extend the Chiltern Line northwards, beyond Aylesbury, to link up with East West Rail, with a new station in Winslow.
7.18 East West Rail Phase 1 Bicester to Oxford is in operation and preparation for Phase 2, Bicester - Aylesbury - Milton Keynes is well advanced. Train services could start operating in the early 2020s, subject to securing the necessary approvals (planning permission for the new station at Winslow was granted in June 2017).
Oxford to Cambridge Expressway
7.19 The Road Investment Strategy 2015 (Department for Transport) announced a new strategic study that will investigate the case for linking existing roads, which would create a high-quality link between Oxford and Cambridge. This will enable future growth in Aylesbury Vale to benefit from direct connections to the strategic road network. The Oxford to Cambridge Expressway Strategic Study: stage 3 report published in November 2016 identified three options to complete the 'missing link' between the M1 and the M40:
- a northern option, roughly following the existing A421 to the south of Bicester and via Buckingham to the east of Milton Keynes
- a central option, following the east-west rail corridor; and
- a southern option via Aylesbury, linking to the M1 south
of Milton Keynes.
7.20 Subject to information forthcoming, any line for the Oxford to Cambridge Expressway may need to be included as a safeguarded line in the VALP as it progresses through to adoption. Implications of the route for growth in Aylesbury Vale will be taken into account in an early review of the Plan.
T2 Protected Transport Schemes
Planning permission will not be granted for development that would prejudice the implementation of existing or protected transport schemes including the implementation of the East West Rail project including new stations and twin tracking to the south of Aylesbury.
The Council will continue to work with High Speed 2 Ltd with the aim of influencing the design and construction of the route through Aylesbury Vale to minimise adverse impacts and maximise any benefits that arise from the proposal. Subject to being within the provisions of the Act, the implementation of HS2 will also be expected to:
- deliver high-quality design to protect local communities and the environment
- prevent or reduce prejudicial effects on road safety or on the free flow of traffic and to preserve sites of archaeological or historic interest or nature conservation value
- ensure that community and other benefits are fully realised.
T3 Supporting transport schemes
The Council will actively support key transport proposals including those identified in both the Aylesbury Transport Strategy and Buckingham Transport Strategy.
The route for the Oxford to Cambridge Expressway has yet to be agreed. The scheme is supported by the Council and once the agreed route is confirmed and further information is made available the scheme route will be protected in any review to the VALP.
Delivering transport in new development
7.21 New development will be required to evidence that there is sufficient capacity in the transport network to accommodate the increase in demand to travel as a result of the development. Where a new development is likely to have significant transport implications (see relevant DfT guidance for thresholds), a transport assessment and travel plan will be required and submitted in support of the planning application for the development.
7.22 The sustainability of new development is based on the ability of proposals to be accessible by a choice of means of transport to existing services such as: employment provision, education, retail, healthcare, and leisure facilities. Accessibility issues are particularly important for those without access to a car. At the local level this should include encouraging walking for trips under two miles, and encouraging cycling for trips within a five-mile radius. To achieve this, car dominance should be reduced, as supported by both the Manual for Streets and the Local Transport Plan 4 while not impeding access for emergency vehicles and public transport. Opportunities to reduce traffic speeds and introduce level surface street designs for example may help to encourage more walking and cycling and create safer streets.
7.23 National guidelines stipulate that upon completion developments should be within a 400m threshold of a bus stop or 800m of a railway station with at least a half-hourly peak hour service provision in order to ensure public transport use is a realistic alternative to the car.
7.24 The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) requires planning decisions to take account of whether safe and suitable access to a development site can be achieved for all people. Developments should be located and designed, to create safe and secure layouts which minimise conflict between general traffic and; emergency service vehicles, public transport, cyclists and pedestrians. Suitable and safe highway measures must be provided to mitigate the impact of development and enhance the use of the local road network for all users.
T4 Delivering transport in new development
Transport and new development will only be permitted if the necessary mitigation is provided against any unacceptable transport impacts which arise directly from that development. This will be achieved, as appropriate, through:
- The submission of a transport statement or assessment and the implementation of measures arising from it
- Ensuring that the scale of traffic generated by the proposal is appropriate for the function and standard of the roads serving the area
- The implementation of necessary works to the highway
- Contributions towards local public transport services and support for community transport initiatives
- The provision of new, and the improvement of existing, pedestrian and cycle routes
- The provision of a travel plan to promote sustainable travel patterns for work and education related trips.
7.25 Car parking and its location has an impact upon the quality of the environment – how it looks, how it functions – and on safety. The availability and convenience of parking at the destination can have a real effect on the choices people make regarding travel. Policies within the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) seek to manage the demand for car travel and encourage the use of more sustainable forms of travel, particularly public transport, walking and cycling, but whilst much of Aylesbury is well served by public transport and is easily accessible by walking or cycling, the same does not apply across the remainder of the district.
7.26 Car parking remains a significant issue for residents and house buyers; many feel that designs for new developments should accommodate anticipated levels of parking. Attempts to curb car ownership solely through restricting parking are considered unrealistic, and had little impact on the number of cars a household would require and acquire. Experience from recent residential developments and those presently being constructed has been that rather than encouraging a shift away from car ownership, restrictive parking standards have simply intensified the demand for any available on-street parking. Restrictions on parking will therefore focus on ensuring that destination parking is not provided beyond the respective standard.
7.27 Therefore, vehicle parking must be designed into new development schemes to include accommodation for on-plot parking and on-street parking; rear parking courts are discouraged as experience of new residential developments within the district shows that these are not used due to location and/or a lack of security, leading to anti-social parking the street. Parking courts to the front of dwellings are considered acceptable as they allow for the parking area to be overlooked.
7.28 Research has also shown that most residents use garages for domestic storage rather than for vehicle storage, which subsequently reduces the available off-street parking for individual dwellings. It is therefore proposed that these structures, unless of a minimum internal size as included within the design SPD, will no longer be allocated as parking spaces within new developments.
7.29 Vehicle parking standards including cycle and motorcycle parking, based on Trip Rate Information Computer System data (TRICS), together with standards for non residential uses proposed within the district, are included within the design SPD.
T5 Vehicle Parking
Development must provide an appropriate level of parking, taking into account:
- The accessibility of the site, including the availability of public transport, and
- The type, mix and use of development
Garages/integral garages/car ports will not be included within the allocation of parking spaces unless they meet a minimum internal size as set out in the design SPD.
Design must enable and encourage the maximum use of sustainable modes of transport, including provision for cyclists and low-emission vehicles. Within Aylesbury, Buckingham, Haddenham, Wendover, and Winslow infrastructure for electric vehicles should be built into new major development schemes where local centres are proposed.
Vehicle parking standards will be set out in the design SPD.
Footpaths and cycle routes
7.30 Footpaths and cycle routes provide an opportunity to minimise and reduce the need to travel by car, maximise sustainable transport use, and decrease air pollution. These activities can also help to increase the health and quality of life of users. The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) states that planning policies should aim to achieve places which promote accessible environments containing clear and legible pedestrian routes. It also states that developments should be designed to give priority to pedestrian and cycle movements.
7.31 The VALP encourages sustainable modes of travel including provision for public transport, cycle routes, footpaths and bridleways. It also aims to maintain and develop a network of recreational routes that will allow easy access to cycle, bridleway and footpath routes. These are important tourism and recreation facilities, both in their own right and as a means of linking other attractions and local communities.
T6 Footpaths and cycle routes
For development which will have implications for the footpath and cycle route networks all the following criteria will apply:
- The delivery of a strategic cycle network and improvements to the footpaths will be supported in accordance with any county-wide or local cycle strategies
- The Council will protect existing cycle routes from adverse effects of new development. In dealing with planning applications the Council will seek new or improved cycle access and facilities, including cycle storage, and will use planning conditions or legal agreements to secure such arrangement.
- The Council will safeguard existing pedestrian routes from adverse effects of new development. Development proposals must provide for direct, convenient and safe pedestrian movement and routes, connected where appropriate to the existing pedestrian network and alongside strategic routes. In deciding planning applications the Council will use planning conditions or legal agreements to secure the provision of new footpaths and the improvement of existing routes.
- The Council will ensure that networks of pedestrian and cycle routes are provided to give easy access into and through new developments and to adjacent areas, and also to public transport services.
Electric vehicle infrastructure
7.32 Electric vehicles offer a way of reducing the pollution impacts associated with traffic. Air quality in areas of high traffic movements, such as town centres, will particularly be improved as the use of electric vehicle increases and technology becomes increasingly efficient in terms of cost and charging duration.
7.33 The NPPF encourages the inclusion of facilities for charging plug-in vehicles (paragraph 35) which was rare when it was written in 2012. Figures published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show that sales of electric cars have expanded dramatically since then. While only around 500 electric cars were registered per month during the first half of 2014, this has risen to an average of more than 3,200 per month. With this growth predicted to continue there is now a market justification for including charging facilities in new developments. The recent Government announcement that diesel and petrol cars will be phased out by 2040 will further increase the pressure for such facilities in the longer term.
7.34 It is important to ensure that new electric vehicle charging facilities are accessible in new developments, but it is recognised that current electric car sales are only 1.7% of new car sales.. It is nevertheless important that electric vehicle charging infrastructure supports this growing mode of transport, encouraging continued growth and supporting existing and future users of electric vehicles. Electric vehicles are a broadly sustainable mode of travel that is increasing market penetration and the requirement for new development can be increased whenever the design SPD is reviewed (which will include parking standards).
7.35 It is anticipated that within the life of the Local Plan other technologies will emerge for the fuelling of vehicles. These might include hydrogen, fuel cells, compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquified natural gas (LNG) as well as hydrogenated vegetable oil (HVO). Such developments will need to be addressed within a review of the Plan.
T7 Electric vehicle infrastructure
To maximise the use of sustainable modes of transport:
- New developments of 10 dwellings / totalling 760 sqm floorspace or more will be required to provide electric charging points, at the rate set out in the design SPD
- Fast charge electric vehicle charging points must be provided at long stay locations such as employment sites and railway station/long stay car parks. Rapid charge points should, where practicable, be sited at short stay locations such as service stations, large retail and leisure developments, particularly where these are located on the strategic road network. Charging points should be provided at a minimum rate of one charging point for every 25 parking spaces, except at petrol stations where one space should be provided at each petrol station
- Electric Vehicle (EV) charging points should, wherever possible, be coupled with renewable energy installations such as solar panels or urban wind to enhance the sustainability of the provision.