Aylesbury Vale Area

Object

VALP Main Modifications

Representation ID: 3073

Received: 17/12/2019

Respondent: Clifton Kirstie (Bovis Homes Limited)

Agent: Define Planning & Design

Legally compliant? Yes

Sound? No

Representation Summary:

The modified Local Plan identifies six major sites allocated for development (D-AGT1 to D-AGT6), with 10,732 dwellings to be delivered between 2018 and 2033 (taking into consideration Main Modifications MM035 to MM061). This represents a considerable concentration of development at Aylesbury Garden Town over the next fourteen years. This reliance on large developments in a single settlement fails to reflect that larger sites frequently stall during the course of their development. As such, local planning authorities should strive for "the development of a good mix of sites" that would include development at sites such as Land at Creslow Lane, Stone.

Change suggested by respondent:

None specific to MM031 - changes proposed in relation to other specific modifications to address failure to allocate sufficient sites to meet housing needs over the plan period.

Full text:

Despite this amended trajectory, the District's housing supply retains a considerable reliance on the timely delivery of these larger sites, with "Aylesbury Garden Town the focus for the majority of the district's growth." As outlined within MM031, "Aylesbury will deliver at least 16,586 new homes" and, whilst a number of these have been delivered or are already committed, a new supply requirement of 3,539 homes is attributed to Aylesbury within the Plan. It is unclear how this value, as amended from 7,810 homes to 3,539 homes by MM031, is derived. Rather, Bovis Homes contend that 6,942 houses will need to be delivered through a new supply of uncommitted sites (i.e. sites without planning permission and as yet unallocated) within Aylesbury.

Notwithstanding this, the modified Local Plan outlines that six major sites are allocated for development within the VALP (D-AGT1 to D-AGT6), with 10,732 dwellings to be delivered at the six developments between 2018 and 2033 (taking into consideration Main Modifications MM035 to MM061). This represents a considerable concentration of development at Aylesbury Garden Town over the next fourteen years.

This reliance on large developments in a single settlement fails to reflect that larger sites frequently stall during the course of their development. The Letwin Review of Build Out (Final Report, October 2018) succinctly captures the reasons for the reduction of build out rates on larger sites such as those proposed within allocations D-AGT1 to D-AGT6). Letwin outlines that inefficient delivery of transport and utilities infrastructure is often responsible for delays before the build-out period could begin. This could represent a significant constraint within the delivery of the numerous large sites on the peripheries of Aylesbury Garden Town, given that considerable infrastructure provision is required to support the delivery of housing in these locations. For example,, South Aylesbury (AGT1) is reliant on the provision of the Aylesbury South East Link Road, South West Aylesbury (AGT2) is reliant on the South West Link Road and numerous junction improvements, Aylesbury North of A41 (AGT3) requires provision of a Strategic Link Road connecting with the ELR (N) and A41 Aston Clinton Road, and Aylesbury South of A41 is dependent on the Eastern Link Road.

Once the initial pre-commencement / infrastructural issues have been overcome, Letwin also discusses the impact of the absorption rate on build out rate. The report concludes that "the homogeneity of the types and tenures of the homes on offer on these sites, and the limits on the rate at which the market will absorb such homogenous products, are the fundamental drivers of the slow rate of build out" (paragraph 1.7). This is particularly prevalent given the sheer concentration of new housing to the settlement of Aylesbury. Evidently, a considerable number of dwellings will be expected to be delivered in the Garden Town at the same time and, in reflection of the findings of the Letwin Report, the release of these units onto the open market could effectively flood the market. Given that absorption of properties onto the market can stall individual sites, this may be a considerable issue within a settlement where six allocations, made up of a number of sites, are delivering 10,732 dwellings within the plan period.

That is not to say, however, that the VALP should reduce its reliance on large sites within the VALP. Rather, the Letwin Report concludes; "we will continue to need more new housing both on the smaller sites and on large sites" (paragraph 1.8 (b)). The importance of small and medium sized sites in maintaining a regular supply of deliverable housing is outlined within the NPPF, with paragraph 68 stating that "small and medium sized sites can make an important contribution to meeting the housing requirement of an area, and are often built-out relatively quickly." As such, local planning authorities should strive for "the development of a good mix of sites" that would include development at sites such as Land at Creslow Lane, Stone. This site could deliver up to 65 dwellings, providing flexibility within Aylesbury Vale's housing supply to meet what is a considerable housing requirement.

Furthermore, provision of housing through small to medium sites that would deliver quickly would go some way to meeting the previous shortfall within the District. Main Modification MM024 highlights that the best part of 7 years of the plan period will have passed by the time that the plan is adopted. Based on the uplifted housing requirements as outlined in MM003, 10,010 total completions will be required to account for this period. MM027 outlines that there have been just 3,790 completions between 2013 and the current date, with MM024 stating that "the delivery in these years, whilst significantly higher than delivery rates previously, has cumulatively fallen short of this target."