Aylesbury Vale Area

MM031

Showing comments and forms 1 to 14 of 14

Object

VALP Main Modifications

Representation ID: 2863

Received: 05/12/2019

Respondent: Penny Miles

Legally compliant? Not specified

Sound? Not specified

Representation Summary:

The plan proposes many amny new houses but does not address the chronic road problems already being faced in and around Aylesbury. Clearly more house will mean more cars on the roads.
In addition parts of the proposals are dependant on the building of HS2. This project has no actually been given the offical go ahead as yet so how can you plan be dependant on something that is not definitely happening? (officer summary)

Full text:

Good morning,
I am writing to express 2 major concerns in relation to the proposed modifications of the VALP.
The plan proposes many amny new houses but does not address the chronic road problems already being faced in and around Aylesbury. Clearly more house will mean more cars on the roads - the roads are already over capacity with gridlock a regular occurence when roadworks, a breakdown or an accident occur.It is vital that the road issues are addressed beofre adding to them.
In addition parts of the proposals are dependant on the building of HS2. This project has no actually been given the offical go ahead as yet so how can you plan be dependant on something that is not definitely happening?
I hope my comments will be taken into account.

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."

Object

VALP Main Modifications

Representation ID: 3205

Received: 13/12/2019

Respondent: Mrs Stephanie Schneider

Legally compliant? No

Sound? No

Representation Summary:

The number or houses in the VALP has increased to at least 16,586, resulting in increases for the larger developments. By now having a minimum figure, there will be pressure from developers to build in excess of these figures, resulting in even more loss of countryside, increased transport problems and increased pressure on services.

With regard to sustainable transport (point "f"), the bus network in and around Aylesbury is very unreliable currently. How can B.C.C. ensure that commercial companies can improve, let alone extend, the bus services?

There has been no updated transport assessment based on the increased housing numbers.

Change suggested by respondent:

Reduce the housing numbers to the original figures as the maximum required.

An updated transport assessment needs to be conducted so that the VALP really does "meet objectively assessed development and infrastructure requirements".

Full text:

The number or houses in the VALP has increased to at least 16,586, resulting in increases for the larger developments. By now having a minimum figure, there will be pressure from developers to build in excess of these figures, resulting in even more loss of countryside, increased transport problems and increased pressure on services.

With regard to sustainable transport (point "f"), the bus network in and around Aylesbury is very unreliable currently. How can B.C.C. ensure that commercial companies can improve, let alone extend, the bus services?

There has been no updated transport assessment based on the increased housing numbers.

Object

VALP Main Modifications

Representation ID: 3211

Received: 17/12/2019

Respondent: James Brokenbrow

Legally compliant? Not specified

Sound? Not specified

Representation Summary:

The original Local Plan miserably failed to provide a credible solution to the increase in road traffic that the massive housing increase will create. I see that the modifications to the plan now increases the planned number of houses to be built with no improvement whatsoever to the transport infrastructure plan.

Full text:

From my daily conversations on the subject with friends and neighbours, I believe the residents of Aylesbury Town are frustrated almost to the point of revolution by the current appalling daily traffic congestion and regular gridlock throughout the town.

The original Local Plan miserably failed to provide a credible solution to the increase in road traffic that the massive housing increase will create. I see that the modifications to the plan now increases the planned number of houses to be built with no improvement whatsoever to the transport infrastructure plan.

D-AGT1 now promises at least 1000 houses, not around 1000.
D-AGT2 increases to at least 1590.
D-AGT3 increases to at least 1757.
D-AGT4 increases to at least 3358.

This is a 5.5% increase in numbers and caveated by "at least". Perhaps the numbers may be doubled and still meet the criterion of "at least" and undoubtedly there would still be no improvement to the traffic management proposals.

I fell that you must live and sleep in your building because if you move around the town almost at any time of the day, but particularly early morning and at school closing time the traffic is stuck. Traffic queueing on the A41 bypass from the Arla junction, all the way into and through the town. Traffic queueing on Oakfield Road waiting to get to the traffic lights at the Horse and Jockey to go up the Buckingham road. Traffic queuing at 7.00 from the Bucks Yeoman to exit from Bedgrove onto the Wendover road. 30 minutes to travel from Parton Road to Stoke Mandeville station at 7.10 in the morning. It is currently hopeless and your housing proposals will make it even worse were such a thing be possible.

The words in the modifications to the plan are frankly laughable. To say you plan effectively for the traffic is fantasy. Where is the proof based on the latest developments? It is a disaster.

"We seek to meet objectively assessed development and Infrastructure requirements" is loud sounding nothing. Where is the track record? Why should anyone believe such cant when all the latest developments have led to traffic gridlock at certain times of the day.

My recommendation is that you implement a properly thought out integrated traffic strategy that not only cures all the current issues, but provides capacity for significant growth. Then build the houses. Please have the intelligence to put the horse before the cart for all our sakes.

Object

VALP Main Modifications

Representation ID: 3214

Received: 13/12/2019

Respondent: Mr Ian Reading

Legally compliant? Not specified

Sound? Not specified

Representation Summary:

The modified plan suggests that housing numbers for several large developments have increased .
The phrase " at least" suggests to me that this is the minimum number proposed.
means a minimum of 8,705 properties.
With commitments the East/South/South East of Aylesbury is looking at a minimum of 13,000 new homes.
The road infrastructure required to cope with all the extra traffic has not been adequately assessed and the proposed new road network is badly thought through,
The road network in the Aylesbury area is already congested and is frequently at tipping point.
No evidence of any updated transport assessment (officer summary)

Full text:

Still it seems that AVDC have not grasped the nettle with the proposed
Modifications to the VALP.

For instance, why have they not taken into account the Oxford - Cambridge
Expressway.
The major road infrastructure project has not been fully taken into their plans
at this stage having been deleted from their Spatial Vision (para 2.4d) and from
the list of major infrastructure projects that require co-operation (para3.39),
They state that (para3.81) they may only potentially consider this at some time
in the future.
They have deleted their declared support for this project (modified policy T3
at para7.21)
In my view this project if it were to become reality would alleviate the necessity
to develop Aylesbury and surrounding districts to the extent that we now see in the new Modified Plans.
I cannot see that AVDC and BCC's strategic thinking and planning has any
merit at all, it is muddled, particularly when considered against the reasonable
alternatives.
HOUSING NUMBERS
The modified plan suggests that housing numbers for several large developments have increased .
D-AGT4 Hampden Fields, which affects me more directly, suggests that the numbers have increased from 3,111 to 3,358.
The phrase " at least" suggests to me that this is the minimum number proposed.
This when considered along with D-AGT1, D-AGT2, D-AGT3 and D-HAL003
means a minimum of 8,705 properties.
When you take that figure and add it on to the Kingsbrook Estate (2,350) and the new Aston Reach development (1,400) and alll the other smaller developments that have/are taking place then the East/South/South East of Aylesbury is looking at a minimum of 13,000 new homes.
The road infrastructure required to cope with all the extra traffic has not been adequately assessed and the proposed new road network is badly thought through,
The road network in the Aylesbury area is already congested and is frequently at tipping point.
The Plan however shows no evidence of any updated transport assessment based on these new figures.
Just one incident in the town or surrounding area is enough to bring gridlock to the road network which has happened in the past.
HS2
The area D-AGT2 is stated as being dependant on the delivery of HS2 (para4,41)
As yet no decision to this project has been taken. The Plan therefore cannot be approved until that final decision.
Should approval for HS2 to go ahead not be given after the "Oakervee" review,
then how is this going to impact on the area D-AGT2. Who will pay for all the necessary infrastructure needed if any one at all and would this mean the development in this area is frozen until further notice.
AVDC and BCC's ability to fund their desired road system is at risk as they have not positively prepared for such a outcome.
In summary, AVDC and BCC need to rethink the whole future development of Aylesbury and district as what they are proposing in the "Modified Plan" does not make sense.
Regards

Support

VALP Main Modifications

Representation ID: 3233

Received: 17/12/2019

Respondent: Quod

Representation Summary:

The Consortium support the principle of increasing the overall housing requirement for Aylesbury over the plan period, and that this is now confirmed as a minimum requirement.

Full text:

See attachments for full representations and supporting documentation. Summaries are officer summaries.

Object

VALP Main Modifications

Representation ID: 3235

Received: 17/12/2019

Respondent: Quod

Legally compliant? Not specified

Sound? No

Representation Summary:

The Consortium objects to the requirement for a specifically prepared AGT-1 Masterplan SPD. It introduces an unnecessary layer of planning policy. An SPD would not be justified as it does not represent a proportionate evidence base for the delivery of a proposed site allocation and would not be effective or positively prepared as it would serve to delay
housing delivery. As set out in the full representation, nor would it be consistent with national policy as it would not be required to aid the delivery of infrastructure or help applicants make successful applications.

Full text:

See attachments for full representations and supporting documentation. Summaries are officer summaries.

Object

VALP Main Modifications

Representation ID: 3398

Received: 17/12/2019

Respondent: David Lock Associates

Legally compliant? No

Sound? No

Representation Summary:

Policy T3 as proposed to be modified by MM210, has not addressed the fundamental issue of delivery of the North East Link Road. The VALP therefore remains unsound on the basis that:
* it is not positively prepared - providing no realistic strategy for delivering the North East Link Road;
* it is not justified - without such certainty regarding the North East Link the evidence base suggests that the development strategy for Aylesbury is not adequately mitigated;
* it is not effective given that sound infrastructure delivery planning is necessary to satisfy the test of effectiveness.

For the reasons set out in relation to MM210, and by the same token, Policy D1 as proposed to be modified by MM031 remains unsound as it does not provide the means by which necessary infrastructure - identified in the evidence base as required to mitigate the development strategy.

Change suggested by respondent:

Policy D1 should be amended to
* to cross refer to and require the delivery of the key infrastructure measures listed in T3;
* to confirm that developer contributions will be required to all T3 Aylesbury Infrastructure requirements;
* that such developer contributions will be required to be secured from existing allocations and through co-operation and enabling development with and in respect of land associated with the delivery of the North East Link Road. To this end specific reference should be made in D1 to site BIE as having the potential to progress the delivery of the North East Link Road.
A modest high quality allocation on a part of BIE021 would provide a delivery mechanism for the North East Link Road.
A modification to the Policies Map for Aylesbury to include an indicative route for the North East Link - along with the other 9 links listed in T3 and shown on the Policies Map.

Full text:

Nick Freer (David Lock) reps for Hallam Land - Buckingham
17 Dec 2019

FULL TEXT
Dear sirs
Further to the ongoing consultation in relation to the VALP Main Modifications please find attached representations on behalf of Hallam Land Management (Buckingham). They relate to five MMs specifically MM70, MM82, MM83, MM84, MM210. I look forward to your further consideration of the representations. Kind regards
Nick Freer
Chairman

REP to MM070

NO SUMMARY PROVIDED.

FULL TEXT

1 Hallam Land Management have set out representations in relation to MM082, 083 and 084 in relation to sites BUC043, BUC046, MM006, BUC051 and BUC025.

2 A series of suggested changes are proposed to make the plan sound primarily:

* the deletion of BUC043, BUC046 and MM06 alongside the deletion of BUC051 (MM083); or

* in the alternative the reinstatement of BUC051 and the inclusion also of BUC025 - to maximise developer contributions towards the delivery of key infrastructure.

3 The adoption of these suggested changes to make the VALP sound will require consequential amendment of the list of sites in policy D2 (MM070).


REP to MM082

SUMMARY


HLM(B) consider that proposed modifications MM082 (BUC043), MM084 (BUC046) - amending policies BUC043 and BUC046 to secure contributions towards unexplained infrastructure are insufficient to make either policy sound, nor MM006. As such the VALP should be further modified by the deletion of all of the Buckingham and Maids Moreton allocations in favour of their allocation through the ongoing Buckingham Neighbourhood Plan revision by which time there would be more prospect of an adequate evidence base in relation to the transport impacts of each allocation. Even if the Inspector is satisfied that the evidence base justifies the allocations, there remains the question of how the identified mitigation strategy - where the WLR is prioritised - will be delivered. In this circumstance, to ensure the effectiveness of the Plan and meet its obligations in respect of infrastructure delivery the VALP should be modified to maximise contributions through further allocations.

FULL TEXT

1 AVDC propose modifications to both BUC043 and BUC046 in relation to the Buckingham Transport Strategy: "A financial contribution will be needed towards finding appropriate elements of the Buckingham Transport Strategy".

2 HLM consider that this is a wholly insufficient response to seek to make the allocations sound.

3 HLM (B) has set out detailed representations on MM083 - the deletion of BUC051. Such representations should be read in conjunction with HLMs objections to MM082 and MM084.

4 Of particular note, HLMs representations on MM083 highlight:
* the conclusions of AVDC's existing evidence base which is that there are significant congestion issues in Buckingham Town Centre already
* the conclusions of the same evidence base that the Western Link Road has been set out as the most effective means of addressing existing issues and mitigating growth in Buckingham;
* the absence of any evidence base to conclude that BUC043 and BUC046, individually or collectively, with or without BUC051 or BUC025, will not also have a significant effect on an existing congested network;
* the absence of reference to the WLR in the MM210 listing mitigation schemes in an amended policy T3; and
* that BUC051 has totally unreasonably been singly and inappropriately ruled out of the Buckingham strategy - despite the positive role that it (or the alternative/additional BUC025) might play

5 Given the above, a requirement for an unspecified contribution towards unspecified works from a development without the benefit of a specific assessment of its impacts on a congested network, fails all tests of soundness. There isn't the evidence to justify.

REP to MM083

SUMMARY

In conclusion, the proposed strategy for Buckingham sites including the deletion of BUC051 (and its non-replacement with BUC025) is unsound because it is completely unsupported by the evidence base. In circumstances where the evidence base says that the Town Centre is already congested and that the most effective means of mitigation is the WLR, the progression of the Main Mods is unsound with no reference to the WLR and the retention of sites BUC043 and BUC046. Moreover, in the absence of modelling, the allocations give every impression of adding to (without mitigating) town centre congestion and town wide journey times.
Not only is the strategy, as proposed to be modified, unsound on the basis of a lack of evidence and justification, the deletion of BUC051, the lack of inclusion of BUC025 and the absence of reference to the WLR in MM210, also results in the Plan being unsound in terms of its failure to plan positively for the infrastructure that has been identified as being necessary.

FULL TEXT


1 Hallam Land Management Buckingham (HLM(B)) controls land owned by New College Oxford to the west and south of Buckingham and including sites BUC025 and BUC051. New College Oxford owns significant additional land to the West of Buckingham, capable of accommodating much of the proposed Western Bypass. The WLR can be delivered within the control of HLM(B) and New College.

2 Both prior, and subsequent, to the publication of the suggested changes to the Plan by AVDC - which addressed BUC051 and the Western bypass - HLM wrote to seek a dialogue to discuss the both of these issues - along with the failings perceived by HLM in the evidence base that was being presented to support what are now MM083 (BUC051), MM082 (BUC043), MM084 (BUC046), MM210 (Policy T3), MM205 (para 7.10) and consequentially MM070 (Policy D1).

3 I enclose a copy of correspondence to AVDC (Appendix 1) which highlighted the strong need for that evidence base to be reinforced prior to the publication of the Proposed Modifications. Otherwise, it was indicated to AVDC, that it will be difficult in the extreme to make representations on the proposed modifications relating to Buckingham - leading to considerable risk of the Mods and hence VALP being unsupported by available evidence and potentially liable to challenge.

4 No response was received, and no such discussions have been entertained by AVDC or BCC. The failings in terms of soundness and/or legal compliance set out in these representations therefore have, regrettably, had to be made without the benefit of such dialogue or additional evidence.

5 The principal additional evidence produced in support of the Proposed Modifications since the Examination is understood to be:
* the Revised County Modelling for Buckingham (Addendum to the Phase 3 Modelling Report) (3 April 2019) (ED214B)
* the Buckingham Town Centre Modelling report (24 May 2019) (ED214A)
* BCC's advice note to AVDC (ED215)

6 Having completed these studies, AVDC propose the deletion of BUC051 (MM083) - the reserve site allocated in the Buckingham Neighbourhood Plan - and retains BUC043 and BUC046 neither of which were allocated in the Buckingham Neighbourhood Plan - albeit with an additional obligation to contribute to transport.

7 Further consideration was given to BUC051 in the light of the Inspectors Initial Findings (IIF) that BUC051 might be considered to be dependent upon the Western Link Road (WLR) in the Buckingham Transport Strategy but that there was no policy seeking to deliver that Link Road. The expectation was that AVDC would - as has been the case in Aylesbury - add in those key elements of infrastructure into T3 through a Main Modification. To be clear the Inspector did NOT consider to what extent other allocations in Buckingham (BUC043 and BUC046) as well as Maids Moreton (MM006) were also dependent on key elements of the Buckingham Transport Strategy (BTS) including the Western Link Road (WLR).

8 Just by way of context, the WLR is identified as necessary for Buckingham as a whole in the Infrastructure Development Plan - an expectation that has not been updated since the Examination hearings.

9 Equally important, in terms of context, the Buckingham Transport Strategy considered the demands of growth at Buckingham as a whole - BUC043, BUC046, BUC051 and BUC025 (although the latter was not allocated in the submission VALP). Para 4.4.2 of the BTS ranked the Western Link Road as being of highest priority followed by the West Street downgrade. Other route upgrades and Left turn slip/junction improvements were given less priority. Funding of the priority schemes was acknowledged to be likely to rely principally on section 106 funding (BTS para 4.5.3).

10 AVDC's justification for deleting BUC051 is set out in Examination Document ED215B published alongside the Proposed Modifications. AVDC argues that it has changed its mind regarding the acceptability of phasing the development of BUC51 to take account of the WLR and now "detailed town centre modelling shows that BUC051 would have an unacceptable impact on the town centre even if the development was phased" (ED214A).

11 Further, AVDC argues that the only way to secure the mitigation of the town centre impacts would be the WLR - but this could not be funded by 300 dwellings (here the County explicitly mooted a much larger allocation to secure the WLR).

12 This conclusion was reached following specific consideration of BUC051 and its specific impacts on the Town Centre in the County Councils addendum to its Phase 3 Modelling report and the Town Centre Modelling Report - work that was not carried out in respect of any of the remaining Buckingham allocations.

13 Apparently as a makeweight, or secondary argument, AVDC argues that there is no need for BUC051 as a reserve site in the manner anticipated in the Buckingham Neighbourhood Plan because the BNP sites had or were coming forward and additional development should be allocated on the edge of MK to reflect the Inspectors Initial Findings. The allocation of 1150 homes at Shenley Park (D0-WHA001, EC125) - well above the gap identified by the Inspector allows AVDC to delete BUC51 but equally makes the point that there would be no harm whatsoever in the allocation of WHA001 and BUC051 or indeed other additional sites at Buckingham to deliver infrastructure (e.g. BUC025). The two locations should not be linked given the scale of need and the consequent undermining of the Buckingham Neighbourhood Plan by the de- allocation of its reserve site.

14 HLM and its transport consultants have considered the additional evidence now produced in support of the deletion of BUC051 and conclude that MM083 is simply not supported by the evidence base that is presented. The deletion of the site - a site already tested and found sound having been examined in a Neighbourhood Plan context - through the VALP is simply not justified by the evidence.

15 The Buckingham Transport Strategy is based on all sites coming forward and puts in place a section 106 contribution-based strategy to deliver what is needed to meet both the demands of the planned growth but also, explicitly, the existing traffic constraints and difficulties in the town - in particular, in the town centre. The key identified requirement is the WLR to facilitate the down-grading of West Street.

16 Perhaps the biggest issue here is the level of congestion in the Town centre. Traffic in Buckingham town centre is highlighted as an existing issue in the adopted Buckingham Neighbourhood Plan and Buckingham Transport Strategy, and indeed the most recent modelling (ED214A). One of the issues is the performance of the two key town centre junctions - the focus of the latest Town centre modelling report (ED214A). ED214A confirms that both junctions will be operating beyond capacity in 2033 - even with no new development in Buckingham. It concludes that each development scenario tested would be unacceptable.

17 It apparently concludes that the traffic effects of the Proposed Modifications, even with no BUC051, would therefore be unacceptable on the town centre.

18 No evidence is presented in the additional modelling that the Proposed modification strategy (BUC43, BUC46 and MM06) has an acceptable impact on the Town Centre. The test has not been done and no evidence prepared to show that the suggested modifications are acceptable in terms of town centre impact.

19 Equally, none of the assessments have considered whether BUC043 or BUCO46 or MM06 - if treated in isolation (as BUC051 has been) - would have more or less of an impact on journey times in Buckingham than BUC025 or BUC051. The evidence is missing.

20 Nor has any testing been undertaken to determine the relative impacts of each of the VALP sites on congestion in the Town Centre which is already an identified problem in the evidence base. Intuitively BUC043 would have a substantial effect on the Moreton Road/Market Square junction. Had assessments been undertaken of individual sites (other than BUC051) in the latest modelling (they have not), it is likely that they would have shown that BUC043/BUC46/MM06 would equally have had unacceptable impact on the town centre.

21 The two sites with the comprehensive evidence base are the two sites omitted from the VALP (BUC025 and BUC051). Those with no substantive evidence are retained in the VALP - at the same time undermining the Buckingham Neighbourhood Plan.

22 Moreover, even if BUC051 were to be deleted from the Plan there is no evidence based reason not to replace BUC051 with BUC025. BCC did consider BUC025 (South of the A421). BCC considers in its advice that:
* it would have less impact on the TC so not unacceptable on highway grounds [i.e is perfectly acceptable];
* but "would not assist reducing traffic through the town centre in that it would not contribute to strategic infrastructure such as the Western Relief Road nor the Buckingham Transport Strategy". This, as a rationale or evidence, is nonsense as any modification to replace BUC051 with BUC025 would have with it a policy obligation to contribute to the BTS - just as is the case in MM82 and 84 - where that financial requirement is now required for sites BUC043 and BUC046.

23 While the Main Mods do not propose to allocate BUC025, notwithstanding the evidence that AVDC assembled, the allocation of BUC025 instead of, or as well as, BUC051 and in addition to BUC043, BUC046 and MM006, would make a strong contribution to delivering transport infrastructure through increased contributions for the Buckingham Transport Strategy. BUC025 was considered entirely suitable for development in the AVDC HELAA with a potential yield, in that assessment, of 360 dwellings.

24 In conclusion, the proposed strategy for Buckingham sites including the deletion of BUC051 (and its non-replacement with BUC025) is unsound because it is completely unsupported by the evidence base. In circumstances where the evidence base says that the Town Centre is already congested and that the most effective means of mitigation is the WLR, the progression of the Main Mods is unsound with no reference to the WLR and the retention of sites BUC043 and BUC046. Moreover, in the absence of modelling, the allocations give every impression of adding to (without mitigating) town centre congestion and town wide journey times.

25 Before there can be any possibility of the strategy, as amended by the PMs, being found sound, additional work must be completed to:
* provide an evidence base on the impact of the remaining allocations (BUC043, BUC046 and MM006) on the town centre individually and collectively - none exists;
* inform whether all allocations (including BUC025 and BUC051), to secure the mitigation strategy, or none, to allow allocations to come through the BNP, should be pursued;
* set out the specific benefits of each mitigation measure and to base the inclusion of schemes on that evidence. In this regard the BTS affords greatest priority to the WLR (above other schemes) as being the most effective means of mitigation for the town - because it frees up the opportunity to downgrade Bridge/West Street and the High Street.

26 Not only is the strategy, as proposed to be modified, unsound on the basis of a lack of evidence and justification, the deletion of BUC051, the lack of inclusion of BUC025 and the absence of reference to the WLR in MM210, also results in the Plan being unsound in terms of its failure to plan positively for the infrastructure that has been identified as being necessary.

27 The best opportunity to deliver the infrastructure that should be included in the Plan - the WLR - is to maximise the contributions from development.

28 The only sound alternative is to not allocate any sites at Buckingham to meet the identified requirement and to devolve the allocation of sites to the next review of the Buckingham NP which is already underway. This is on the basis that there is simply not a sufficient evidence base to proceed with any of the allocations at Buckingham in the VALP. By this means opportunities for positive planning and integrated planning to deliver the WLR etc. could be realised through the NP rather than wasted in the unevidenced and incomplete strategy in the VALP.

29 Critical in this regard is the importance attached to town centre junction issues - and the problems now experienced - and the absence of any comparable assessment of the impact of the BUC43 and BUC46 and MM06 sites on the town centre. Only BUC051 has been assessed. Indeed, ED215A appears to conclude that any development scenario will make matters worse - exponentially - without a proper mitigation strategy.

30 The made Buckingham Neighbourhood Plan (made in October 2015) has proved highly effective in delivering substantial, locally supported, housing numbers. Such a course of action would avert the current need for more evidence prior to the adoption of the VALP. Instead the VALP process could proceed but could divert Buckingham allocations to the NP review, the existing NP having successfully allocated and delivered housing in the absence of an up-to-date Local Plan.

31 That a Neighbourhood Plan is a proper and established and effective route in other places as well as in Buckingham is evident in the experience, in the immediate vicinity at Thame. The Thame Neighbourhood Plan in adjoining South Oxfordshire has likewise successfully allocated sites for some 775 new homes and associated infrastructure - delivering the strategic policies of the District wide plan.

32 Equally the WLR can be delivered within the control of HLM(B) and New College - and can then be included in the VALP or worked through in the update of the Buckingham Neighbourhood Plan that has already commenced.

33 In setting out these observations HLM (B) is very aware that that addendum to the Sustainability Appraisal fails to consider any of the implications of the amended development strategy for Buckingham on the ability to deliver the key infrastructure that the evidence base demands. The SA Addendum simply considers the rather esoteric and immaterial question of whether including scheme details (across the VALP) as words in the VALP is positive or negative.

34 Overall the proposed Main modifications and resultant policies may well be considered to have potential for challenge.


REP TO MMO84

SUMMARY

HLM(B) consider that proposed modifications MM082 (BUC043), MM084 (BUC046) - amending policies BUC043 and BUC046 to secure contributions towards unexplained infrastructure are insufficient to make either policy sound, nor MM006. As such the VALP should be further modified by the deletion of all of the Buckingham and Maids Moreton allocations in favour of their allocation through the ongoing Buckingham Neighbourhood Plan revision by which time there would be more prospect of an adequate evidence base in relation to the transport impacts of each allocation. Even if the Inspector is satisfied that the evidence base justifies the allocations, there remains the question of how the identified mitigation strategy - where the WLR is prioritised - will be delivered. In this circumstance, to ensure the effectiveness of the Plan and meet its obligations in respect of infrastructure delivery the VALP should be modified to maximise contributions through further allocations.

FULL TEXT

1 AVDC propose modifications to both BUC043 and BUC046 in relation to the Buckingham Transport Strategy: "A financial contribution will be needed towards finding appropriate elements of the Buckingham Transport Strategy".

2 HLM consider that this is a wholly insufficient response to seek to make the allocations sound.

3 HLM (B) has set out detailed representations on MM083 - the deletion of BUC051. Such representations should be read in conjunction with HLMs objections to MM082 and MM084.

4 Of particular note, HLMs representations on MM082 and 084 highlight:
* the conclusions of AVDC's existing evidence base which is that there are significant congestion issues in Buckingham Town Centre already
the conclusions of the same evidence base that the Western Link Road has been set out as the most effective means of addressing existing issues and mitigating growth in Buckingham;
* the absence of any evidence base to conclude that BUC043 and BUC046, individually or collectively, with or without BUC051 or BUC025, will not also have a significant effect on an existing congested network;
* the absence of reference to the WLR in the MM210 listing mitigation schemes in an amended policy T3; and
* that BUC051 has totally unreasonably been singly and inappropriately ruled out of the Buckingham strategy - despite the positive role that it (or the alternative/additional BUC025) might play

5 Given the above, a requirement for an unspecified contribution towards unspecified works from a development without the benefit of a specific assessment of its impacts on a congested network, fails all tests of soundness. There isn't the evidence to justify. There isn't an effective mitigation strategy and hence it is neither effective or positively prepared.

REP TO MM0210

SUMMARY

Hallam Land Management (Buckingham) (HLM(B)) do not believe that the Main Modifications are sufficient to make the VALP sound, the Inspector having found this aspect of the Plan to be unsound in his IIF. T3 is therefore fundamentally unsound in failing to respond positively to the planning and delivery of infrastructure and failing to deliver necessary infrastructure accepted in the evidence base.
The infrastructure that must be included in the Plan according to the evidence base is the Western Link Road.

To deliver this - all allocations at Buckingham or Maids Moreton should be deleted to ensure that a comprehensive approach to delivery and allocations comes forward through the neighbourhood Plan OR that all sites including BUC051 and BUC025 are allocated to ensure that there is an effective policy to deliver the contributions to secure the WLR. The WLR can be delivered within the control of HLM(B) and New College.

FULL TEXT

1 The Inspector found that the Transport policies in the Submission Draft of the VALP were significantly lacking. While Policy T1 and T6a required the implementation of the proposals in the Buckinghamshire LTP4 and the Buckingham Transport Strategy "none of these proposals are specified in the Plan" (IIF para 46). This would be unsound because the NPPF requires that the plan "should make clear what is intended to happen in the areas over the life of the plan, where and when this will occur and how it will be delivered. It points out the need to identify the short, medium and long-term transport proposals across all modes as a key issue...".

2 Key within the Inspectors' findings is that "the key infrastructure requirements on which the delivery of the plan depends should be contained in the Local Plan itself. VALP does not do this and so is unsound as it stands".

3 In the first instance, Policy T3 seeks simply to "actively support key transport proposals" and will "support local transport schemes that provide benefits to the District". If the delivery of the listed infrastructure is prejudiced then permission would not be granted.

4 T3, as proposed to be modified, is therefore no more than a safeguarding policy rather than a policy that delivers the infrastructure identified as a requirement of the Plan's development strategy and the Plan's evidence base.

5 The inspector in the IIF noted that policy T1 required developments to implement LTP and BTS proposals. Policy T1 - following its modification by MM206 - will no longer do so. Policy T3 certainly does not do so in its proposed form.

6 Hallam Land Management (Buckingham) (HLM(B)) do not believe that the Main Modifications are sufficient to make the VALP sound, the Inspector having found this aspect of the Plan to be unsound in his IIF. T3 is therefore fundamentally unsound in failing to respond positively to the planning and delivery of infrastructure and failing to deliver necessary infrastructure
accepted in the evidence base and transport policies of the relevant authorities as a requirement.

7 Indeed, in this regard, the VALP as proposed to be modified appears to be vulnerable to challenge.

8 Specifically, MM210 sets out as required works - the Buckingham Town Wide cycle network improvement (short term) and the Buckingham to Silverstone Park cycle route (short term), A413 Buckingham Road improvements (medium term) and Buckingham left turn slip at A422/A413/Stratford Road Roundabout (medium term).

9 There is a considerable evidence base in relation to transport issues and strategy in Buckingham - not least the made Buckingham Neighbourhood Plan and in particular the Buckingham Transport Strategy and VALP IDP. Clear and robust conclusions are drawn.

10 The Western Link Road (WLR) is identified as necessary for Buckingham as a whole in the Infrastructure Development Plan - an expectation that has not been updated since the Examination hearings.

11 Equally important the Buckingham Transport Strategy considered the demands of growth at Buckingham as a whole - BUC043, BUC046, BUC051 and BUC025 (although the latter was not allocated in the submission VALP). Para 4.4.2 of the BTS ranked the Western Link Road as being of highest priority followed by the West Street downgrade. Other route upgrades and Left turn slip/junction improvements were given less priority. Funding of the priority schemes was acknowledged to be likely to rely principally on section 106 funding (4.5.3).

12 The Buckingham Transport Strategy is based on all sites coming forward and puts a section 106 contribution-based strategy in place to deliver what is needed to meet both the demands of the planned growth but also, explicitly, the existing traffic constraints and difficulties in the town - in particular the town centre. The key identified requirement is the WLR to facilitate the down grading of West Street.

13 This is a clear evidence base with a clear strategy for delivery.

14 Since the examination hearings the principal additional evidence produced in support of the Proposed Modifications is understood to be:
* the Revised County Modelling for Buckingham (Addendum to the Phase 3 Modelling Report) (3 April 2019) (ED214B)
* the Buckingham Town Centre Modelling report (24 May 2019) (ED214A)
* BCC's advice note to AVDC (ED215)

15 None of this additional evidence alters the conclusions of the BTS. Indeed, the evidence reinforces it as it concludes that the biggest issue here is the level of congestion in the Town centre. Traffic in Buckingham town centre is highlighted as an existing issue in the adopted Buckingham Neighbourhood Plan and Buckingham Transport Strategy, and indeed the most recent modelling (ED214A). One of the issues is the performance of the two key town centre junctions - the focus of the latest Town centre modelling report (ED214A). ED214A confirms that both junctions will be operating beyond capacity in 2033 - even with no new development in Buckingham. It concludes that each development scenario tested would be unacceptable.

16 One opportunity to deliver the infrastructure that should be included in the Plan - the WLR - is to maximise the contributions from development as is set out in representations made by Hallam in respect of MMs083, 082 and 084. The WLR can be delivered within the control of HLM(B) and New College - and can then be included in the VALP or worked through in the update of the Buckingham Neighbourhood Plan that has already commenced.

17 The only sound alternative is to not allocate any sites at Buckingham to meet the identified requirement and to devolve the allocation of sites to the next review of the Buckingham NP which is already underway. This is on the basis that there is simply not a sufficient evidence base to proceed with any of the allocations at Buckingham in the VALP. By this means opportunities for positive planning and integrated planning to deliver the WLR etc. could be realised through the NP rather than wasted in the unevidenced and incomplete strategy in the VALP.

18 The made Buckingham Neighbourhood Plan (made in October 2015) has proved highly effective in delivering substantial, locally supported, housing numbers. Such a course of action would avert the current need for more evidence prior to the adoption of the VALP. Instead the VALP process could proceed but could divert Buckingham allocations to the NP review, the existing NP having successfully allocated and delivered housing in the absence of an up-to-date Local Plan.

19 That a Neighbourhood Plan is a proper and established and effective route in other places as well as in Buckingham is evident in the experience, in the immediate vicinity at Thame. The Thame Neighbourhood Plan in adjoining South Oxfordshire has likewise successfully allocated sites for some 775 new homes and associated infrastructure - delivering the strategic policies of the District wide plan.

20 In setting out these observations HLM (B) is very aware that that addendum to the Sustainability Appraisal fails to consider any of the implications of the amended development strategy for Buckingham on the ability to deliver the key infrastructure that the evidence base demands. The SA Addendum simply considers the rather esoteric and immaterial question of whether including scheme details (across the VALP) as words in the VALP is positive or negative.

21 Overall the proposed Main modifications and resultant policies may well be considered appropriate for challenge.

NICK FREER - David Lock representing Hallam Land
Reps to AYLESBURY
Rep to MM031
FULL TEXT
1 Hallam Land Management (Aylesbury) controls land to the north east of Aylesbury including site BIE021.

2 To be clear HLM(A) has consistently sought a dialogue to help through its land controls to bring forward the North East Link Road which is the subject of this representation. No such discussions have been entertained by AVDC.

3 HLM has set out detailed representations in relation to MM210 and the changes that it introduces to Policy T3. In particular, substantial objections have been lodged that demonstrate that Policy T3 insofar as it addresses the delivery of key infrastructure at Aylesbury - as set in T3 - continues to fail the tests of soundness.

4 Policy T3 as proposed to be modified by MM210, has not addressed the fundamental issue of delivery of the North East Link Road. The VALP therefore remains unsound on the basis that:
* it is not positively prepared - providing no realistic strategy for the delivery of the North East Link Road;
* it is not justified - without such certainty regarding the North East Link the evidence base suggests that the development strategy for Aylesbury is not adequately mitigated;
* it is not effective given that sound infrastructure delivery planning is necessary to satisfy the test of effectiveness.

5 For the reasons set out in relation to MM210, and by the same token, Policy D1 as proposed to be modified by MM031 also remains unsound as it does not provide the means by which necessary infrastructure - identified in the evidence base as required to support and mitigate the development strategy.

6 Hallam notes that the Council intends to produce the 'AGT Framework and Infrastructure SPD' as stated in point (b) of Policy D1 (Delivering Aylesbury Garden Town). Under the National Planning Policy Framework's (NPPF) Test of Soundness, local plans are required to positively prepare for objectively assessed development and infrastructure. Whilst there is some flexibility in planning for the delivery of strategic matters, planning practice guidance is clear that in the case of a lack of certainty of funding for certain infrastructure, 'strategic policy-making authorities will be expected to demonstrate that there is a reasonable prospect that the proposals can be developed within the timescales envisaged. In addition, the PPG states that plans should assess deficiencies in existing and future infrastructure and set policies for how these deficiencies will be addressed (059 Reference ID: 61-059-20190315). To leave this to an SPD is inadequate and results in the plan not being prepared positively and therefore unsound in respect of planning for infrastructure delivery. The inappropriateness generally of deferring policy to SPD is noted by the Inspector in another context in para 45 (for instance) of the IIF.

7 It is not therefore acceptable or sound that the delivery of key infrastructure such as of the North East Link Road (or for that matter other infrastructure) to be deferred to the proposed AGT Framework and Infrastructure SPD.

SUMMARY

Policy T3 as proposed to be modified by MM210, has not addressed the fundamental issue of delivery of the North East Link Road. The VALP therefore remains unsound on the basis that:
* it is not positively prepared - providing no realistic strategy for delivering the North East Link Road;
* it is not justified - without such certainty regarding the North East Link the evidence base suggests that the development strategy for Aylesbury is not adequately mitigated;
* it is not effective given that sound infrastructure delivery planning is necessary to satisfy the test of effectiveness.

For the reasons set out in relation to MM210, and by the same token, Policy D1 as proposed to be modified by MM031 remains unsound as it does not provide the means by which necessary infrastructure - identified in the evidence base as required to mitigate the development strategy.

REP to MM210

FULL TEXT


1 Hallam Land Management (Aylesbury) controls land to the north east of Aylesbury including site BIE021.

2 To be clear HLM(A) has consistently sought a dialogue to help, through its land controls to bring forward the North East Link Road which is the subject of this representation. No such discussions have been entertained by AVDC or BCC.

3 The Inspectors' Interim Findings (IIF) (28th August 2018), provides the principal context for Main Modification 210 - the amendment of policy T3.

4 The Inspector found that the Transport policies in the Submission Draft of the VALP were significantly lacking. While policy T1 and T6a required the implementation of the proposals in the Buckinghamshire LTP4 and the Aylesbury Transport Strategy "none of these proposals are specified in the Plan" (IIF para 46). This would be unsound because the NPPF requires that the plan "should make clear what is intended to happen in the areas over the life of the plan, where and when this will occur and how it will be delivered. It points out the need to identify the short, medium and long-term transport proposals across all modes as a key issue...".

5 Key within the Inspectors' findings is that "the key infrastructure requirements on which the delivery of the plan depends should be contained in the Local Plan itself. VALP does not do this and so is unsound as it stands" (underlining added for emphasis).

6 Hallam Land Management (Aylesbury) (HLM(A)) welcomes the amendment of the Policy T3 to include those key infrastructure elements from the Aylesbury Transport Strategy (ATS) upon which the Plan depends. Specifically, HLM welcomes the inclusion of the North East Link Road at Aylesbury within T3.

7 This is essential to meet the expectations of the Aylesbury Garden Town Vision which includes "road improvements linking new developments to the town, and creating a series of link roads around the town" (VALP - para 4.30). The Vision specifically includes the North East Link Road between the A413 and A418.

8 It is essential also from the perspective of the need to address current issues in the network. In Examination document EC279, AVDC recognises that the ATS measures (including North East Link Road) also address current issues in relation to the capacity of the Network.

9 More important still, the North East Link Road is essential to mitigate the impacts of the development proposed in the VALP at Aylesbury and, in particular, in Policy D1 of the Plan.

10 Hallam Land Management has consistently made clear through the examination process that the BCC/AVDC evidence base and modelling shows that, without the North East Link Road, the impact of development on the A41, A413 and A418 isn't adequately mitigated. The Technical Note prepared by Markides Associates and appended to Hallam Land Management's Examination Matter 12 Statement was not queried or questioned in the examination hearings and needs to be given substantial weight.

11 The Technical Note draws out the conclusions of the VALP's own evidence base: the BCC Countywide model and, in particular, the Countywide Local Plan Modelling Phase 3 Technical Note.

12 The Markides Technical Note makes two fundamental points. In the first instance, it demonstrates that in either scenario DS1, or DS2, run by the County, there remains significant congestion in the southern quadrant of Aylesbury "particularly on the A418 through Stone and Harcourt" - with all of the link rods provided. We have previously questioned these allocations on this basis.

13 Second, and more directly related to the North East Link Road, the Markides Technical Note highlights the importance of the North East Link Road (which is included in the DS2 model run but not DS1 model run): "Without the provision of the additional link roads [including the North East Link Road] in DS2, there remain issues of congestion on the Stocklake link, A418 and A413 immediately north of Aylesbury and on the A41 to the east of Aylesbury. The North East Link Road offers significant benefits in this area, with scenario DS2 showing much reduced congestion ratios on the A41, A418, A413 and various link roads through the Aylesbury East area over both the DS and DS1 scenarios" [added for clarification].

14 Since the Examination, and the publication of the Inspectors Interim Findings, no new transport modelling appears to have been undertaken by AVDC/BCC in respect of Aylesbury. The ATS Final report 2017 and the Countywide Local Transport Modelling - Phase 3 Tech Note (August 2017) remain the most recent documents forming the evidence base for transport.

15 Little, therefore, appears to have changed since the Examination hearings. The only modelling work available to support the Proposed Modifications relating to Aylesbury shows that the North East Link Road is necessary to mitigate the impact of planned development at Aylesbury (see also para 1.8 of the IDP).

16 HLM(A) therefore considers it essential that the Aylesbury North East Link Road is included in the revised version of policy T3 as amended by Proposed MM210.

17 This is the position of AVDC also. By virtue of its inclusion in T3, it must be regarded by AVDC to be a key measure or intervention, and a requirement to facilitate growth at Aylesbury. Para 7.7 of the VALP - as proposed to be amended by MM203 - is explicit in this regard: "Transport measures and interventions contained in the ATS are required to facilitate growth in Aylesbury Garden Town. The key measures and interventions are set out in Policy [T3] below and supported by the Infrastructure Delivery Plan" [added emphasis].

18 Having been included in Policy T3 by MM210, the North East Link Road also must be included (in indicative layout form- consistent with the Aylesbury Garden Town Proposals and LTP) on the Aylesbury Policies Map.
19 However, Policy T3 as proposed to be modified by MM210, has not addressed the fundamental issue of delivery of the North East Link Road. The VALP therefore remains unsound on the basis that:
* it is not positively prepared - providing no realistic strategy for the delivery of the North East Link Road;
* it is not justified - without such certainty regarding the North East Link the evidence base suggests that the development strategy for Aylesbury is not adequately mitigated;
* it is not effective given that sound infrastructure delivery planning is necessary to satisfy the test of effectiveness.

20 The failings of the proposed policy T3 as proposed to be modified by MM210 are various.

21 In the first instance, Policy T3 seeks simply to "actively support key transport proposals" and will "support local transport schemes that provide benefits to the District". If the delivery of the listed infrastructure is prejudiced then T3 indicates that permission would not be granted.

22 T3, as to be modified, is therefore no more than a safeguarding policy and not a policy that delivers the infrastructure identified as required by the Plan's development strategy and evidence base.

23 The Inspector in the IIF noted that Policy T1 required developments to implement LTP and ATS proposals. Policy T1 - as modified by MM206 - will no longer do so. Policy T3 certainly does not do so - either in respect of strategic developments or globally across the Aylesbury Garden Town.

24 In the second instance, while T3 seeks to set out a delivery mechanism for the North East Link road - this is inadequate, insufficient and inconsistent with the remainder of the Main Modifications. MM210 states that North East Link Road will be delivered "through the Oxford-Cambridge Expressway". Whilst there is not yet a fixed route for the Expressway, Highways England have moved forward a little in terms of identifying route corridors. They have ruled out Corridor A, which would have passed close to Aylesbury and have narrowed it down to Corridors B1 and B3 - the nearest edge of these corridors crossing the A413 in the order of 5 miles north of the centre of Aylesbury, north of Whitchurch. The corridors don't actually reach the A418 north east of Aylesbury. AVDC cannot rely on this means to deliver the North East Link Road.

25 More fundamentally, AVDC has resolved as a Council to not support the Oxford-Cambridge Expressway nor any route in Aylesbury Vale. As a result the second and third sentence of T3 is therefore proposed to be deleted by the Council including the reference to "The scheme is supported by the Council and ...". The scheme is no longer supported by the Council. The Proposed Modifications do not however propose that the Expressway be deleted as the delivery mechanism for the North East Link road. Clearly this represents a very large inconsistency, perhaps oversight, and leaves the delivery of key listed infrastructure in the air and with no strategy.

26 Nor is it acceptable for the delivery of the North East Link Road to be deferred to the 'AGT Framework and Infrastructure SPD' as suggested in point (b) of Policy D1 (Delivering Aylesbury Garden Town). Under the National Planning Policy Framework's (NPPF) Test of Soundness, local plans are required to positively prepare for objectively assessed development and infrastructure. Whilst there is some flexibility in planning for the delivery of strategic matters, planning practice guidance is clear that in the case of a lack of certainty of funding for certain infrastructure, 'strategic policy-making authorities will be expected to demonstrate that there is a reasonable prospect that the proposals can be developed within the timescales envisaged. In addition, the PPG states that plans should assess deficiencies in existing and future infrastructure and set policies for how these deficiencies will be addressed (059 Reference ID: 61-059-20190315). To leave this to an SPD is inadequate and results in the VALP not being prepared positively and therefore unsound also in respect of planning for infrastructure delivery. The inappropriateness generally of deferring policy to SPD is noted by the Inspector in another context in para 45 (for instance) of the IIF.

27 There are also concerns with the claim in T3 that a North East Link Road would cost approximately £35 million to build. Typical construction costs for a 10m wide single carriageway road with 3m footways on either side would be £2050 per linear metre (Spons Civil Engineering Price Book 2017) and at an overall length of 3.2km would be expected to cost approximately £6.5 million. Allowing a further £2 million for junction connections to the A413 and A418 and a generous contingency allowance of 50% increases this to approaching £13 million, less than 40% of the cost that is being claimed in MM210 and more consistent with the IDP estimates for the Western Link, which is a similar length. The lower cost demonstrates that it could be effectively delivered through an appropriate mechanism as set out above.

28 In addition HLM have argued throughout the examination process that a modest high quality allocation on a part of BIE021 would also provide one delivery mechanism for the North East Link Road. This remains an available option and has been spelt out in detail in the examination documentation.

29 Hallam Land Management do not believe that the Main Modifications are sufficient to make the VALP sound, the Inspector having found this aspect of the Plan to be unsound in his IIF. T3 is therefore fundamentally unsound in failing to respond positively to the planning and delivery of infrastructure and failing to deliver necessary infrastructure accepted in the evidence base and transport policies of the relevant authorities as a requirement.

30 Indeed, in this regard, the VALP as proposed to be modified appears to be vulnerable to challenge.

SUMMARY

(HLM(A)) welcomes the amendment of the Policy T3 to include those key infrastructure elements from the Aylesbury Transport Strategy (ATS) upon which the Plan depends, specifically, the North East Link Road at Aylesbury within T3. The North East Link Road is essential to mitigate the impacts of the development proposed in the VALP at Aylesbury and, in particular, in Policy D1 of the Plan.
However, Policy T3 as proposed to be modified by MM210, has not addressed the fundamental issue of delivery of the North East Link Road. The VALP therefore remains unsound on the basis that:
* it is not positively prepared - providing no realistic strategy for delivering the North East Link Road;
* it is not justified - without certainty regarding the North East Link the evidence base suggests that the development strategy for Aylesbury is not adequately mitigated;
* it is not effective sound infrastructure delivery planning is necessary to satisfy the test of effectiveness.



Object

VALP Main Modifications

Representation ID: 3413

Received: 16/12/2019

Respondent: Natural England

Legally compliant? Not specified

Sound? Not specified

Representation Summary:

Policy D1 - Delivering Aylesbury Garden Town
As the main Policy for the Garden Town, we recommend addition to D1 to require all associated development to conserve the biodiversity on site and provide a biodiversity net gain through multifunctional green infrastructure. this is supported within the NPPF (paras. 170, 175 (d). and will bring the Policy in line with Policies NE1-9 and I1.

Full text:

Planning Consultation: Aylesbury Vale Local Plan - Main Modifications and Sustainability Appraisal Addendum
Thank you for your consultation on the above dated 05 November 2019
Natural England is a non-departmental public body. Our statutory purpose is to ensure that the natural environment is conserved, enhanced, and managed for the benefit of present and future generations, thereby contributing to sustainable development.
We would like to thank you for taking many of our comments from previous consultations on board.
Natural England is of the opinion that as it stands this Local Plan does not meet all of the tests of soundness. Natural England's primary concerns centre around Policy NE1 - Biodiversity and Geodiversity, as well as some of the new wording regarding Green Infrastructure.
Once this is addressed we would be happy to review our advice with regards to soundness of the plan.
We have also included some advisory comments, which should constitute best practice. Most are minor changes concerned with wording of certain policies.
QUESTIONS OF SOUNDNESS
Policy NE1 - Biodiversity and Geodiversity
The amalgamation of the biodiversity policies has resulted in a policy and supporting text which is currently unclear and open to interpretation. We are supportive of the Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes Natural Environment Partnership's (NEP) representations on this policy and supporting text. In particular;
* In (a), clarity needs to be provided that sites of national and international importance are being referred to here, as well as protected species. This section currently only mentions Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs). Inconsistent with NPPF para. 170.
* In (d), greater clarity on implementation of the Mitigation Hierarchy is required, to ensure on-site avoidance, mitigation and compensation is implemented prior to off-site. Ineffective and inconsistent with NPPF paras. 32, 174.


* In (e), definition of what is meant by 'regional' or 'local sites' - designated Local Wildlife Sites (LWS) and Local Geological Sites (LGS). Inconsistent with NPPF para 171.
* In (g), we require further information about expectation for planning when a development is proposed on a Priority Habitat. When this is the case, any mitigation should not be off-site. Where no Priority Habitat is involved, mitigation is expected to follow the mitigation hierarchy (as outlined in (d)). Several of the site allocations include or are directly adjacent to areas of Priority Habitat, so it is vital that this policy provides greater clarity which is less open to interpretation. NPPF para. 174.
* In (g), Natural England would like to see removal of section detailing where advantages to the local community outweigh adverse impacts to habitats and species. This is inconsistent with the NPPF and plays no role in protecting and enhancing biodiversity and geodiversity. NPPF para 175.

Unsound on the basis that it is ineffective and inconsistent with national policy.
Green Infrastructure (p.256) and Policy I1
In addition to the below comments on Green Infrastructure (GI), we are also supportive of the Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes NEP's additional representations on reinstating support for the NEP's GI Vision and Principles 2016 document.
Natural England does not agree with the VALP's modified definition of GI to include market squares and other hard surfaced areas as GI. This inclusion is contradictory to national policy and recognised definitions and practice of GI - including but not restricted to Planning Policy Guidance (PPG) definition of GI (July 2019), European GI Strategy, ANGSt guidance of 'natural' greenspace, and local definitions - including the Aylesbury Vale Green Infrastructure Strategy (2011) and the Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes Natural Environment Partnership's 2016 definitions.
Inclusion of areas of hardstanding as 'green infrastructure' will lead to GI requirements being fulfilled without any sign of real green space. It will allow interpretation of the policy to lead to less green areas being provided, and therefore less ecosystem and natural capital services brought forward.
Further to the above, the inclusion of transport links (in Policy T6) such as existing walking and cycle routes as GI is similarly incompatible with generally accepted definitions of GI. Natural England recognises that these routes could have the potential to provide GI connectivity, through such measures as tree or hedge planting along the route, but are not generally considered GI in their own right.
Unsound on the basis that the modifications are unjustified, ineffective and inconsistent with national policy.
ADVISORY
D-WHA001 Shenley Park
Due to the areas of ancient woodland (irreplaceable habitat), deciduous woodland (priority habitat) and 'no main habitat but additional habitats present' (priority habitat) on the site, we advise wording is put in to ensure habitats are not damaged or destroyed. In addition, we advise removal of 'where practicable' in regards to retention of habitats.
D-HAL003 RAF Halton
Wording should be added to the site specific description to highlight the neighbouring sites of ecological value, and to ensure they are not encroached onto.
The 50% green infrastructure on site should focus on providing a similar experience to the adjacent Ancient Woodland to keep people on-site. Mitigation options for recreational disturbance can include offsite works such as signage, fencing and footpath creation within the protected sites to minimise recreational disturbance such as trampling of vegetation, dog fouling, and disturbance of wildlife.
Policy D1 - Delivering Aylesbury Garden Town
As the main Policy for the Garden Town, we recommend addition to D1 to require all associated development to conserve the biodiversity on site and provide a biodiversity net gain through multifunctional green infrastructure. this is supported within the NPPF (paras. 170, 175 (d). and will bring the Policy in line with Policies NE1-9 and I1.
Site Allocations
Several of our points can be applied across all of the site allocation policies;
* We recommend removal of all mentions of 'where practicable' in reference to the retention of existing habitats, woodland and hedgerows, and creation of linkages of surrounding wildlife assets. In order to comply with the NPPF, para. 175, 'if significant harm to biodiversity resulting from a development cannot be avoided, adequately mitigated, or, as a last resort, compensated for, then planning permission should be refused'. The NPPF also stresses the importance (para 171) of taking a 'strategic approach to maintaining and enhancing networks of habitats and green infrastructure'. By including the words 'where practicable' you allow for the possibly of destruction of priority habitats and the loss of biodiversity.
* It is Natural England's opinion that the vast majority of the site allocations should require an ecological management plan and subsequent ecological mitigation to be provided. Unless you know there is mitigation required, then remove the 'as required'. The discrepancy on how biodiversity is considered between site allocations is currently inconsistent with NPPF para. 170 and Policy NE1.
* All site allocations should require the provision of a measurable net gain in biodiversity, to remain consistent with para. 170 (d) of the NPPF.

Habitats Regulations Assessment
Natural England provided a response on 3rd June 2019 agreeing with the conclusions reached in the HRA and Appropriate Assessment.
We would be happy to comment further should the need arise but if in the meantime you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact us.
For any queries relating to the specific advice in this letter only please contact me at eleanor.sweet-escott@naturalengland.org.uk. For any new consultations, or to provide further information on this consultation please send your correspondences to consultations@naturalengland.org.uk.

Yours Sincerely,
Eleanor Sweet-Escott
Lead Adviser, Sustainable Development
Thames Solent Team

Object

VALP Main Modifications

Representation ID: 3423

Received: 17/12/2019

Respondent: Mr Phil Yerby

Legally compliant? Not specified

Sound? Not specified

Representation Summary:

(Officer's summary)

Of particular concern are the inconsistencies in what is claimed in delivery times
for critical infrastructure which directly conflicts with already published draft
s106 documents for both AGT4 (specifically planning app 16/00424) and AGT3
(specifically planning app 16/01040). Detail is within the submission from HFAG.

Change suggested by respondent:

Not provided

Full text:

Aylesbury Vale District Council Local Plan Examination
Main Modifications
I am a former Aylesbury Vale District Council (AVDC) cabinet member and local
District Councillor for Stoke Mandeville, Weston Turville and Stoke Mandeville. I
founded the Hampden Fields Action Group in 2011 and continue to be an active
member (I fully support the HFAG submission to you). As such I have taken a
very active interest in the development of the various iterations of Aylesbury
Plan for the past ten years as far back as the South East Plan which was made
defunct in 2010. I came before you during your 2018 public hearings into the
VALP regarding AGT3 and the Transport Strategy.
I would like to make the following points in consideration of the Main
Modifications proposed by AVDC which I hope will assist in drawing together
some key elements.
Countywide Model
This model has been significantly criticised from at least five different
independent sources. Those independent assessments have been made by:
1. Transport Planning Practice, an Independent Transport Consultancy
with expertise in modelling, especially Mr David Thompson who
appeared before you on 20th July 2018 and has revisited the VALP
since the publication of the Main Modifications;
2. Mouchel Ltd on behalf of Highways England in correspondence to
BCC obtained under Freedom of Information (attached to this
letter);
3. Milton Keynes Council in a letter to the Inspector dated 16th
December regarding the VALP main modifications (obtained from
Milton Keynes public records);
4. Aecom itself, BCC's own transport consultants in correspondence to
BCC and contained within supporting VALP documentation
5. Dr Cullen Riley in documentation on behalf of La Salle LLP and to
the public hearing meeting of 20th July 2018
I will not repeat those very clear and consistent criticisms here but it must now
be clear that the model is not suitable for the purposes it is being used for. We
all understand that in some circumstances these limitations may be overcome
and a non webTAG compliant model can be used for some Local Plans. However,
in the case of the VALP, where such significant infrastructure requirements are
proposed, the approach is unsound. NPPG Guidance "Transport Evidence Bases
in Plan Making" published 13th March 2015 makes it very clear on this specific
point:
"How is the WebTAG approach useful in the transport assessment
of the Local Plan?
An assessment should adopt the principles of WebTAG by assessing the
potential impacts of development within the framework of WebTAG
objectives. For most Local Plan assessments the full methodology
recommended will not be appropriate. The Highways Agency's Project
Appraisal Report System may provide some useful guidance on methods
more appropriate in these cases. Assessments involving major new
transport infrastructure should, however, employ the methods set out in
WebTAG."
It is common ground that the VALP contains "major new transport infrastructure"
including roads that have been deemed "essential" in order to be built on Level 3
floodplain. The argument that the Countywide Model is "based on WebTAG
principles" fundamentally fails to acknowledge this guidance when taken as a
whole, the significant and vast underperformance of this model within the Local
Market Validation Report and the margin of non-compliance is significant i.e.
screenline and journey time validation among many others.
In addition, it is not in dispute that the base model is now six years out of date.
Aylesbury has undergone significant underlaying traffic growth since that time and
the model underperforms in key areas where major development is proposed, e.g.
Halton/Wendover.
The model needs to be updated, WebTAG compliance achieved and new model
runs presented to the public and the Inspector.
Aylesbury Transport Model (ATM)
In some circumstances, weaknesses in the broad countywide models may be
overcome by more local, WebTAG compliant models which focus on a specific area
or town. In such a situation, the more detailed local model could be relied on to
'bridge gaps' in the broader model. In the case of the VALP no such models exist.
The Aylesbury Transport Model has only been validated for one small section of
the town (the Eastern section) yet it is being used to justify the Aylesbury
Transport strategy and significant housing growth not only around the town. Such
an approach cannot be justified.
The Inspector will be aware that a WebTAG compliant model must be in place
before any public money will be invested. That means the ATM must be in the
process of being updated or certainly should be. Why have any new or updated
model runs/outputs not been released to the public and the Inspector?
Aylesbury Transport Strategy (ATS)
The Aylesbury Transport Strategy has now become part of the VALP. There is no
evidence that is before the public or the inspector that the ATS can be justified.
The premise of cross-town commuting is assumed in the ATS but no supporting
evidence exists beyond one Origin and Destinations survey from 2014. This 'myth'
has been passed on and amplified by BCC and AVDC in various documents as far
back as the 2001 Aylesbury Land Use and Transport Strategy (ALUTS). No
"reasonable alternative" has been considered from the outset.
The Inspector will note that it appears the VALP no longer relies on Bucks
County Council's (BCC) flagship Transport policy Local Transport Plan 4
(LTP4). At paragraph 46 of the interim findings the Inspector stated "The
Buckinghamshire Local Transport Plan 4 is not even part of the evidence base for
VALP". In the main modifications document all reference to LTP4 has been
removed. It appears BCC have no confidence in a document relied on previously
to support the Aylesbury Transport Strategy and VALP.
At the Public Hearing on 20th July 2018 the BCC representative reassured the
hearing that the "latest data shows that it [cross town commuting] is significant".
I noted the use of the present tense to suggest that such data was already at an
advanced stage of preparedness - why else would the BCC representative have
made such a claim? Nearly 18 months on, again I cannot find any updates released
to the public or to the Inspector.
Thus, there remains no documented evidence before the Inspector to demonstrate
that the Aylesbury Transport Strategy has been positively prepared or will be
effective. Additionally, there appears not to have been any consideration of
reasonable alternatives, which means that the plan cannot be justified.
Road Alignments
At paragraph 50 of the Inspector's Interim findings he states:
"If, in the modifications which the Council should prepare in
response to my recommendations, it is decided to show what could
be interpreted as a precise alignment, the Council will need to bear
in mind NPPF paragraph 152. This advises that significant impacts
on any of the dimensions of sustainable development should be
avoided and, wherever possible, alternative options which reduce or
eliminate such impacts should be pursued."
I cannot be sure what the Council's position is regarding this point. It appears
not to have been addressed. It is clear from specific planning applications
relating to AGT3 (AVDC reference 16/1040/AOP) and AGT4 (AVDC ref
16/0424/AOP) that for the ELR(S) and the Southern Link Road the road
alignments in VALP are those already approved at Committee by the Council as
exact alignments. Reasonable alternatives, including those that would have a
lesser impact on the flood plain, have not been considered. (The inspector may
want to refer back to Hampden Fields Action Group's evidence on what they and
I regard as inadequate sequential testing).
Deliverability
Like others I remain concerned about the 'book end' approach to costing of
major infrastructure projects which plan to be delivered in such a short
timescale. Even if we were to accept the Countywide model in its entirety we
know from the model runs that all the infrastructure contained in Run 2 is
required for what they believe to be adequate mitigation. What is clear is that if
any part of that infrastructure fails to come forward the whole strategy fails.
Of particular concern are the inconsistencies in what is claimed in delivery times
for critical infrastructure which directly conflicts with already published draft
s106 documents for both AGT4 (specifically planning app 16/00424) and AGT3
(specifically planning app 16/01040). Detail is within the submission from HFAG.
Both North East Aylesbury Link Road (NEALR) and the Western Link Road (WLR)
are now claimed to be deliverable within the plan period when previously they
were not. According to page 92 of the Main Modifications document the NEALR
is to be funded by the "Oxford to Cambridge Expressway". This statement
appears to lack any publicly documented evidential base given the preferred
route alignment announced by the Government. Whilst it is stated that the
Western Link Road is "likely to require grants e.g. DfT.".
BCC have applied for a Housing Infrastructure Fund grant which, according to
the BCC Cabinet papers from February 2019, they anticipated getting approval
for in June 2019 but no such funding has been announced, possibly because of
the lack of a webTAG compliant basis for the request.
Even in the most optimistic case that the grant is given in full it remains unclear
that the infrastructure mitigation costs can be covered, let alone delivered on
time. Accordingly this section of the plan is not positively prepared.
What must be done to make the VALP sound?
1. A webTAG compliant model must be developed using 2019 (or 2020) as
the base year including up to date actual traffic counts. It must accurately
reflect the current situation on the Aylesbury network as it is required to
by NPPG. It must be fully validated given the infrastructure requirements
of the plan.
2. New model runs must be completed and made available to the public for
scrutiny.
3. Alternative road infrastructure should be considered within the updated
model runs.
4. Alternative alignments that have a lesser impact on the floodplain should
also be considered.
5. It naturally follows that the Aylesbury Transport Strategy should be
revisited in line with points 1-4 above.
6. Funding and timing of key infrastructure needs to be demonstrated to be
deliverable.
I hope this assists the Inspector with his examination. I am very happy to
provide more information should he wish and am willing to attend any Public
hearing should he feel one is necessary.

Object

VALP Main Modifications

Representation ID: 3491

Received: 17/12/2019

Respondent: Stoke Mandeville Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group

Legally compliant? Not specified

Sound? Not specified

Representation Summary:

The changed wording of sub-para (a) is unclear and offers insufficient detail to guide development, i.e. the meaning of the phrase '...communities which support and enhance existing communities'. More clarity and detail are required. It would be in keeping with Policy S2 and para 3.22 for this changed wording to acknowledge the composite nature of Aylesbury Garden Town and refer directly to the parish communities most affected by the AGT development areas.

Full text:

See attached document which is submitted on behalf of Stoke Mandeville Neighbourhood Plan Group

Object

VALP Main Modifications

Representation ID: 3525

Received: 16/12/2019

Respondent: Gleeson Homes Ltd

Agent: Nexus Planning Ltd

Legally compliant? No

Sound? No

Representation Summary:

We support the revised housing number but object to the following criteria:
 e - developers cannot ensure buildings are occupied by 'local' businesses';
 g - references to SPD requirements is not clear;
 h - it is not appropriate for best and most versatile agricultural land to be used for green infrastructure;
 j - the proposed technological references are not supported by evidence.

Change suggested by respondent:

Changes Sought
Amend Policy D1 (as modified) as follows:
i. Amend Criterion e to delete the proposed reference to 'local' employment which is not effective and is therefore unsound;
ii. Amend Criterion g to state that new garden communities should 'maximise pedestrian and cycle opportunities to integrate............';
iii. Amend Criterion g to make it clear that the SPD referred to relates specifically to Site Ref D-AGT1, or simply delete this last sentence which is unnecessary given that the need for a masterplan SPD for D-AGT1 is acknowledged repeatedly through the VALP as modified;
iv. Amend Criterion h to delete the proposed insertion relevant to BAMV agricultural land, which is not supported by national policy and has the potential to undermine proper place-making / masterplanning. Alternatively amend the sentence to identify all issues that need to be considered as part of the place-making / masterplanning process;
v. Amend Criterion j to delete the proposed references to matters addressed elsewhere in VALP policies, or to future technologies where there is no evidence to support the requirements, or any guidance (existing or reasonably foreseeable) to indicate how an applicant or decision-maker should respond - a requirement of paragraph 154 of the NPPF (2012).

Full text:

See attachments.

Object

VALP Main Modifications

Representation ID: 3531

Received: 15/12/2019

Respondent: Hampden Fields Action Group

Legally compliant? Yes

Sound? No

Representation Summary:

The Plan lacks forward-looking strategy and vision on
transport. A prime example is the lost opportunity to
integrate the Oxford-Cambridge Expressway and East-West
Rail into the District's transport plans (see also MM008 and
MM031). Nor are the collection of proposed link roads
'strategic', being a mixture of single and dual carriageway
roads with maximum speeds as low as 30mph in some places.
2. Nor is the Plan sustainable as it will lead to increased
traffic congestion on major Primary Public Transport
Corridors and other key points around Aylesbury,
particularly the Walton Street gyratory.
3. As a result, the Plan will not support economic prosperity or
wellbeing as claimed.

Change suggested by respondent:

Full remedial action to correct the errors and gaps in the transport evidence base and modelling,
followed by a revised set of proposals including funding plans and timetable, with public consultation
on these modifications.

Full text:

see attachments

Object

VALP Main Modifications

Representation ID: 3670

Received: 17/12/2019

Respondent: David Lock Associates

Legally compliant? No

Sound? No

Representation Summary:

Hallam notes that the Council intends to produce the 'AGT Framework and Infrastructure SPD' as stated in point (b) of Policy D1. The PPG states that plans should assess deficiencies in existing and future infrastructure and set policies for how these deficiencies will be addressed. The inappropriateness generally of deferring policy to SPD is noted by the Inspector. It is not therefore acceptable or sound that the delivery of key infrastructure such as of the North East Link Road (or for that matter other infrastructure) to be deferred to the proposed AGT Framework and Infrastructure SPD.

Change suggested by respondent:

Policy D1 should be amended to
* to cross refer to and require the delivery of the key infrastructure measures listed in T3;
* to confirm that developer contributions will be required to all T3 Aylesbury Infrastructure requirements;
* that such developer contributions will be required to be secured from existing allocations and through co-operation and enabling development with and in respect of land associated with the delivery of the North East Link Road. To this end specific reference should be made in D1 to site BIE as having the potential to progress the delivery of the North East Link Road.
A modest high quality allocation on a part of BIE021 would provide a delivery mechanism for the North East Link Road.
A modification to the Policies Map for Aylesbury to include an indicative route for the North East Link - along with the other 9 links listed in T3 and shown on the Policies Map.

Full text:

Nick Freer (David Lock) reps for Hallam Land - Buckingham
17 Dec 2019

FULL TEXT
Dear sirs
Further to the ongoing consultation in relation to the VALP Main Modifications please find attached representations on behalf of Hallam Land Management (Buckingham). They relate to five MMs specifically MM70, MM82, MM83, MM84, MM210. I look forward to your further consideration of the representations. Kind regards
Nick Freer
Chairman

REP to MM070

NO SUMMARY PROVIDED.

FULL TEXT

1 Hallam Land Management have set out representations in relation to MM082, 083 and 084 in relation to sites BUC043, BUC046, MM006, BUC051 and BUC025.

2 A series of suggested changes are proposed to make the plan sound primarily:

* the deletion of BUC043, BUC046 and MM06 alongside the deletion of BUC051 (MM083); or

* in the alternative the reinstatement of BUC051 and the inclusion also of BUC025 - to maximise developer contributions towards the delivery of key infrastructure.

3 The adoption of these suggested changes to make the VALP sound will require consequential amendment of the list of sites in policy D2 (MM070).


REP to MM082

SUMMARY


HLM(B) consider that proposed modifications MM082 (BUC043), MM084 (BUC046) - amending policies BUC043 and BUC046 to secure contributions towards unexplained infrastructure are insufficient to make either policy sound, nor MM006. As such the VALP should be further modified by the deletion of all of the Buckingham and Maids Moreton allocations in favour of their allocation through the ongoing Buckingham Neighbourhood Plan revision by which time there would be more prospect of an adequate evidence base in relation to the transport impacts of each allocation. Even if the Inspector is satisfied that the evidence base justifies the allocations, there remains the question of how the identified mitigation strategy - where the WLR is prioritised - will be delivered. In this circumstance, to ensure the effectiveness of the Plan and meet its obligations in respect of infrastructure delivery the VALP should be modified to maximise contributions through further allocations.

FULL TEXT

1 AVDC propose modifications to both BUC043 and BUC046 in relation to the Buckingham Transport Strategy: "A financial contribution will be needed towards finding appropriate elements of the Buckingham Transport Strategy".

2 HLM consider that this is a wholly insufficient response to seek to make the allocations sound.

3 HLM (B) has set out detailed representations on MM083 - the deletion of BUC051. Such representations should be read in conjunction with HLMs objections to MM082 and MM084.

4 Of particular note, HLMs representations on MM083 highlight:
* the conclusions of AVDC's existing evidence base which is that there are significant congestion issues in Buckingham Town Centre already
* the conclusions of the same evidence base that the Western Link Road has been set out as the most effective means of addressing existing issues and mitigating growth in Buckingham;
* the absence of any evidence base to conclude that BUC043 and BUC046, individually or collectively, with or without BUC051 or BUC025, will not also have a significant effect on an existing congested network;
* the absence of reference to the WLR in the MM210 listing mitigation schemes in an amended policy T3; and
* that BUC051 has totally unreasonably been singly and inappropriately ruled out of the Buckingham strategy - despite the positive role that it (or the alternative/additional BUC025) might play

5 Given the above, a requirement for an unspecified contribution towards unspecified works from a development without the benefit of a specific assessment of its impacts on a congested network, fails all tests of soundness. There isn't the evidence to justify.

REP to MM083

SUMMARY

In conclusion, the proposed strategy for Buckingham sites including the deletion of BUC051 (and its non-replacement with BUC025) is unsound because it is completely unsupported by the evidence base. In circumstances where the evidence base says that the Town Centre is already congested and that the most effective means of mitigation is the WLR, the progression of the Main Mods is unsound with no reference to the WLR and the retention of sites BUC043 and BUC046. Moreover, in the absence of modelling, the allocations give every impression of adding to (without mitigating) town centre congestion and town wide journey times.
Not only is the strategy, as proposed to be modified, unsound on the basis of a lack of evidence and justification, the deletion of BUC051, the lack of inclusion of BUC025 and the absence of reference to the WLR in MM210, also results in the Plan being unsound in terms of its failure to plan positively for the infrastructure that has been identified as being necessary.

FULL TEXT


1 Hallam Land Management Buckingham (HLM(B)) controls land owned by New College Oxford to the west and south of Buckingham and including sites BUC025 and BUC051. New College Oxford owns significant additional land to the West of Buckingham, capable of accommodating much of the proposed Western Bypass. The WLR can be delivered within the control of HLM(B) and New College.

2 Both prior, and subsequent, to the publication of the suggested changes to the Plan by AVDC - which addressed BUC051 and the Western bypass - HLM wrote to seek a dialogue to discuss the both of these issues - along with the failings perceived by HLM in the evidence base that was being presented to support what are now MM083 (BUC051), MM082 (BUC043), MM084 (BUC046), MM210 (Policy T3), MM205 (para 7.10) and consequentially MM070 (Policy D1).

3 I enclose a copy of correspondence to AVDC (Appendix 1) which highlighted the strong need for that evidence base to be reinforced prior to the publication of the Proposed Modifications. Otherwise, it was indicated to AVDC, that it will be difficult in the extreme to make representations on the proposed modifications relating to Buckingham - leading to considerable risk of the Mods and hence VALP being unsupported by available evidence and potentially liable to challenge.

4 No response was received, and no such discussions have been entertained by AVDC or BCC. The failings in terms of soundness and/or legal compliance set out in these representations therefore have, regrettably, had to be made without the benefit of such dialogue or additional evidence.

5 The principal additional evidence produced in support of the Proposed Modifications since the Examination is understood to be:
* the Revised County Modelling for Buckingham (Addendum to the Phase 3 Modelling Report) (3 April 2019) (ED214B)
* the Buckingham Town Centre Modelling report (24 May 2019) (ED214A)
* BCC's advice note to AVDC (ED215)

6 Having completed these studies, AVDC propose the deletion of BUC051 (MM083) - the reserve site allocated in the Buckingham Neighbourhood Plan - and retains BUC043 and BUC046 neither of which were allocated in the Buckingham Neighbourhood Plan - albeit with an additional obligation to contribute to transport.

7 Further consideration was given to BUC051 in the light of the Inspectors Initial Findings (IIF) that BUC051 might be considered to be dependent upon the Western Link Road (WLR) in the Buckingham Transport Strategy but that there was no policy seeking to deliver that Link Road. The expectation was that AVDC would - as has been the case in Aylesbury - add in those key elements of infrastructure into T3 through a Main Modification. To be clear the Inspector did NOT consider to what extent other allocations in Buckingham (BUC043 and BUC046) as well as Maids Moreton (MM006) were also dependent on key elements of the Buckingham Transport Strategy (BTS) including the Western Link Road (WLR).

8 Just by way of context, the WLR is identified as necessary for Buckingham as a whole in the Infrastructure Development Plan - an expectation that has not been updated since the Examination hearings.

9 Equally important, in terms of context, the Buckingham Transport Strategy considered the demands of growth at Buckingham as a whole - BUC043, BUC046, BUC051 and BUC025 (although the latter was not allocated in the submission VALP). Para 4.4.2 of the BTS ranked the Western Link Road as being of highest priority followed by the West Street downgrade. Other route upgrades and Left turn slip/junction improvements were given less priority. Funding of the priority schemes was acknowledged to be likely to rely principally on section 106 funding (BTS para 4.5.3).

10 AVDC's justification for deleting BUC051 is set out in Examination Document ED215B published alongside the Proposed Modifications. AVDC argues that it has changed its mind regarding the acceptability of phasing the development of BUC51 to take account of the WLR and now "detailed town centre modelling shows that BUC051 would have an unacceptable impact on the town centre even if the development was phased" (ED214A).

11 Further, AVDC argues that the only way to secure the mitigation of the town centre impacts would be the WLR - but this could not be funded by 300 dwellings (here the County explicitly mooted a much larger allocation to secure the WLR).

12 This conclusion was reached following specific consideration of BUC051 and its specific impacts on the Town Centre in the County Councils addendum to its Phase 3 Modelling report and the Town Centre Modelling Report - work that was not carried out in respect of any of the remaining Buckingham allocations.

13 Apparently as a makeweight, or secondary argument, AVDC argues that there is no need for BUC051 as a reserve site in the manner anticipated in the Buckingham Neighbourhood Plan because the BNP sites had or were coming forward and additional development should be allocated on the edge of MK to reflect the Inspectors Initial Findings. The allocation of 1150 homes at Shenley Park (D0-WHA001, EC125) - well above the gap identified by the Inspector allows AVDC to delete BUC51 but equally makes the point that there would be no harm whatsoever in the allocation of WHA001 and BUC051 or indeed other additional sites at Buckingham to deliver infrastructure (e.g. BUC025). The two locations should not be linked given the scale of need and the consequent undermining of the Buckingham Neighbourhood Plan by the de- allocation of its reserve site.

14 HLM and its transport consultants have considered the additional evidence now produced in support of the deletion of BUC051 and conclude that MM083 is simply not supported by the evidence base that is presented. The deletion of the site - a site already tested and found sound having been examined in a Neighbourhood Plan context - through the VALP is simply not justified by the evidence.

15 The Buckingham Transport Strategy is based on all sites coming forward and puts in place a section 106 contribution-based strategy to deliver what is needed to meet both the demands of the planned growth but also, explicitly, the existing traffic constraints and difficulties in the town - in particular, in the town centre. The key identified requirement is the WLR to facilitate the down-grading of West Street.

16 Perhaps the biggest issue here is the level of congestion in the Town centre. Traffic in Buckingham town centre is highlighted as an existing issue in the adopted Buckingham Neighbourhood Plan and Buckingham Transport Strategy, and indeed the most recent modelling (ED214A). One of the issues is the performance of the two key town centre junctions - the focus of the latest Town centre modelling report (ED214A). ED214A confirms that both junctions will be operating beyond capacity in 2033 - even with no new development in Buckingham. It concludes that each development scenario tested would be unacceptable.

17 It apparently concludes that the traffic effects of the Proposed Modifications, even with no BUC051, would therefore be unacceptable on the town centre.

18 No evidence is presented in the additional modelling that the Proposed modification strategy (BUC43, BUC46 and MM06) has an acceptable impact on the Town Centre. The test has not been done and no evidence prepared to show that the suggested modifications are acceptable in terms of town centre impact.

19 Equally, none of the assessments have considered whether BUC043 or BUCO46 or MM06 - if treated in isolation (as BUC051 has been) - would have more or less of an impact on journey times in Buckingham than BUC025 or BUC051. The evidence is missing.

20 Nor has any testing been undertaken to determine the relative impacts of each of the VALP sites on congestion in the Town Centre which is already an identified problem in the evidence base. Intuitively BUC043 would have a substantial effect on the Moreton Road/Market Square junction. Had assessments been undertaken of individual sites (other than BUC051) in the latest modelling (they have not), it is likely that they would have shown that BUC043/BUC46/MM06 would equally have had unacceptable impact on the town centre.

21 The two sites with the comprehensive evidence base are the two sites omitted from the VALP (BUC025 and BUC051). Those with no substantive evidence are retained in the VALP - at the same time undermining the Buckingham Neighbourhood Plan.

22 Moreover, even if BUC051 were to be deleted from the Plan there is no evidence based reason not to replace BUC051 with BUC025. BCC did consider BUC025 (South of the A421). BCC considers in its advice that:
* it would have less impact on the TC so not unacceptable on highway grounds [i.e is perfectly acceptable];
* but "would not assist reducing traffic through the town centre in that it would not contribute to strategic infrastructure such as the Western Relief Road nor the Buckingham Transport Strategy". This, as a rationale or evidence, is nonsense as any modification to replace BUC051 with BUC025 would have with it a policy obligation to contribute to the BTS - just as is the case in MM82 and 84 - where that financial requirement is now required for sites BUC043 and BUC046.

23 While the Main Mods do not propose to allocate BUC025, notwithstanding the evidence that AVDC assembled, the allocation of BUC025 instead of, or as well as, BUC051 and in addition to BUC043, BUC046 and MM006, would make a strong contribution to delivering transport infrastructure through increased contributions for the Buckingham Transport Strategy. BUC025 was considered entirely suitable for development in the AVDC HELAA with a potential yield, in that assessment, of 360 dwellings.

24 In conclusion, the proposed strategy for Buckingham sites including the deletion of BUC051 (and its non-replacement with BUC025) is unsound because it is completely unsupported by the evidence base. In circumstances where the evidence base says that the Town Centre is already congested and that the most effective means of mitigation is the WLR, the progression of the Main Mods is unsound with no reference to the WLR and the retention of sites BUC043 and BUC046. Moreover, in the absence of modelling, the allocations give every impression of adding to (without mitigating) town centre congestion and town wide journey times.

25 Before there can be any possibility of the strategy, as amended by the PMs, being found sound, additional work must be completed to:
* provide an evidence base on the impact of the remaining allocations (BUC043, BUC046 and MM006) on the town centre individually and collectively - none exists;
* inform whether all allocations (including BUC025 and BUC051), to secure the mitigation strategy, or none, to allow allocations to come through the BNP, should be pursued;
* set out the specific benefits of each mitigation measure and to base the inclusion of schemes on that evidence. In this regard the BTS affords greatest priority to the WLR (above other schemes) as being the most effective means of mitigation for the town - because it frees up the opportunity to downgrade Bridge/West Street and the High Street.

26 Not only is the strategy, as proposed to be modified, unsound on the basis of a lack of evidence and justification, the deletion of BUC051, the lack of inclusion of BUC025 and the absence of reference to the WLR in MM210, also results in the Plan being unsound in terms of its failure to plan positively for the infrastructure that has been identified as being necessary.

27 The best opportunity to deliver the infrastructure that should be included in the Plan - the WLR - is to maximise the contributions from development.

28 The only sound alternative is to not allocate any sites at Buckingham to meet the identified requirement and to devolve the allocation of sites to the next review of the Buckingham NP which is already underway. This is on the basis that there is simply not a sufficient evidence base to proceed with any of the allocations at Buckingham in the VALP. By this means opportunities for positive planning and integrated planning to deliver the WLR etc. could be realised through the NP rather than wasted in the unevidenced and incomplete strategy in the VALP.

29 Critical in this regard is the importance attached to town centre junction issues - and the problems now experienced - and the absence of any comparable assessment of the impact of the BUC43 and BUC46 and MM06 sites on the town centre. Only BUC051 has been assessed. Indeed, ED215A appears to conclude that any development scenario will make matters worse - exponentially - without a proper mitigation strategy.

30 The made Buckingham Neighbourhood Plan (made in October 2015) has proved highly effective in delivering substantial, locally supported, housing numbers. Such a course of action would avert the current need for more evidence prior to the adoption of the VALP. Instead the VALP process could proceed but could divert Buckingham allocations to the NP review, the existing NP having successfully allocated and delivered housing in the absence of an up-to-date Local Plan.

31 That a Neighbourhood Plan is a proper and established and effective route in other places as well as in Buckingham is evident in the experience, in the immediate vicinity at Thame. The Thame Neighbourhood Plan in adjoining South Oxfordshire has likewise successfully allocated sites for some 775 new homes and associated infrastructure - delivering the strategic policies of the District wide plan.

32 Equally the WLR can be delivered within the control of HLM(B) and New College - and can then be included in the VALP or worked through in the update of the Buckingham Neighbourhood Plan that has already commenced.

33 In setting out these observations HLM (B) is very aware that that addendum to the Sustainability Appraisal fails to consider any of the implications of the amended development strategy for Buckingham on the ability to deliver the key infrastructure that the evidence base demands. The SA Addendum simply considers the rather esoteric and immaterial question of whether including scheme details (across the VALP) as words in the VALP is positive or negative.

34 Overall the proposed Main modifications and resultant policies may well be considered to have potential for challenge.


REP TO MMO84

SUMMARY

HLM(B) consider that proposed modifications MM082 (BUC043), MM084 (BUC046) - amending policies BUC043 and BUC046 to secure contributions towards unexplained infrastructure are insufficient to make either policy sound, nor MM006. As such the VALP should be further modified by the deletion of all of the Buckingham and Maids Moreton allocations in favour of their allocation through the ongoing Buckingham Neighbourhood Plan revision by which time there would be more prospect of an adequate evidence base in relation to the transport impacts of each allocation. Even if the Inspector is satisfied that the evidence base justifies the allocations, there remains the question of how the identified mitigation strategy - where the WLR is prioritised - will be delivered. In this circumstance, to ensure the effectiveness of the Plan and meet its obligations in respect of infrastructure delivery the VALP should be modified to maximise contributions through further allocations.

FULL TEXT

1 AVDC propose modifications to both BUC043 and BUC046 in relation to the Buckingham Transport Strategy: "A financial contribution will be needed towards finding appropriate elements of the Buckingham Transport Strategy".

2 HLM consider that this is a wholly insufficient response to seek to make the allocations sound.

3 HLM (B) has set out detailed representations on MM083 - the deletion of BUC051. Such representations should be read in conjunction with HLMs objections to MM082 and MM084.

4 Of particular note, HLMs representations on MM082 and 084 highlight:
* the conclusions of AVDC's existing evidence base which is that there are significant congestion issues in Buckingham Town Centre already
the conclusions of the same evidence base that the Western Link Road has been set out as the most effective means of addressing existing issues and mitigating growth in Buckingham;
* the absence of any evidence base to conclude that BUC043 and BUC046, individually or collectively, with or without BUC051 or BUC025, will not also have a significant effect on an existing congested network;
* the absence of reference to the WLR in the MM210 listing mitigation schemes in an amended policy T3; and
* that BUC051 has totally unreasonably been singly and inappropriately ruled out of the Buckingham strategy - despite the positive role that it (or the alternative/additional BUC025) might play

5 Given the above, a requirement for an unspecified contribution towards unspecified works from a development without the benefit of a specific assessment of its impacts on a congested network, fails all tests of soundness. There isn't the evidence to justify. There isn't an effective mitigation strategy and hence it is neither effective or positively prepared.

REP TO MM0210

SUMMARY

Hallam Land Management (Buckingham) (HLM(B)) do not believe that the Main Modifications are sufficient to make the VALP sound, the Inspector having found this aspect of the Plan to be unsound in his IIF. T3 is therefore fundamentally unsound in failing to respond positively to the planning and delivery of infrastructure and failing to deliver necessary infrastructure accepted in the evidence base.
The infrastructure that must be included in the Plan according to the evidence base is the Western Link Road.

To deliver this - all allocations at Buckingham or Maids Moreton should be deleted to ensure that a comprehensive approach to delivery and allocations comes forward through the neighbourhood Plan OR that all sites including BUC051 and BUC025 are allocated to ensure that there is an effective policy to deliver the contributions to secure the WLR. The WLR can be delivered within the control of HLM(B) and New College.

FULL TEXT

1 The Inspector found that the Transport policies in the Submission Draft of the VALP were significantly lacking. While Policy T1 and T6a required the implementation of the proposals in the Buckinghamshire LTP4 and the Buckingham Transport Strategy "none of these proposals are specified in the Plan" (IIF para 46). This would be unsound because the NPPF requires that the plan "should make clear what is intended to happen in the areas over the life of the plan, where and when this will occur and how it will be delivered. It points out the need to identify the short, medium and long-term transport proposals across all modes as a key issue...".

2 Key within the Inspectors' findings is that "the key infrastructure requirements on which the delivery of the plan depends should be contained in the Local Plan itself. VALP does not do this and so is unsound as it stands".

3 In the first instance, Policy T3 seeks simply to "actively support key transport proposals" and will "support local transport schemes that provide benefits to the District". If the delivery of the listed infrastructure is prejudiced then permission would not be granted.

4 T3, as proposed to be modified, is therefore no more than a safeguarding policy rather than a policy that delivers the infrastructure identified as a requirement of the Plan's development strategy and the Plan's evidence base.

5 The inspector in the IIF noted that policy T1 required developments to implement LTP and BTS proposals. Policy T1 - following its modification by MM206 - will no longer do so. Policy T3 certainly does not do so in its proposed form.

6 Hallam Land Management (Buckingham) (HLM(B)) do not believe that the Main Modifications are sufficient to make the VALP sound, the Inspector having found this aspect of the Plan to be unsound in his IIF. T3 is therefore fundamentally unsound in failing to respond positively to the planning and delivery of infrastructure and failing to deliver necessary infrastructure
accepted in the evidence base and transport policies of the relevant authorities as a requirement.

7 Indeed, in this regard, the VALP as proposed to be modified appears to be vulnerable to challenge.

8 Specifically, MM210 sets out as required works - the Buckingham Town Wide cycle network improvement (short term) and the Buckingham to Silverstone Park cycle route (short term), A413 Buckingham Road improvements (medium term) and Buckingham left turn slip at A422/A413/Stratford Road Roundabout (medium term).

9 There is a considerable evidence base in relation to transport issues and strategy in Buckingham - not least the made Buckingham Neighbourhood Plan and in particular the Buckingham Transport Strategy and VALP IDP. Clear and robust conclusions are drawn.

10 The Western Link Road (WLR) is identified as necessary for Buckingham as a whole in the Infrastructure Development Plan - an expectation that has not been updated since the Examination hearings.

11 Equally important the Buckingham Transport Strategy considered the demands of growth at Buckingham as a whole - BUC043, BUC046, BUC051 and BUC025 (although the latter was not allocated in the submission VALP). Para 4.4.2 of the BTS ranked the Western Link Road as being of highest priority followed by the West Street downgrade. Other route upgrades and Left turn slip/junction improvements were given less priority. Funding of the priority schemes was acknowledged to be likely to rely principally on section 106 funding (4.5.3).

12 The Buckingham Transport Strategy is based on all sites coming forward and puts a section 106 contribution-based strategy in place to deliver what is needed to meet both the demands of the planned growth but also, explicitly, the existing traffic constraints and difficulties in the town - in particular the town centre. The key identified requirement is the WLR to facilitate the down grading of West Street.

13 This is a clear evidence base with a clear strategy for delivery.

14 Since the examination hearings the principal additional evidence produced in support of the Proposed Modifications is understood to be:
* the Revised County Modelling for Buckingham (Addendum to the Phase 3 Modelling Report) (3 April 2019) (ED214B)
* the Buckingham Town Centre Modelling report (24 May 2019) (ED214A)
* BCC's advice note to AVDC (ED215)

15 None of this additional evidence alters the conclusions of the BTS. Indeed, the evidence reinforces it as it concludes that the biggest issue here is the level of congestion in the Town centre. Traffic in Buckingham town centre is highlighted as an existing issue in the adopted Buckingham Neighbourhood Plan and Buckingham Transport Strategy, and indeed the most recent modelling (ED214A). One of the issues is the performance of the two key town centre junctions - the focus of the latest Town centre modelling report (ED214A). ED214A confirms that both junctions will be operating beyond capacity in 2033 - even with no new development in Buckingham. It concludes that each development scenario tested would be unacceptable.

16 One opportunity to deliver the infrastructure that should be included in the Plan - the WLR - is to maximise the contributions from development as is set out in representations made by Hallam in respect of MMs083, 082 and 084. The WLR can be delivered within the control of HLM(B) and New College - and can then be included in the VALP or worked through in the update of the Buckingham Neighbourhood Plan that has already commenced.

17 The only sound alternative is to not allocate any sites at Buckingham to meet the identified requirement and to devolve the allocation of sites to the next review of the Buckingham NP which is already underway. This is on the basis that there is simply not a sufficient evidence base to proceed with any of the allocations at Buckingham in the VALP. By this means opportunities for positive planning and integrated planning to deliver the WLR etc. could be realised through the NP rather than wasted in the unevidenced and incomplete strategy in the VALP.

18 The made Buckingham Neighbourhood Plan (made in October 2015) has proved highly effective in delivering substantial, locally supported, housing numbers. Such a course of action would avert the current need for more evidence prior to the adoption of the VALP. Instead the VALP process could proceed but could divert Buckingham allocations to the NP review, the existing NP having successfully allocated and delivered housing in the absence of an up-to-date Local Plan.

19 That a Neighbourhood Plan is a proper and established and effective route in other places as well as in Buckingham is evident in the experience, in the immediate vicinity at Thame. The Thame Neighbourhood Plan in adjoining South Oxfordshire has likewise successfully allocated sites for some 775 new homes and associated infrastructure - delivering the strategic policies of the District wide plan.

20 In setting out these observations HLM (B) is very aware that that addendum to the Sustainability Appraisal fails to consider any of the implications of the amended development strategy for Buckingham on the ability to deliver the key infrastructure that the evidence base demands. The SA Addendum simply considers the rather esoteric and immaterial question of whether including scheme details (across the VALP) as words in the VALP is positive or negative.

21 Overall the proposed Main modifications and resultant policies may well be considered appropriate for challenge.

NICK FREER - David Lock representing Hallam Land
Reps to AYLESBURY
Rep to MM031
FULL TEXT
1 Hallam Land Management (Aylesbury) controls land to the north east of Aylesbury including site BIE021.

2 To be clear HLM(A) has consistently sought a dialogue to help through its land controls to bring forward the North East Link Road which is the subject of this representation. No such discussions have been entertained by AVDC.

3 HLM has set out detailed representations in relation to MM210 and the changes that it introduces to Policy T3. In particular, substantial objections have been lodged that demonstrate that Policy T3 insofar as it addresses the delivery of key infrastructure at Aylesbury - as set in T3 - continues to fail the tests of soundness.

4 Policy T3 as proposed to be modified by MM210, has not addressed the fundamental issue of delivery of the North East Link Road. The VALP therefore remains unsound on the basis that:
* it is not positively prepared - providing no realistic strategy for the delivery of the North East Link Road;
* it is not justified - without such certainty regarding the North East Link the evidence base suggests that the development strategy for Aylesbury is not adequately mitigated;
* it is not effective given that sound infrastructure delivery planning is necessary to satisfy the test of effectiveness.

5 For the reasons set out in relation to MM210, and by the same token, Policy D1 as proposed to be modified by MM031 also remains unsound as it does not provide the means by which necessary infrastructure - identified in the evidence base as required to support and mitigate the development strategy.

6 Hallam notes that the Council intends to produce the 'AGT Framework and Infrastructure SPD' as stated in point (b) of Policy D1 (Delivering Aylesbury Garden Town). Under the National Planning Policy Framework's (NPPF) Test of Soundness, local plans are required to positively prepare for objectively assessed development and infrastructure. Whilst there is some flexibility in planning for the delivery of strategic matters, planning practice guidance is clear that in the case of a lack of certainty of funding for certain infrastructure, 'strategic policy-making authorities will be expected to demonstrate that there is a reasonable prospect that the proposals can be developed within the timescales envisaged. In addition, the PPG states that plans should assess deficiencies in existing and future infrastructure and set policies for how these deficiencies will be addressed (059 Reference ID: 61-059-20190315). To leave this to an SPD is inadequate and results in the plan not being prepared positively and therefore unsound in respect of planning for infrastructure delivery. The inappropriateness generally of deferring policy to SPD is noted by the Inspector in another context in para 45 (for instance) of the IIF.

7 It is not therefore acceptable or sound that the delivery of key infrastructure such as of the North East Link Road (or for that matter other infrastructure) to be deferred to the proposed AGT Framework and Infrastructure SPD.

SUMMARY

Policy T3 as proposed to be modified by MM210, has not addressed the fundamental issue of delivery of the North East Link Road. The VALP therefore remains unsound on the basis that:
* it is not positively prepared - providing no realistic strategy for delivering the North East Link Road;
* it is not justified - without such certainty regarding the North East Link the evidence base suggests that the development strategy for Aylesbury is not adequately mitigated;
* it is not effective given that sound infrastructure delivery planning is necessary to satisfy the test of effectiveness.

For the reasons set out in relation to MM210, and by the same token, Policy D1 as proposed to be modified by MM031 remains unsound as it does not provide the means by which necessary infrastructure - identified in the evidence base as required to mitigate the development strategy.

REP to MM210

FULL TEXT


1 Hallam Land Management (Aylesbury) controls land to the north east of Aylesbury including site BIE021.

2 To be clear HLM(A) has consistently sought a dialogue to help, through its land controls to bring forward the North East Link Road which is the subject of this representation. No such discussions have been entertained by AVDC or BCC.

3 The Inspectors' Interim Findings (IIF) (28th August 2018), provides the principal context for Main Modification 210 - the amendment of policy T3.

4 The Inspector found that the Transport policies in the Submission Draft of the VALP were significantly lacking. While policy T1 and T6a required the implementation of the proposals in the Buckinghamshire LTP4 and the Aylesbury Transport Strategy "none of these proposals are specified in the Plan" (IIF para 46). This would be unsound because the NPPF requires that the plan "should make clear what is intended to happen in the areas over the life of the plan, where and when this will occur and how it will be delivered. It points out the need to identify the short, medium and long-term transport proposals across all modes as a key issue...".

5 Key within the Inspectors' findings is that "the key infrastructure requirements on which the delivery of the plan depends should be contained in the Local Plan itself. VALP does not do this and so is unsound as it stands" (underlining added for emphasis).

6 Hallam Land Management (Aylesbury) (HLM(A)) welcomes the amendment of the Policy T3 to include those key infrastructure elements from the Aylesbury Transport Strategy (ATS) upon which the Plan depends. Specifically, HLM welcomes the inclusion of the North East Link Road at Aylesbury within T3.

7 This is essential to meet the expectations of the Aylesbury Garden Town Vision which includes "road improvements linking new developments to the town, and creating a series of link roads around the town" (VALP - para 4.30). The Vision specifically includes the North East Link Road between the A413 and A418.

8 It is essential also from the perspective of the need to address current issues in the network. In Examination document EC279, AVDC recognises that the ATS measures (including North East Link Road) also address current issues in relation to the capacity of the Network.

9 More important still, the North East Link Road is essential to mitigate the impacts of the development proposed in the VALP at Aylesbury and, in particular, in Policy D1 of the Plan.

10 Hallam Land Management has consistently made clear through the examination process that the BCC/AVDC evidence base and modelling shows that, without the North East Link Road, the impact of development on the A41, A413 and A418 isn't adequately mitigated. The Technical Note prepared by Markides Associates and appended to Hallam Land Management's Examination Matter 12 Statement was not queried or questioned in the examination hearings and needs to be given substantial weight.

11 The Technical Note draws out the conclusions of the VALP's own evidence base: the BCC Countywide model and, in particular, the Countywide Local Plan Modelling Phase 3 Technical Note.

12 The Markides Technical Note makes two fundamental points. In the first instance, it demonstrates that in either scenario DS1, or DS2, run by the County, there remains significant congestion in the southern quadrant of Aylesbury "particularly on the A418 through Stone and Harcourt" - with all of the link rods provided. We have previously questioned these allocations on this basis.

13 Second, and more directly related to the North East Link Road, the Markides Technical Note highlights the importance of the North East Link Road (which is included in the DS2 model run but not DS1 model run): "Without the provision of the additional link roads [including the North East Link Road] in DS2, there remain issues of congestion on the Stocklake link, A418 and A413 immediately north of Aylesbury and on the A41 to the east of Aylesbury. The North East Link Road offers significant benefits in this area, with scenario DS2 showing much reduced congestion ratios on the A41, A418, A413 and various link roads through the Aylesbury East area over both the DS and DS1 scenarios" [added for clarification].

14 Since the Examination, and the publication of the Inspectors Interim Findings, no new transport modelling appears to have been undertaken by AVDC/BCC in respect of Aylesbury. The ATS Final report 2017 and the Countywide Local Transport Modelling - Phase 3 Tech Note (August 2017) remain the most recent documents forming the evidence base for transport.

15 Little, therefore, appears to have changed since the Examination hearings. The only modelling work available to support the Proposed Modifications relating to Aylesbury shows that the North East Link Road is necessary to mitigate the impact of planned development at Aylesbury (see also para 1.8 of the IDP).

16 HLM(A) therefore considers it essential that the Aylesbury North East Link Road is included in the revised version of policy T3 as amended by Proposed MM210.

17 This is the position of AVDC also. By virtue of its inclusion in T3, it must be regarded by AVDC to be a key measure or intervention, and a requirement to facilitate growth at Aylesbury. Para 7.7 of the VALP - as proposed to be amended by MM203 - is explicit in this regard: "Transport measures and interventions contained in the ATS are required to facilitate growth in Aylesbury Garden Town. The key measures and interventions are set out in Policy [T3] below and supported by the Infrastructure Delivery Plan" [added emphasis].

18 Having been included in Policy T3 by MM210, the North East Link Road also must be included (in indicative layout form- consistent with the Aylesbury Garden Town Proposals and LTP) on the Aylesbury Policies Map.
19 However, Policy T3 as proposed to be modified by MM210, has not addressed the fundamental issue of delivery of the North East Link Road. The VALP therefore remains unsound on the basis that:
* it is not positively prepared - providing no realistic strategy for the delivery of the North East Link Road;
* it is not justified - without such certainty regarding the North East Link the evidence base suggests that the development strategy for Aylesbury is not adequately mitigated;
* it is not effective given that sound infrastructure delivery planning is necessary to satisfy the test of effectiveness.

20 The failings of the proposed policy T3 as proposed to be modified by MM210 are various.

21 In the first instance, Policy T3 seeks simply to "actively support key transport proposals" and will "support local transport schemes that provide benefits to the District". If the delivery of the listed infrastructure is prejudiced then T3 indicates that permission would not be granted.

22 T3, as to be modified, is therefore no more than a safeguarding policy and not a policy that delivers the infrastructure identified as required by the Plan's development strategy and evidence base.

23 The Inspector in the IIF noted that Policy T1 required developments to implement LTP and ATS proposals. Policy T1 - as modified by MM206 - will no longer do so. Policy T3 certainly does not do so - either in respect of strategic developments or globally across the Aylesbury Garden Town.

24 In the second instance, while T3 seeks to set out a delivery mechanism for the North East Link road - this is inadequate, insufficient and inconsistent with the remainder of the Main Modifications. MM210 states that North East Link Road will be delivered "through the Oxford-Cambridge Expressway". Whilst there is not yet a fixed route for the Expressway, Highways England have moved forward a little in terms of identifying route corridors. They have ruled out Corridor A, which would have passed close to Aylesbury and have narrowed it down to Corridors B1 and B3 - the nearest edge of these corridors crossing the A413 in the order of 5 miles north of the centre of Aylesbury, north of Whitchurch. The corridors don't actually reach the A418 north east of Aylesbury. AVDC cannot rely on this means to deliver the North East Link Road.

25 More fundamentally, AVDC has resolved as a Council to not support the Oxford-Cambridge Expressway nor any route in Aylesbury Vale. As a result the second and third sentence of T3 is therefore proposed to be deleted by the Council including the reference to "The scheme is supported by the Council and ...". The scheme is no longer supported by the Council. The Proposed Modifications do not however propose that the Expressway be deleted as the delivery mechanism for the North East Link road. Clearly this represents a very large inconsistency, perhaps oversight, and leaves the delivery of key listed infrastructure in the air and with no strategy.

26 Nor is it acceptable for the delivery of the North East Link Road to be deferred to the 'AGT Framework and Infrastructure SPD' as suggested in point (b) of Policy D1 (Delivering Aylesbury Garden Town). Under the National Planning Policy Framework's (NPPF) Test of Soundness, local plans are required to positively prepare for objectively assessed development and infrastructure. Whilst there is some flexibility in planning for the delivery of strategic matters, planning practice guidance is clear that in the case of a lack of certainty of funding for certain infrastructure, 'strategic policy-making authorities will be expected to demonstrate that there is a reasonable prospect that the proposals can be developed within the timescales envisaged. In addition, the PPG states that plans should assess deficiencies in existing and future infrastructure and set policies for how these deficiencies will be addressed (059 Reference ID: 61-059-20190315). To leave this to an SPD is inadequate and results in the VALP not being prepared positively and therefore unsound also in respect of planning for infrastructure delivery. The inappropriateness generally of deferring policy to SPD is noted by the Inspector in another context in para 45 (for instance) of the IIF.

27 There are also concerns with the claim in T3 that a North East Link Road would cost approximately £35 million to build. Typical construction costs for a 10m wide single carriageway road with 3m footways on either side would be £2050 per linear metre (Spons Civil Engineering Price Book 2017) and at an overall length of 3.2km would be expected to cost approximately £6.5 million. Allowing a further £2 million for junction connections to the A413 and A418 and a generous contingency allowance of 50% increases this to approaching £13 million, less than 40% of the cost that is being claimed in MM210 and more consistent with the IDP estimates for the Western Link, which is a similar length. The lower cost demonstrates that it could be effectively delivered through an appropriate mechanism as set out above.

28 In addition HLM have argued throughout the examination process that a modest high quality allocation on a part of BIE021 would also provide one delivery mechanism for the North East Link Road. This remains an available option and has been spelt out in detail in the examination documentation.

29 Hallam Land Management do not believe that the Main Modifications are sufficient to make the VALP sound, the Inspector having found this aspect of the Plan to be unsound in his IIF. T3 is therefore fundamentally unsound in failing to respond positively to the planning and delivery of infrastructure and failing to deliver necessary infrastructure accepted in the evidence base and transport policies of the relevant authorities as a requirement.

30 Indeed, in this regard, the VALP as proposed to be modified appears to be vulnerable to challenge.

SUMMARY

(HLM(A)) welcomes the amendment of the Policy T3 to include those key infrastructure elements from the Aylesbury Transport Strategy (ATS) upon which the Plan depends, specifically, the North East Link Road at Aylesbury within T3. The North East Link Road is essential to mitigate the impacts of the development proposed in the VALP at Aylesbury and, in particular, in Policy D1 of the Plan.
However, Policy T3 as proposed to be modified by MM210, has not addressed the fundamental issue of delivery of the North East Link Road. The VALP therefore remains unsound on the basis that:
* it is not positively prepared - providing no realistic strategy for delivering the North East Link Road;
* it is not justified - without certainty regarding the North East Link the evidence base suggests that the development strategy for Aylesbury is not adequately mitigated;
* it is not effective sound infrastructure delivery planning is necessary to satisfy the test of effectiveness.