Aylesbury Vale Area

MM083

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Object

VALP Main Modifications

Representation ID: 2936

Received: 11/12/2019

Respondent: Buckingham Town Council

Legally compliant? No

Sound? No

Representation Summary:

The removal of this site is based on flawed and incomplete evidence in the view of the Buckingham Town Council, which means that it is not soundly based on evidence. The implications of the removal of this site for VALP have not been reflected in the rest of the document and which makes the Plan unsound through lack of internal consistency.

Change suggested by respondent:

Reinstatement of 300 homes at site BUC 051 or removal of all allocated sites from Buckingham pending further traffic modelling.

Full text:

The removal of this site is based on flawed and incomplete evidence in the view of the Buckingham Town Council, which means that it is not soundly based on evidence. The implications of the removal of this site for VALP have not been reflected in the rest of the document and which makes the Plan unsound through lack of internal consistency.

1. AVDC's justification for removal of site.

1.1 In Paragraph 2 there appears to be an incorrect assumption made regarding other sites in the BNDP [Site references are those of the BNDP]. To quote ED 215B -"The reserved allocated site, Site M, will only be required if one or more of the allocated sites with a total of 80 outstanding units is not brought forward before 2025." It is then stated that the council is confident that Sites G & I (having an allocation of 400 & 100 respectively) will be brought forward by then.

1.2 Site G (400) has indeed been brought forward and is under construction, along with site H (50) homes as part of the St Rumbold's Fields development.

1.3 It is noted elsewhere that Sites J (39) & K (28) are unlikely to be brought forward before 2023/2024 and there does not seem to be any immediate interest in developing these sites at present. If not brought forward by 2025 these sites could contribute to the shortfall of 100 houses which would trigger the release of the Reserve Site.

1.4 It is submitted that it is erroneous to assume that Site I will be brought forward by 2025. The site forms part of the Tingewick Road Industrial Estate. Unit A is occupied, and Unit C has been recently renovated and is currently being marketed for let. BTC has been in contact with the letting agents who confirmed that their instructions from the owner were to let the premises. Given the renovation work, it is perhaps uncertain that the owner intends to sell the land for development in the near future.

1.5 There is a good possibility that the Reserve Site would have been triggered in 2025.

1.6 In paragraph 4, reference is made to the Inspector's Interim Findings (August, 2018) in particular paragraph 49 of that document. The Inspector himself will be best placed to know his own meaning here, but it can be read to inquire as to why apparently necessary infrastructure to facilitate development is not included in VALP. This paragraph appears under the sub-heading Infrastructure and this site is one of a number so identified throughout the district cited therein. It is not abundantly clear that this was not simply pointing to the lack of completeness of the draft, rather than pointing out the potential non-viability of the site itself, although that appears to be the interpretation that AVDC has chosen to place upon it.

1.7 AVDC seeks to rely on the further modelling undertaken by BCC and the selection of the second option that produced, which was to remove the site from VALP . What was not then done was to consider properly where that would leave Buckingham as the second settlement during the Plan period. It is true to say that the BNDP has delivered significant housing through site allocations that are being developed as well as windfall, brownfield and infill numbers, facilitated by the BNDP's policies. The argument based on the available evidence set out in 2 below, demonstrates that it should not be Site M alone that is removed but the additional sites allocated by VALP. This leaves Buckingham with few options for sustainable growth unless a Western Link Road is part of the infrastructure, and that inability should be reflected in the whole of VALP with necessary modifications.

1.8 Again in paragraph 7 of ED215B, AVDC appears to be attributing its reasoning to the words of the Inspector in his Interim Findings. Paragraphs 36 & 37 are quoted. These paragraphs appear under the sub-heading Spatial Development Strategy and thus are not necessarily as aligned with paragraph 49 above, as AVDC seems to think. Again the Inspector will be best placed to know his own meaning, but the view of BTC is that this is a much wider discussion of policy in the context of a need for further housing allocation, and noting that the north of the Vale needed to provide housing for workers commuting to Milton Keynes, who would need to commute even further from the majority of housing allocation around Aylesbury. It is not necessarily apparent that it was a justification for removing housing allocations from Buckingham ( & Winslow and Steeple Claydon) and placing them in North East Aylesbury immediately adjacent to Milton Keynes. This is especially so when paragraph 35 of the Interim Findings is read - "Yet all three of the northern settlements lie within the Milton Keynes Travel to Work Area and the Milton Keynes Housing Market Area." In paragraph 36, there is an acknowledgement that Buckingham (& Winslow) are attempting to provide employment and services to ensure that they do not become dormitory towns for employment. In addition VALP itself denotes Silverstone as the major employment centre in the north of the Vale, but is placing a large amount of housing at a greater distance from that employment site.

1.9 BTC asserts that this interpretation by AVDC does not bear close scrutiny and thus does not justify the removal of site BUC051 in isolation from the rest of VALP as it seeks to do.

2. Specific Evidence as to traffic congestion in Buckingham
2.1 The Buckingham Transport Strategy [BTS] is the main evidence document for transport infrastructure needs in Buckingham in the evidence base of VALP.

2.2 Although it is stated that further modelling etc will be required, the BTS ranks in terms of priority the Western Link Road highest in terms of the goals of the BTS, primarily reduction of town centre congestion as a result of through traffic; and the left hand slip lane for A422/A413 roundabout the lowest.

2.3 In the BTS BUC051 is taken as a commitment and the additional development is at BUC025 [a site further west of BUC046 on the A422]; BUC043 [Moreton Road]; BUC046 [Osier Way]. It also assumes that Silverstone Park to the north is a future employment centre.

2.4 The additional modelling is supplied by ED 214A & ED 214B, the need for which is stated to have arisen out of a discussion at the Public Hearings in July 2018.

2.5 The conclusion is that a Western Link Road could not be supported by the level of development so far allocated. The first option suggested by BCC is to bring forward increased development, but that has been rejected by AVDC in favour of the second option, which is to remove BUC051 from VALP. Although not stated it could be assumed that with the time constraints on an already delayed Local Plan, this was the easiest & quickest option, but it was not the only option as appears to be suggested in ED 215B by AVDC. It is submitted that this is further evidence of the tendency identified by the Inspector in his Interim Findings to not place the same criteria to planning in the north of the Vale.

2.6 The problem is that the further modelling does not give the whole picture of the impact of all allocated development in Buckingham on the traffic congestion modelled to this level.
ED 214A by Jacobs considers the possibility of reducing the development at BUC051 to 125 homes, assuming that BUC043; BUC046 & MM006[DS2] remain as well as all development at original stated numbers [DS]:

"As requested by BCC, a Buckingham Town Centre Model was developed to assess the impacts of the proposed Local Plan developments on an already congested Buckingham Town Centre, and also to assess if a reduced amount of development at BUC051 would be feasible without mitigation measures to remove traffic from the town centre. In this model, two roundabouts were included and assessed: Bridge Street/WestStreet/Market Square roundabout and Moreton Road/Stratford Road/Market Square roundabout.......
In summary, both town centre junctions are already operating over capacity in the 2033 DM and therefore the additional marginal impact at these junctions in the DS and DS2 scenarios is unacceptable, even with a reduced quantum of development in DS2. In both DS and DS2 scenarios, appropriate mitigation measures would need to be considered."

The main focus is the two junctions: Bridge Street & West Street & Moreton Road/A422 Stratford Road. The conclusion being that even without development allocated, the junctions will be over capacity at the end of the Plan period.

2.7 So any further development will cause further congestion in the town centre - not just the addition of BUC051.
2.8 ED 214B runs modelling removing BUC025 and including BUC051 to the original Countywide modelling. This seemed to conclude that there was little difference.
2.9 What has been absent from the two new reports is any assessment of the impact of the other sites - MM06; BUC043 & BUC046.
2.10 BUC046 is a site on the A421 by-pass, it could be argued that traffic generated will use the A422 to either the A421 junction to Milton Keynes or continue to A413/422 roundabout. At this junction traffic heading towards Milton Keynes intuitively will not benefit from a left hand slip lane mitigation; traffic heading from Milton Keynes to BUC046 development may be assisted by it in that stated aim would be to avoid travelling through town centre. It seems unlikely that it would do so anyway unless to access town services.
2.11 Traffic from BUC046 heading to the major employment centre at Silverstone Park may still seek to access A413 from town centre or A43 from West Street.
2.12 BUC043 on the A413 Moreton Road. It is assumed that traffic heading to Milton Keynes will drive down to junction at A413/A422 [ignoring possible short cut down Addington Road to A422; or alternatively driving to Maids Moreton and accessing A422 via Mill Lane - this route already shows heavy use in the various models] and then proceed to A413/A422. There will still be traffic at this junction as the left hand slip lane encouraging traffic to use A413 to the west, will not assist in this direction of travel.
2.13 The reverse journey on return from Milton Keynes may be assisted by traffic using left hand slip lane, easing queues, and easing traffic entering town centre [though it is not apparent why traffic seeking to remain on A421 to the west would do so anyway. It will not assist traffic which wishes to remain on A422 to access A43 [though the left hand slip lane in conjunction with a Western Link Road further along would.] That is assuming vehicles have not used Mill Lane access to Maids Moreton.
2.14 It would appear intuitively that little is eased by mitigation measure.
2.15 MM06 would intuitively follow the same pattern as BUC043, except that it is much more likely that Mill Lane access to A422 would be used. The current levels of use of this road are clear on the modelling diagrams, although it is not the focus of the reports.
2.16 This mitigation scored the lowest of the possibilities in the BTS.
2.17 There is no evidence presented by AVDC as to why removing BUC051 prevents further traffic congestion as opposed to the removal of BUC046 & BUC043 as development sites. ED 214B suggests that removing BUC025 and replacing it with BUC051 has little impact. Therefore it could be reasoned, albeit at a simple level, that BUC046, which is also sited on A421, could be removed. There has been no modelling done to prove or disprove this.
2.18 Given the findings as to the junctions, and given that MM006 & BUC043 will undoubtedly impact on one of these junctions substantially, it is surprising that no further modelling work evidence has been commissioned or brought forward by AVDC to justify the inclusion of these sites but the removal of BUC051.
2.19 BTC submits that there is insufficient holistic evidence to support the removal of BUC051 from VALP on the reasons given by AVDC.
2.20 As is stated above, there is no attempt to consider holistically the impact of this decision on the related policies within VALP as outlined above.

Object

VALP Main Modifications

Representation ID: 3085

Received: 17/12/2019

Respondent: AVDC Councillor

Legally compliant? Yes

Sound? No

Representation Summary:

Buckingham Town Council Neighbourhood Plan allocates this site (site M) and contributes towards the delivery of the important A421/A422 link road as per the Buckingham Transport Strategy,

Change suggested by respondent:

Reinstate allocation

Full text:

Buckingham Town Council Neighbourhood Plan allocates this site (site M) and contributes towards the delivery of the important A421/A422 link road as per the Buckingham Transport Strategy,

Object

VALP Main Modifications

Representation ID: 3279

Received: 17/12/2019

Respondent: Maids Moreton Parish Council

Legally compliant? No

Sound? No

Representation Summary:

If site BUC051 is deemed to have a detrimental impact of traffic on the town centre without construction of the western relief road, sites BUC043 and MMO006 in particular would have an equally damaging impact, being more car dependent and further from key facilities. The latter two mentioned sites contravene NPPF, Para 34.

There is a lack of an 'holistic' approach and consistency to the VALP's interpretation of the BTS. It is not positively prepared and it is therefore, in our view, unsound.

Change suggested by respondent:

Site development has to be coherent with parallel development of infrastructure. As proposed, this need is not evident. Sites BUC043 and MMO006 would result in unsustainable development, particularly on transport grounds and this result is further compounded by this proposed change and the consequent lack of adequate attention to already severe traffic flow problems within Buckingham and Maids Moreton.

Full text:

MM083 - delete site BUC051
The implications of the removal of this site from the VALP, in our view render BUC043, BUC046 and MMO006 unsustainable. The argument based on the Buckingham Town Centre Modelling Report 2019 demonstrates that future development on these VALP allocated sites will have a detrimental impact on the town's network of roads without a western relief road. BUC043 and MMO006 are the furthest away from all facilities (e.g. supermarkets/employment centres), are dependent on traffic travelling through the town centre, or through the narrow, rural roads of Maids Moreton, creating "significant movement" and maximizing the need for travel, contrary to NPPF, Para 34. The updated, and relevant, evidence supported by the modelling report of May 2019 (on which, according to NPPF paragraph 158, the Local Plan must be based) clearly regards developments that will impact on the town centre unsustainable without a western relief road.

Object

VALP Main Modifications

Representation ID: 3355

Received: 17/12/2019

Respondent: North Bucks Parishes Planning Consortium

Legally compliant? Not specified

Sound? Not specified

Representation Summary:

It is unacceptable for a key element of a made Neighbourhood Plan, previously supported and approved by our LPA, to be removed without consultation with Buckingham Town Council. It is strongly contended that the new modelling of traffic congestion is highly selective and does not consider whether similar unacceptable congestion would be created by other allocated sites that remain. This does not justify the removal of this site alone from VALP.
This issue must be considered at a hearing session (officer summary).

Full text:

See attached document.

Attachments:

Object

VALP Main Modifications

Representation ID: 3371

Received: 17/12/2019

Respondent: David Lock Associates

Legally compliant? No

Sound? No

Representation Summary:

The proposed strategy for Buckingham sites including the deletion of BUC051 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.

Change suggested by respondent:

In order to ensure that the plan is effective, justified and positively planned, then changes to the VALP (as proposed to be amended by the Main Modifications) need to take place.
HLM(B) consider that proposed modifications MM082 (BUC043), MM084 (BUC046) - amending policies in relation to BUC043 and BUC046 to secure contributions towards unexplained infrastructure are insufficient to make either of those policies sound, nor MM006. As such the WALP 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. It is simply not right that BUC051 has been deallocated whilst others remain with no adequate evidence base and an inadequate Sustainability Appraisal process.
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.
As is identified in the BTS and IDP the WLR will be funded on a contribution basis. 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. Specifically in this regard, HLM(B) would anticipate the need for:
* The reinstatement of BUC051;
* The inclusion also of BUC025 - to maximise developer contributions towards the delivery of key infrastructure
* The inclusion of BUC025 instead of BUC051 (should that not be reinstated).

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.