Aylesbury Vale Area

MM215

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Object

VALP Main Modifications

Representation ID: 3516

Received: 17/12/2019

Respondent: Aylesbury Society

Legally compliant? Not specified

Sound? Not specified

Representation Summary:

Policy T7a, states the cycle and footway network will be in accordance with T.3 but T.3 does not include any proposals nor does the Policies Map.
Policy T7b, is unclear.
Policy T.7c, does not cover gaps in the cycle way network.
Policy T.7d, does not address short comings in existing areas.
Policy T.8 does not address the increasing use of electric cycles and scooters.

Full text:

Introduction
The unification of Aylesbury Vale District Council (AVDC) and Buckinghamshire County Council (BCC) reinforces the requirements that the Vale of Aylesbury Local plan (VALP) should include transport matters as an integral part of that document and not a document which is not subject to critical review.
AVDC have received central government funding both as a cycling town and a garden town, which is occasionally referred to by AVDC as a green town.
Aylesbury Society's concern is that the VALP is not 'Positively Prepared' in that infrastructure requirements are not met, fails to include proposals to enhance the town centre, contains no positive proposals to protect heritage assets and has no policy of enforcement of landscape planning conditions. There is a lack of documentary support to 'justify' the content of several policies. Finally, sound infrastructure delivery planning for some proposals is not provided.
Strategic Delivery
Three adjectives are used extensively within VALP, namely necessary, essential and critical. Necessary is defined in Chambers Dictionary as 'not able to be done without, or to be avoided'. Essential is defined as 'absolutely necessary' and 'critical' is defined as 'of great(est) importance'.
Chapter 4 - Strategic Delivery states in para. 4.18 that, inter alia, the Aylesbury Transport Strategy (ATS) will; ' improve transport access and movement to the town centre and make it' (what is not clear) 'easier and more accessible through provision of walking and cycling connections and the use of public transport'. We will demonstrate later that this is not achieved. Para. 4.19 includes the statement that accessibility will be improved by 'enhancing the existing cycling/walking network ... identifying gaps in the network and ensuring greater connectivity across the Garden Town'.
Transport
Para 7.1 states that the accessibility to walking, cycling and public transport is essential to promoting sustainable development.
Para 7.2 states that enhanced facilities should be provided in new and existing areas for walking, cycling and public transport.
Para 7.6 seeks increased walking and cycling facilities.
Policy T.3 only makes reference to road schemes and protecting existing transport schemes (to be shown on Policies Map). The associated table shows every road scheme bar the North East Link road as critical but the NELR is only 'necessary' without an explanation why it is of lesser value. In contrast the public transport corridors are shown as 'necessary', as are works in the town centre to improve the pedestrian network. No mention is made of cycle facilities. In contrast the construction of a new transport hub is considered 'critical'. Given that the railway station is fixed (and listed) this must involve moving the bus station away from its location within the town centre adjacent to the primary shopping centre. Additionally the Hub would involve the demolition of the only supermarket adjacent to the bus station and the town centre primary shopping area. The present situation is acceptable for the relatively small number of connections between bus and rail. Both the need and 'critical' need justification, as the proposed hub would be less sustainable than the present situation which has been in existence for approximately 50 years without significant problems.
The table also includes the relatively small sum of £1.3m. for cycle improvements (classified only as 'necessary') for the whole of Aylesbury for the whole of the plan period. Given that the missing parts of the cycle way network will be difficult and expensive to 'construct' this is totally inadequate and if para. 7.1 is applied should be 'critical'.
Policy T7a, states the cycle and footway network will be in accordance with T.3 but T.3 does not include any proposals nor does the Policies Map.
Policy T7b, is unclear.
Policy T.7c, does not cover gaps in the cycle way network.
Policy T.7d, does not address short comings in existing areas.
Policy T.8 does not address the increasing use of electric cycles and scooters.
The Aylesbury town and town centre policies maps do not include potential bus priority schemes, existing and new cycle facilities or any proposals for park and ride.
Green Space.
Policy NE7 - Local Green Spaces, is not protective of individual trees without Tree Preservation Orders. Local history has seen the demolition of a stand of horse chestnuts to enable a car park to be constructed on Exchange Street and the nearby un-necessary destruction of half a copse of trees to permit a cafe to extend into the car park environs. In neither case were the trees replaced. It is recommended that a further policy or an extension to NE7 should require that the felling of any significant tree in a development would require justification including alternative solutions that were sought to avoid felling and that any felled trees should be replaced by at least two semi-mature trees. In addition where a planning application indicates tree planting on the boundary it should be a planning condition that these are provided at the onset of development.
The Town Centre
Neither the written document nor the Town Centre proposals map show proposals or policies to enhance the town centre by means of further pedestrianisation, connections between the 'jewel' cycle routes or enhancement of the environment by means of tree planting and landscaping.
Conclusions
It is the Society's view that the VALP is not 'Positively Prepared' in that walking, cycling, public transport and environmental enhancements are not adequately provided for. There is a lack of documentary support to 'Justify' priorities and need decisions and 'Sound Infrastructure Delivery Planning' is not completely provided.

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