Aylesbury Vale Area

Sustainability Appraisal Report Addendum to the Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan (October 2019)

Showing comments and forms 1 to 12 of 12

Object

VALP Main Modifications

Representation ID: 2745

Received: 18/11/2019

Respondent: Alan Caldwell Associates Ltd

Agent: Miss Shontelle Williams

Legally compliant? Yes

Sound? No

Representation Summary:

Paragraph 1.1.4 (d) acknowledges the perceived imbalance between proposed development in the north and south of the district but the approach taken by SA to continue to support growth in and around Milton Keynes, which is in the north of the district, fails to address the development pressures in the South around Wendover, which is impacted by London housing market.

Change suggested by respondent:

D) agreeing with the Inspector that there is a need to redress the perceived imbalance
between proposed development in the north and south of the district by increasing allocations in the south of the District.

Full text:

Paragraph 1.1.4 (d) acknowledges the perceived imbalance between proposed development in the north and south of the district but the approach taken by SA to continue to support growth in and around Milton Keynes, which is in the north of the district, fails to address the development pressures in the South around Wendover, which is impacted by London housing market.

Object

VALP Main Modifications

Representation ID: 2800

Received: 04/12/2019

Respondent: Mr Jeremy Bloss

Legally compliant? Not specified

Sound? Not specified

Representation Summary:

The Sustainability Study highlights the potential negative impacts and risks to Maids Moreton and Buckingham due to a lack of adequate Waste Water Treatment Works capacity in the area. There does not appear to have been an adequate appraisal of required upgrades to the waste water system with Anglian Water which is referenced by this document in 9.14.4 and 9.11.3. Therefore the allocation of the two sites in Maids Moreton is not sound nor legally compliant due to risks currently flagged up as "uncertain" (9.11.3)

Full text:

The Sustainability Study highlights the potential negative impacts and risks to Maids Moreton and Buckingham due to a lack of adequate Waste Water Treatment Works capacity in the area. There does not appear to have been an adequate appraisal of required upgrades to the waste water system with Anglian Water which is referenced by this document in 9.14.4 and 9.11.3. Therefore the allocation of the two sites in Maids Moreton is not sound nor legally compliant due to risks currently flagged up as "uncertain" (9.11.3)

Support

VALP Main Modifications

Representation ID: 3005

Received: 13/12/2019

Respondent: Crest Nicholson

Agent: Mr James Brewer

Representation Summary:

Please see attached document '32735 Crest Nicholson ED204 SA Addendum' for Crest Nicholson's comments on the Sustainability Appraisal Addendum.

Full text:

Please see attached document '32735 Crest Nicholson ED204 SA Addendum' for Crest Nicholson's comments on the Sustainability Appraisal Addendum.

Support

VALP Main Modifications

Representation ID: 3006

Received: 13/12/2019

Respondent: Crest Nicholson

Agent: Mr James Brewer

Representation Summary:

Support subject to minor comments on conclusions on Heritage that underpin the SA addendum

Full text:

These comments relate to document ED222 AVDC Heritage Appraisal which supports document ED204.

CN would comment that this is a very high level and basic document and therefore its assessment of the relative heritage/archaeological significance of the three sites (Shenley Park, Salden Chase and Eaton Leys) is fairly simplistic and, as the report itself states, a more detailed heritage appraisal of each is recommended, and for Shenley Park would be carried out as part of the masterplanning process.

In terms of archaeological potential, CN would comment there is really very little to separate Shenley Park from Eaton Leys as both are proximate to Scheduled Ancient Monuments, and broadly similar below ground archaeological remains can be anticipated. Salden Chase has perhaps a slightly lower potential.

However, the reason that Shenley Park is identified as having a greater heritage potential than the other two sites is because of the proximity of the Whaddon Conservation Areas, specifically the Stock Lane Conservation Area located adjacent and to the west of the site's north western boundary. As stated above, by implementation of criterion (g) in site specific policy WHA001, any such impact could be mitigated, and this needs to be considered when analysing the weighting of the conclusions regarding Heritage Harm/Impact within the Sustainability Appraisal Addendum (ED204).

Object

VALP Main Modifications

Representation ID: 3391

Received: 17/12/2019

Respondent: Willis Dawson Holdings Ltd

Agent: Pegasus Plannning Group

Legally compliant? Yes

Sound? No

Representation Summary:

An objection is made to the SA Addendum which is not transparent. It fails to demonstrate why the 3 options were chosen, or indeed ultimately why one option was preferred over and above the others. There is no RAG assessment of the 3 options, instead the report relies upon Appendix 1 Alterative Appraisal Findings which are based on a sustainability topic and ranking in order of preference. Given that the HELAA assessment of sites (ED208) May 2019 has been updated in respect of the sites chosen, it is considered that the RAG assessment of 2017 should have been updated.

Change suggested by respondent:

Changes to the proposed modifications should be:
1. include land at Newton Leys for approximately 400 dwellings
2. Policy D2 to be amended to include the above site.

Full text:

Please see attachment.

Object

VALP Main Modifications

Representation ID: 3490

Received: 17/12/2019

Respondent: L&Q Estates

Agent: Barton Willmore

Legally compliant? No

Sound? No

Representation Summary:

Considers that the SA Report Addendum's appraisal findings are deficient and should be revised. It is deficient in its assessment of Eaton Leys vs the other two sites on grounds of - HEELA update flawed assessing Eaton Leys to take account of adjoining development; more nuanced approach on landscape & AAL needed; biodiversity conclusions not accepted; conclusions of SFRA Addendum not accepted - green infrastructure will contribute to Climate Change Adaption; could provide a secondary school if required; highway transport impacts slight sustainable transport initiatives not properly considered.

The revised appraisal demonstrates that Eaton Leys performs well against the majority of
objectives and is ranked ahead of the Shenley Park and Salden Chase Extension. Should recommend Eaton Leys as the preferred option.
.

Change suggested by respondent:

A further update to AVDC's HELAA which identifies Eaton Leys as 'suitable for
housing'.

Having regard to the wide-ranging flaws in AVDC's site selection process, the
proposed allocation of Shenley Park through Policy D-WHA001 is it is demonstrably
unjustified and therefore unsound. Additional hearings are required to consider
the procedural and evidential concerns which are set out above.

Full text:

see attachment

Object

VALP Main Modifications

Representation ID: 3521

Received: 17/12/2019

Respondent: Milton Keynes Council

Legally compliant? Yes

Sound? No

Representation Summary:

1. The conclusions drawn in the updated Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment
relating to Eaton Leys, a key piece of evidence underpinning the sustainability appraisal and
selection of Shenley Park as a proposed allocation, are not justified.
2. The conclusions of the Viability Report published alongside the consultation do not appear to
have been considered in the sustainability appraisal or selection of the proposed allocation.
Those conclusions indicate that the deliverability of a policy compliant and acceptable
development at Shenley Park is highly questionable. Further, the Viability Report excludes
any allowance for known significant highways works that would be required, raising significant
doubts about the robustness of this work and further compounding concerns about the
deliverability of the proposed allocation. As a result, the Council does not consider that the
proposed allocation would be effective in meeting the identified shortfall of housing or
rebalancing the spatial strategy within the plan.
3. The highway modelling evidence does not appear to provide a sufficiently robust assessment
of the impacts upon the highway network in Milton Keynes in order to justify the proposed
allocation of Shenley Park.
4. There is no evidence of a robust yet proportionate site selection process underpinning the
proposed allocation of Shenley Park, and therefore that the proposed allocation is not justified.

Change suggested by respondent:

see attachment

Full text:

see attachment

Object

VALP Main Modifications

Representation ID: 3664

Received: 17/12/2019

Respondent: Jackson Planning Ltd ( Lisa Jackson)

Legally compliant? Yes

Sound? No

Representation Summary:

The sustainability appraisal (SA) carried out was flawed and what followed as the most suitable or sustainable overall
was not supported by evidence.
The Salden Chase extension chosen was never a realistic prospect given the strange shaped site. This does reflect MK's grid pattern. The SA was not weighted. The key consideration should have been proximity to public transport and the potential
to link to E/W rail and the E/W expressway. Sustainable location should be the most heavily weighted given the aspirations of the growth arc.

Change suggested by respondent:

Revisit the allocations for Milton Keynes to reflect MK Future 2050 and aspirations for EW rail and the NIC growth arc aspirations. Consider the alternative vision in Chase Consortium's objections -shown in figure1. This reasonable
alternative needs to be tested in a revised SA.

Full text:

Please see attached report on the main modifications representations by Chase Consortium.

Object

VALP Main Modifications

Representation ID: 3672

Received: 17/12/2019

Respondent: Kingsmead Residents Group

Agent: Mr Robert Wilson

Legally compliant? Not specified

Sound? Not specified

Representation Summary:

See section 4 of attached document.

Full text:

Representation to the Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan Main Modifications consultation

Shenley Park additional allocation

17th December 2019
LPA Ref:
Our Ref: KRG 001
Impact Planning Services Ltd:
Unit 1, The Court Yard
Copse farm,
Lancaster Place
South Marston Park,
Swindon,
Wiltshire,
SN3 4UQ
Tel: 01793 820158


Contents
1.0 Introduction 2
2.0 Background to the VALP......................................................2
3.0 Duty to Co-operate..............................................................4
4.0 Sustainability appraisal reports & related evidence.................6
5.0 Details of the site proposed, including constraints................13
6.0 Alternative approach.........................................................14

Appendix...............................................................................................16
Plan 1..............................................................................................................20
Plan 2..............................................................................................................21



1.0 Introduction

1.1 This representation is submitted by Impact Planning Services Limited (IPS) on behalf of the Kingsmead Residents Group (KRG), who comprise a non-elected community group of people who live in the Kingsmead area in the west side of Milton Keynes.
1.2 The structure of this representation is as follows:
 Background to the Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan (VALP),
 Duty to Co-operate,
 Sustainability Appraisal Reports & related evidence,
 Details of the site proposed, including constraints,
 Alternative approach and sites to assist the VALP in meeting its additional housing need.
1.3 As this representation makes clear there is no justification for the selection of the additional allocation for housing at Shenley Park (Main Modifications 070 New Policy 'D2 Delivering site allocations in the rest of the district' and accompanying pre amble' and MM071,075 and 076 New Site Policy D-WHA001 Shenley Park' for at least 1,150 dwellings) and the decision to allocate it is unfounded. It is also contrary to the Aylesbury Vale District Council's own evidence base. The site should be removed from the Plan for a second time. Given this substantive change to the Plan at a very late stage in the process then at the very least, it is respectfully requested that the Examination hearings are re-opened to enable all parties, including KRG, the opportunity to make and augment their case directly to the Inspector.


2.0 Background to the VALP

2.1 Aylesbury Vale District Council (AVDC) has a poor record of plan making. It failed to adopt a Core Strategy in 2010 when the Secretary of State announced that Regional Spatial Strategies (the South East Plan for Aylesbury Vale) were revoked. In a report dated 8th September 2010 to the Council it was advised that the Core Strategy did not address in sufficient detail: sustainable development, employment targets nor energy. In addition, the report suggested that with the revocation of housing figures from the South East Plan, the Council could plan for a reduced number of new dwellings. On the 5th October 2010, the Secretary of State issued a Direction withdrawing this Plan.
2.2 Following this AVDC embarked on another plan- the Vale of Aylesbury Strategy which was submitted to the Secretary of State for examination in August 2013. On 7th January 2014 the Inspector, Kevin Ward wrote to the AVDC and in paragraph 27 of that letter he states 'There are particular issues concerning the relationship of Aylesbury Vale to Milton Keynes and its future growth. These issues have been left unresolved. The Council has been aware of these issues from early in the plan preparation process, if not before'.
2.3 The Inspector concluded that AVDC had failed to comply with the Duty to Co-operate. This together with other failings including the insufficient overall provision for housing and jobs, the fact that the Plan had not been positively prepared, the fact that it was not justified nor effective and it was not consistent with national policy, led the AVDC to withdraw this Plan on 5th February 2014.
2.4 The Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan is the third attempt by AVDC to prepare a sound plan. Previous Local Plan Inspectors have made reference to development in this location and these are highlighted later. The sequence of events and timeline associated with this latest Plan is convoluted to say the least.
2.5 The Scoping for the Plan was carried out in the Spring of 2014 together with a Call for Sites. This was followed by the Issues and Options stage in October 2015 (which included 'extension to Milton Keynes/Bletchley' in five of the nine options but no plans in chapter 5), with accompanying evidence studies. The Consultation Plan was publicised in the Summer of 2016. The July 2016 VALP had the Shenley Park site depicted on a map and was the subject of an allocation together with Salden Chase. Subsequently, there was consultation on the Proposed Submission Plan from 2nd November 2017 to 14th December 2017. The November 2017 Submission VALP omitted the Shenley Park site.
2.6 The rationale for making changes to the Plan has not been always been clear and this matter is explained in more detail later in this representation.


3.0 Duty to Co-operate

3.1 As explained above AVDC has failed to meet this legal duty previously and although the information considered to date on the current emerging VALP may satisfy the duty up to that stage, it is clear that there has been no outcome from any co-operation between AVDC and Milton Keynes Council (MKC) regarding the edge of Milton Keynes strategic locations, other than for Salden Chase. There is no Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two authorities concerning Shenley Park and this was confirmed at an informal meeting with the Development Plans Manager at MKC on 21ST November 2019. The only MOU between AVDC and MKC is dated February 2018 (reference CD.DTC. 008) and it just addresses the Salden Chase development.
3.2 The Planning Practice Guidance states at paragraph:022 Reference ID: 61-022-20190315: 'Inspectors will expect to see that strategic policy making authorities have addressed key strategic matters through effective joint working, and not deferred them to subsequent plan updates or are not relying on the inspector to direct them. Where a strategic policy-making authority claims it has reasonably done all that it can to deal with matters but has been unable to secure the cooperation necessary, for example if another authority will not cooperate, or agreements cannot be reached, this should not prevent the authority from submitting a plan for examination. However, the authority will need to submit comprehensive and robust evidence of the efforts it has made to cooperate and any outcomes achieved; this will be thoroughly tested at the plan examination'.
3.3 At the MKC meeting held on 23rd October 2019 under item 5 b (ii) the Shenley Park Development Proposals were discussed. It was resolved by the Council that it:
'(a) expresses concern that Shenley Park, or any of the other possible allocations may have a negative potential impact on Milton Keynes;
(b) expresses concern that the allocations have been brought up only towards the end of the plan-making process, meaning that community engagement on these sites has been minimal;
(c) expresses concern that ward councillors and parish councils were unaware of these proposals and asks the Cabinet to look at their protocol for informing and consulting ward and parish councillors when neighbouring authorities come forward with development proposals;
(d) believes that the development could place unacceptable strain on the infrastructure and services in Milton Keynes including on highways and transport infrastructure, quality public open space, GP services and school provision;
(e) notes that the development proposals lack any conformity or integration with the surrounding and adjoining infrastructure of Milton Keynes; and
(f) notes that as Shenley Park would likely be regarded informally and geographically as part of Milton Keynes, but falls outside the administrative boundaries of Milton Keynes Council so any planning decisions and future income would not fall to Milton Keynes Council'.
3.4 Further evidence of the co-operation difficulties is provided by the decision of MKC to refuse planning permission for the access to Salden Chase on 7th November 2019 (ref:15/00619/FUL) and on 16th December a Delegated Decision by the Cabinet Member for Planning and Transport will be made by MKC to formerly object to the VALP and the selection of the Shenley Park Allocation.
3.5 This all clearly demonstrates that AVDC has failed to meet the Duty to Co-operate on this most obvious cross authority matter and so the proposal fails on this legal requirement. This can be rectified by full engagement between the two authorities with all meetings outcomes recorded in writing and addressing all of the potential cross boundary sites and issues, not just Salden Chase.


4.0 The Sustainability Appraisal Reports & related evidence

Sustainability Appraisal
4.1 Section 19 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 requires a local planning authority to carry out a sustainability appraisal (SA) of each of the proposals in a plan at each stage during its preparation.
4.2 Furthermore, the SA should provide conclusions on the reasons the rejected options are not being taken forward and the reasons for selecting the preferred approach in light of the alternatives.
4.3 The non- technical summary on page 3 of the SA Addendum report October 2019 (ED204),states in the conclusions to table B:
...'it does not necessarily follow that this site (Shenley Park*) is the most suitable or sustainable overall, as the various objectives are not assigned any weighting. For example, the appraisal serves to highlight Shenley Park as performing relatively poorly in respect of heritage objectives, and the Council - as decision-makers - might assign particular weight to this matter. Equally, Shenley Park is judged to perform less well than Salden Chase Extension in respect of 'Communities' objectives, due to uncertainties in respect of secondary school delivery, and the Council might assign particular weight to this'. * Impact Services Ltd addition for clarity
4.4 The SA Addendum October 2019 in Appendix 1 states on biodiversity issues that in conclusion Salden Chase is the less preferable site on balance (but it does have a favourable recommendation to grant planning permission). Eaton Leys and Shenley Park have pros and cons, however on balance it is considered appropriate to differentiate in accordance with the Ecology Headlines Study. As explained below under the sub heading 'Related Evidence', that leads to Eaton Leys being more suitable to allocate ahead of Shenley Park, not the other way around so this part of the SA 2016 is an error. The conclusion at 9.2.2.is restricted to the proposed allocation at Shenley Park and does not provide any comparison with the other two sites.
4.5 Under the community heading this SA recognises that Shenley Park performs less well and although Eaton Leys is described as performing poorly it is important to emphasise there is no certainty that Eaton Leys needs to deliver a new secondary school on the site. Furthermore, as explained above under the Duty to Co-operate the consequences for education provision in Milton Keynes must be taken into account. That information has seemingly not been sought nor analysed and it is clearly lacking within the SA reports.
4.6 In terms of landscape the 2019 SA in the main report at paragraph 9.9.1,states that only 35% of the Shenley Park site is likely to be suitable for development. In the Appendix 1 the SA states that Shenley Park has low capacity in the north west and that it is considered inappropriate to highlight Shenley Park ahead of Salden Chase. Eaton Leys is described as having low capacity but this ignores the clear separation of this site from the open countryside beyond the dominant boundary formed by the A5 and the A4146 roads and associated developments. This separation from the wider landscape is acknowledged in paragraph 3.1.8 of the Landscape and Visual Capacity Comparison Assessment (ED210A).
4.7 In terms of the economy all three of the sites are described as being along the emerging growth corridor and there is no potential to differentiate the alternatives with any confidence.
4.8 Under the heritage topic Shenley Park is 'considered to present more constraints to development than the other two sites'. This is confirmed in the document ED222, the Heritage Appraisal at paragraph 5.6 of that document.
4.9 Importantly the October 2019 SA refers to the justification for the Council supporting the preferred option can be seen in section 7. It refers to the HELAA as the assessment process which came out in support of Shenley Park as the preferred site. This ignores the advice from Government in the NPPG, which as explained above, states that the SA should provide conclusions on the reasons for the rejected options not being taken forward and together with the reasons for selecting the preferred approach in light of the alternatives. The October 2019 SA does not perform this function and is therefore flawed. The HELAA is addressed later.
4.10 Prior to this version of the SA, in July 2016 AVDC published the SA of the Reasonable Alternatives produced by Lepus Consulting. In that report Whaddon (WHA001) which is the reference given to Shenley Park, is considered with approximately 110 other sites and is one of only 13 sites to have just one minor positive score. All of the other sites (some 97 sites) had two or more positive scores. On page 106 of that document at paragraph 3.42.4 it states that with regard to the landscape at Shenley Park: 'This LCA is recorded as being in very good condition, with high sensitivity. The HELAA states that a large landscape buffer to Whaddon village will be included within the development of the site. Site WHA001 is likely to be visible from all sides except the east, which is lined with trees, limiting visual impact on Kingsmead'.
4.11 The following paragraph refers to the predominant agricultural fields with linear patches of woodland lining the site to the north and east. It continues: 'These patches of woodland may be high in biodiversity and are likely to serve as a habitat corridor for a number of species, including birds and bats. Development could result adverse impacts on biodiversity (SA Objective 3)'. In addition to these comments there is a well-established mature belt of deciduous woodland running along the southern boundary of the site with the A421 road and the mature tree and hedgerow boundary of the North Buckinghamshire P R of Way on the current western edge of Milton Keynes.
4.12 At paragraphs 3.42.6 the 2016 SA states: 'WHA001 is located within Flood Zone 1, which is at low risk of flooding. To the south of the site there is an area at high risk of surface water flooding. Development in this part of the site may therefore be at high risk of flooding (SA Objective 5)'.
4.13 This in effect sterilises a significant area in the south of the Shenley Park site. When this is combined with the SA comments on the landscape in the north west of the site summarised in paragraph 4.6 above, very little land remains which may be suitable for development. The 35% figure of the total site at Shenley Park will be further reduced.
4.14 In the next paragraph of the 2016 SA it states:
'Sustainable transport servicing WHA001 is lacking. There are no train stations within 1km and the bus service that runs through the village is infrequent, running on a Wednesday only. As such, accessibility to and from Whaddon by public transport is limited and residents are likely to rely on travel by car, thus increasing the carbon footprint of the area (SA Objectives 4 and 9).'.
4.15 This highlights the fact that the site is too far from the East-West rail line and even further from any rail station. As the Inspector makes reference to the Oxford to Cambridge Arc in paragraphs 5 to 9 in the document ED166 Interim Findings 29 August 2018, it is important to provide an update regarding the current circumstances of this corridor or arc.
4.16 On 18th September 2019 AVDC resolved to object to the Oxford to Cambridge Expressway and this decision has been incorporated into the Main Modification 210 which revises Policy T3 to delete the reference to this proposed road.
4.17 The proposed Oxford to Cambridge Expressway will be reviewed should the Conservative Party form the next Government, following the previous announcement by the Rt Hon Grant Shapps (Secretary of State for Transport) on 21st November 2019. This means that the rail improvements are considered the more likely at this point in time and the findings made in August 2018 may require review dependent upon the outcome of the General Election. Irrespective of any decision about major transport improvements the main transport connections for Shenley Park, Salden Chase and Eaton Leys should be with Milton Keynes and as will be explained later Eaton Leys is clearly the more suitable location when this factor is considered.
4.18 All of this must be reviewed by the Inspector because this is a significant change since he wrote his Interim Findings. The strategic transport situation is far less clear now than when the Findings were published and given the ADVC decision to oppose the Expressway this throws even more uncertainty into the case for proposing Shenley Park because of the transport impacts.

Related Evidence
4.19 As the 2016 SA explains there are biodiversity issues with the Shenley Park proposal and the evidence contained in the Eco Headlines documents (refs ED205F Shenley Park, ED205D Salden Chase Extension and ED205B Eaton Leys) indicates that of the three strategic sites only Shenley Park has a range of Priority Habitats identified: Deciduous woodland, lowland meadows, Traditional orchard wood, pasture and parkland BAP. By contrast, Salden Chase under this heading lies adjacent to some priority habitats and Eaton Leys has only lowland meadows and Deciduous woodland. This indicates that Eaton Leys is the more suitable location for development.
4.20 The whole of the Shenley Park area is contained within the Whaddon Chase Biodiversity Opportunity Area (see Plan 1). Whilst this is defined as a regional priority area for the restoration and creation of Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) habitats, it is not an area of constraint. However, it is a significant planning consideration.
4.21 The Housing and Employment Land Availability Assessment (HELAA) May 2019 update, which is document ED 208 in the Examination Library, mentioned at paragraph 4.9 above, the three potential strategic sites adjacent to Milton Keynes are referenced. For Eaton Leys (site GRB002) the HELAA claims it is unsuitable because of the 'harmful landscape and visual impact' and also the settlement pattern on this side of Bletchley. The HELAA continues to mention the fact that planning permission had been granted by MKC and explains this is a change to the original HELAA in regard to the built development to the north, but it then concludes for landscape reasons there should be no change.
4.22 This ignores the AVDC document ED 210A, evidence contained in the Landscape and Visual Capacity Comparison Assessment by BMD dated 11th June 2019. In paragraph 3.1.8 of that document it states about Eaton Leys: 'the existing green edge of Waterhall Park, to the west, and MK housing allocation to the north, result in the site being partial contained from the wider landscape'.
4.23 This point is reinforced in the June 2017 Development Control Committee report by MKC on the planning application 15/01533/OUTEIS for Eaton Leys. The report makes clear in 5.57 that 'the LCA that 'the site' forms part of does provide a visually important setting'. In paragraph 5.59 of the Committee report further states: 'The Milton Keynes Landscape Character Assessment (2015) identified the presence of the A5 within this setting as detracting from the area; the application would provide an opportunity to mitigate the impact of the road through the improvements scheme. Milton Keynes Council would welcome further involvements in these works to ensure earthworks are designed and planted to effectively screen residential properties and the road'.
4.24 This development to the north is introducing an urban context to the area but the clear defensible boundaries of the A5 and the A4146 provide an obvious opportunity to deliver further improvements to mitigate the impact of both roads on the wider landscape setting.
4.25 The Eaton Leys site in AVDC is enclosed by these two major roads to the east and south together with the canal corridor to the west and the new housing under construction to the north. It can offer significant mitigation on the same principle as the planning permission to the north and consequently enhance and protect the wider landscape setting to the east and south beyond the A5 and A4146. The land is contained from the wider landscape as confirmed and explained in the AVDC'S own evidence in document ED210A.
4.26 Shenley Park has no such defensible boundaries, other than the very clear and well-established existing boundary with Milton Keynes which will be destroyed should the proposal be confirmed. Shenley Park and has a landscape setting which is as important if not more important than Eaton Leys given the heritage, bio-diversity and ecological values mentioned above. The Strategic Landscape and Visual Capacity Study August 2017, ENV04 in Appendix A describes Shenley Park LCA condition as 'very good', which in that part of the table equates to Mentmore Ridge. Salden Chase is described as 'moderate' and there is no reference to the Eaton Leys site.
4.27 One of the most important factors in the selection of another strategic site recognised by the AVDC evidence is the issue of transport.
4.28 MKC responded to the July 2016 VALP and stressed the need to co-ordinate the Plan. It referred to the Bucks and River Ouzel Internal Drainage Board's call for coordination. The MKC response also called for AVDC to assess the impacts and mitigation for Milton Keynes and raised the traffic impacts as particularly concerning. Highway concerns were raised in many responses to the July 2016 consultation.
4.29 In the SA from July 2016 paragraph 3.15.8 states that the A421 is a key road in the strategic highway network defined in the Bucks Local Transport Plan 2011-2016. Later in that SA at paragraph 3.42.7 is clearly states: 'Sustainable transport serving WHA001 is lacking'. However, in the October 2019 SA Addendum there is a sudden change on page 5 of that report. Nevertheless, in Table 7.1 Eaton Leys scores the highest in transport terms ahead of Shenley Park and Salden Chase.
4.30 The 2019 SA Addendum continues to highlight transport concerns and greenhouse gas emissions for the Shenley Park site at 9.4.1 and at 9.4.4 it refers to emissions from transport as a separate matter. Associated transport emissions are mentioned again at 9.11.1 where the report states: 'The allocation of WHA001 at the Milton Keynes edge will introduce new road users and associated transport emissions; however, there are no AQMAs in Milton Keynes, nor at Buckingham or Winslow. Site specific policy notably requires that: "An air quality and noise assessment shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the Council prior to development commencing."
4.31 In the preparation of the Plan MK by MKC transport modelling of the A421 and the whole MK road network was undertaken. This work is independent of the Buckinghamshire modelling. The report: Milton Keynes Multi-Modal Model Update November 2017 (produced by AECOM), confirms at paragraph 1.6.9 that the A421 junctions are more overloaded at the 2016 reference case. The situation is forecast to become more severe as illustrated in the figure 33 in that report which shows the growth in delays for the 2031 reference case junction delay (MK wider area).
4.32 In the AVDC document ED 214C page 50-100, Jacobs in section 6.2, table 6.4 identifies Eaton Leys with three green ratings which means the transport impacts from this site are slight. Shenley Park however has three amber ratings which are described as moderate impacts on transport.
4.33 When the Buckinghamshire modelling is taken into account the Eaton Leys site is most suitable to allocate. If the MKC data is added then the case is made significantly stronger for Eaton Leys.
4.34 Whilst there may not be Air Quality Monitoring in MKC, the junctions of the A421 are already experiencing serious peak time congestion and the length of delay is increasing meaning more vehicles will be standing with engines running and air pollution increasing. This affects a number or routes including the V1, and most of the east- west routes like the H6, especially in the morning rush hour.
4.35 One specific junction (of many) on the A421 in Milton Keynes, is with Watling Street. It has serious delays now. It is physically constrained by the A5 bridge and then the West Coast Mainline railway bridge, so it has limited scope for increased capacity. This suggests that people living close to this junction will see a worsening of their air quality in the immediate future. The addition of Salden Chase will make this more severe, but the Shenley Park proposal would add even more pressure and pollution onto these roads and junctions.
4.36 It is also important to recognise the significant open green space in the Kingsmead area adjacent to the proposed allocation. A new grid road here would introduce noise, disturbance, pollution and destroy this valuable visual and social amenity. In addition, wherever the link or links are planned they will 'punch through' the North Bucks Way and the bridleway to the south which has well-established belts of mature deciduous woodland. This long-distance path runs 34 miles from the Ridgeway at Chequers Nature Reserve to the county boundary at Pulpit Hill Nature Reserve. It links to the bridleway along the western boundary of Milton Keynes and these rights of way are an important amenity for people along the Milton Keynes boundary. It should not be surrounded by new development.
4.37 In the Viability Report (ED 216) the transport costs have been excluded and this is a fundamental omission. It means that the selection process of the strategic sites on the edge of Milton Keynes has not been fully addressed.
4.38 A final comment on the transport issues is that Shenley Park is a long way from the centre of Milton Keynes where the shopping and cultural facilities tend to congregate. Eaton Leys is closer and has the dual benefit of being much closer to Bletchley which requires more footfall to improve its town centre.
4.39 In previous Plans the emphasis has been on strategic extensions to the south east and south west of Milton Keynes. This was clear in the now revoked South East Plan and the accompanying Panel Report. The Salden Chase development accords with this regional strategy and Eaton Leys lies to the south east of Milton Keynes. Shenley Park is west of Milton Keynes and is not in accordance with this strategy although it is acknowledged it has been revoked.


5.0 Details of the site proposed and constraints

5.1 As explained above Shenley Park has a high quality of landscape being within the Whaddon Chase Biodiversity Opportunity Area and it has significant heritage and ecological qualities. The eastern boundary is an historic long-distance route now safeguarded as the North Bucks Way. It consists of hedgerows and trees and it clearly provides a defensible boundary in this part of the western edge of Milton Keynes.
5.2 Furthermore, the layout of open space roads and footpaths in Milton Keynes relates well to the open countryside beyond and provides valuable open space which has visual as well as physical and social benefits for the people who live here.
5.3 Within the site itself there are ancient woodlands, hedgerows and other remnants from the historic parkland. As the AVDC evidence shows the area of the site to the north west is highly sensitive because of the topography as well as the conservation importance of the nearby Whaddon village. Snelshall Priory earthworks lie just to the north of the site.
5.4 The southern part of the site has surface water flooding and there is a tributary to the Little Ousel which flows westwards. A well-established line of mature deciduous woodland runs along the southern boundary of the site with the A421.
5.5 There are several historic buildings within the site and Shenley Road runs through the site.
5.6 In addition, there is the Kingsbury to Buncefield Oil Pipeline (see Plan 2), which runs in a general north to south alignment on the east part of the Shenley Park site. It runs close to the North Bucks Way in the north east corner of the site and then follows the bridleway and right of way to the south before turning south - eastwards. Information provided from deeds and conveyance and supplemental deed documents shows parallel pipelines. Entry and use in exercise of the easements and rights granted by the Original Deed and the New Deed (can be supplied if required) provide for so much of the land as lies within a lateral distance of 3.048 metres (10 feet) from a point vertically above or below a part of the parallel pipe-lines or either of them and to obtain access to and egress from shall be agreed.
5.7 This adds a further constraint to the woodland and hedgerow belt which runs along the entire eastern boundary of the site,



6.0 Alternative approach and sites to assist the VALP in meeting its additional housing need

6.1 It has been made clear in the preceding paragraphs of this representation that despite AVDC claiming that there is little to choose between the three strategic sites on the edge of Milton Keynes which are being considered at this very late stage in the Plan preparation process, there is a clear justification for selecting Eaton Leys. This is based on transport, landscape, ecology and heritage grounds.
6.2 The fact that Salden Chase has a resolution to grant permission means that this has moved forward as a more realistic option. The fact that the northern part of Eaton Leys has permission and more importantly is under construction means that in planning terms this location has moved forward even further than Salden Chase. It is clear that the planning evidence points to Eaton Leys ahead of Shenley Park.
6.3 In the Inspector's Interim Findings dated 29th August 2018 he explained that he had sufficient concerns to recommend AVDC that the VALP required some further work before it could be found sound. This representation establishes that insufficient further work has been undertaken by AVDC.
6.4 Firstly, AVDC has not engaged with MKC and has failed to demonstrate that it has met the legal Duty to Co-operate in these Main Modifications.
6.5 Secondly AVDC has 'jumped' to allocate Shenley Park, and then retrospectively commissioned evidence to try and justify the decision to allocate it. It produced a set of Frequently Asked Questions in an attempt to assist people responding to the consultation. Unfortunately as inadequate as it is, it was unsupported by comprehensive information and was therefore somewhat misleading. A copy of this document is attached in Appendix 1 with notes highlighting the errors.
6.6 Thirdly, AVDC has published the main modifications without a full explanation about why a larger allocation or allocations were not investigated more fully in Buckingham to help deliver the Western By Pass. It has also failed to revisit any prospect of some development adjacent to Leighton Buzzard. They have also failed to fully address the Inspector's finding that there was a disproportionately small role of villages.
6.7 Notwithstanding the above comments, KRG strongly believe that the major change to the VALP at such a late stage in the process warrants a re-opening of the Examination hearings if the AVDC decides to disregard or challenge the matters raised in this representation.
6.8 Should the AVDC agree and delete the Shenley Park allocation and replace it with an allocation at Eaton Leys then the KRG would support the Plan. This will require more work but in the interests of fairness the hearings should be subject to a re-opened examination hearing in either scenario.










Appendix 1
Frequently Asked Questions AVDC (Nb. Impact P S Ltd comments in red font)
Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan(VALP) Proposed Allocation of Shenley Park
FAQs September 2019

These questions and answers are intended to clarify technical and procedural matters relating to the new proposed allocation at Shenley Park (WHA001), including information about how to make comments during the Main Modifications consultation that ends at 5.15pm on Tuesday 17 December 2019. This document should be read in conjunction with the other consultation material.
Why has this site been allocated at this stage?
The Inspector's Interim Findings (ED166) which were issued in August 2018 following the examination hearing sessions set out that a modification to the Plan was required to redress the balance of housing development across Aylesbury Vale by increasing allocations in close proximity to Milton Keynes. The Inspector's instruction in document The Inspector also finds the lack of allocation adjacent to Leighton Buzzard 'remarkable'.
ED181 Inspector's reply to AVDC's response to his Discussion Document D5 (4 March 2019), which we have no option to ignore or disagree with, said that the increased growth being met entirely by an allocation in the Milton Keynes area "would adequately address the specific recommendation of paragraph 37 of my Interim Findings". The choice of the site to be allocated was left to the council's discretion.
What sites did the council consider?
The housing requirement was also revised following comments from the Inspector. A significant factor leading the Inspector to propose this is the Oxford Cambridge arc with the new rail link and the Expressway. The Expressway remains uncertain at the moment and there are more suitable sites which could be much closer to the rail and proposed road if it happens. This should be clarified when we then know the precise route, but as AVDC now oppose the Expressway and there have been calls for a review the future of this road is significantly less certain. This led to the need for a site for over 1100 houses to be found on the edge of Milton Keynes. Three sites were identified and examined in more detail:
* Shenley Park;
* Extension to the existing Salden Chase Allocation; and * Eaton Leys (area within Aylesbury Vale).
A site analysis was undertaken on the three alternative allocations during spring/summer 2019 and the evidence was published as examination documents in June and July 2019 https://www.aylesburyvaledc.gov.uk/examination-documents On the basis of the evidence, AVDC concluded despite their own evidence which raised concerns (transport, landscape and biodiversity, heritage & the SA) about the site.it was concluded that, on balance, Shenley Park was the preferred site.
Did this site feature in any earlier versions of the Plan?
Shenley Park has figured in previous versions of the VALP. In October 2015, the VALP Issues and Options consultation identified nine alternative development scenarios, of which five related to an extension to Milton Keynes/Bletchley but these did not identify sites. In July 2016 the Draft VALP included potential housing allocations at Salden Chase and Shenley Park with a specific consultation event being held in Whaddon. Shenley Park was then removed from the Submission Plan.
Following debate of the site at the Examination hearings, the publication of the Interim Findings and initial preparation of the Proposed Modifications, the council then held a briefing for parish and town councils in July 2019.
Outside of the VALP Milton Keynes Council, as part of the preparation of Plan MK, consulted on Strategic Development Directions (SDD) in January 2016 which included "Direction of Growth 1 - Development to the west, south west and/or south east of the city". That document said:
"The growth envisaged in this direction takes the form of extensions to the existing urban area. This form of development has advantages in that it could be relatively straightforward to strengthen connections to the existing transport corridors and services within Milton Keynes whilst still being large enough to provide the additional facilities and infrastructure to meet the needs of residents."
A Plan MK consultation event about the SDDs was held in Whaddon on 23 March 2016 which an AVDC officer attended.
The MK Futures 2050 Commission Report This is not a statutory plan and should not carry weight. states that "we see some of the preferred locations for growth as beyond the boundaries of the Milton Keynes Council area in adjacent local authorities".

Is there a detailed concept plan for what the development will look like as there are for other sites in the plan?
No there isn't at this stage. Yes there is. AVDC do not do comprehensive research. There are two schemes prepared by Scott Brownrigg for Crest Nicholson in 2014 & 2016. There is no requirement for detailed concept plans of local plan allocations as they are strategic in nature. but they do assist in setting out the strategic issues and most importantly the ownership and control over the site.
A similar sized allocation at RAF Halton does not have a concept plan. Those sites with concept plans are those where planning consent has been granted or detailed plans have been submitted as part of a planning application. This site has not yet reached this stage.
The Shenley Park allocation should it progress requires the preparation of a Supplementary Planning Document which will include a concept/masterplan plan. Public consultation will be an integral part of the process of progressing Shenley Park, through both the production of the SPD and the planning application process.
What discussions have you had with Milton Keynes Council about this site?
We have talked to Milton Keynes Council. Discussions between AVDC and MKC officers took place following the publication of the Interim Findings and during the site analysis process. Meetings were held in December 2018, May 2019 and September 2019 and dialogue continues between officers what was the outcome, why were no councillors involved and where are the records of these meetings?
Milton Keynes Council is being formally consulted about the proposal as part of the Main Modifications consultation process. Milton Keynes Council has been kept informed throughout the preparation of VALP and they made representations about the Shenley Park site at the draft plan stage which raised concerns about traffic impacts, the need for mitigation of other impacts on MK & raised objection to the wording of the draft policy and disputed the Housing Market Areas.
Notably, MKC has consulted Duty to co-operate is not just consultation about the option of housing development within AVDC during the preparation of their Plan MK.
Why do you need so many houses?
As well as needing to satisfy a higher housing figure for the district that the Inspector has imposed, a major site at Buckingham which is shown as a reserve housing site in the 'made' Neighbourhood Plan. has been deleted because it is not deliverable and planning applications have been made for other site allocations with lower amounts of housing than the plan envisaged. We are also concentrating development on one site, rather than splitting provision over a number of sites, to ensure the delivery of infrastructure and community facilities.
What provision will be made for infrastructure and community facilities?
The VALP's overall approach to infrastructure is set out in Policy S5 (page 51 of the Proposed Submission VALP as proposed to be Modified). The specific policy for Shenley Park includes, amongst other requirements:
* the need to provide primary school education; a new local centre; contribution to health facilities;
* a new link road from the A421 through the site to connect into the existing MK grid road network;
* high quality walking and pedestrian links throughout the site also linking up to the existing networks and;
* contributions to the public transport network.
What control does AVDC have on the countryside/green buffer to Whaddon, how big that will be and what form it will take?
The policy for Shenley Park incudes criteria to conserve the setting of Whaddon village and Conservation Area by establishing a substantial and well designed countryside buffer. The buffer is within the site boundary shown on the policies map but more detail and the exact amount of land for the buffer will be determined in considering the Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) or in any future planning application.
Will this be part of Milton Keynes?
No, there are no plans to change the district boundary Not as simple.... should this go ahead it will need to be designed to the MK standards and integrate with the grid road system. This is one of the issues which is not straightforward and involves agreement between AVDC and MKC. This needs to be addressed and so far it has not been done.
Why can't you just put this housing somewhere else in the district?
The Inspector has been very clear that a new site must be identified in close proximity to Milton Keynes.
How can you go ahead with this consultation when there is a general election?
The decision to proceed with the consultation was taken before the election was announced so there is no legal justification to delay the consultation and the council is aiming to have an up to date, adopted local plan in place as soon as possible.
How can I see the documents if I have no access to the internet?
There are deposit locations at Westcroft Library, Wimborne Crescent, Westcroft; Bletchley Library, Westfield Road, Bletchley and 11 other deposit locations throughout Aylesbury Vale where paper copies of the main consultation material can be viewed. Whaddon Parish Council has been supplied with a printed copy of the Main Modifications and submission VALP as proposed to be modified which will be made available for inspection.
Where are the documents on the internet?
The Statement of Availability sets out the relevant consultation documents and where they can be accessed online (as well as providing details of the deposit point locations where all the documents can be seen). A USB stick containing the documentation is available if required.
There is so much information, how do I know what to look at?
In the Proposed Main Modifications document, Also highlight the SA of the Modifications. Most will not want to wade through this but it shows the other sites are as good and, in some cases, better than Shenley Park. the proposed allocation at Shenley Park can be found on pages 44 - 46. The policy title is D-WHA001 Shenley Park and the modification reference is MM076. A location plan is also included in the Policies Maps at the back of the document (reference MM289) under the heading Northeast Aylesbury Vale.
In the Proposed Submission Plan as proposed to be modified, the Shenley Park allocation can be found on pages 133 - 135.
How can I comment if I can't access the internet? Can I just write in?
Yes, you can write in to Planning Policy, AVDC, The Gateway, Gatehouse Road, Aylesbury, HP19 8FF. You do not need to use the representation form, a letter will do. However you must give us your name, address and email (if you have one) so we can contact you if necessary. Without these details, we can't accept a representation. Where possible your representation should state whether you support or object to the modifications and if and how the plan should be changed.
Can you accept my comments if I just add my name to a list or petition?
We cannot accept a representation with just a name. As above, you must give us your name, address and email if you have one so we can contact you if necessary. Without these details we cannot accept a representation.
Can I just write in to say that I support the Parish Council's response
We need more information than this. If you wish to support the Parish Council's response, you would need to reproduce this in your comments so that we can be sure what your comment is. You can make additional comments if you wish.
Can residents in the Milton Keynes Council area make representations?
Yes - representations are not limited to residents of Aylesbury Vale.

Plan 1
Whaddon Chase Biodiversity Opportunity Area

Plan 2
Kingsbury to Buncefield Oil Pipeline

Object

VALP Main Modifications

Representation ID: 3673

Received: 16/12/2019

Respondent: Mr Adam Stewart

Legally compliant? Not specified

Sound? Not specified

Representation Summary:

Even the AECOM Sustainability Appraisal - so heavily relied upon by VALP - confirms that 'significant development would be contrary to a Biodiversity Opportunity Area (BOA) and Bucks Green Infrastructure Plan objectives'. Both Shenley Park (WHA001) and Salden Chase are within a Biodiversity Opportunity Area!
In reaching their conclusions, AVDC appears to place disproportionate weight on the findings of the AECOM Sustainability Appraisal. Why? Can all parties be reassured that the AECOM findings are truly 100% impartial? And, in particular, free from any developer influence or bias?

Full text:

I do not consider modifications MMO75 and MMO76 of AVDC's Local Plan (VALP), specifically the inclusion of the Shenley Park (WHA001) development area, to be sound or justified.

Shenley Park (WHA001) was NOT included in the Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan published in November 2017. Its exclusion meant it was not included in the public hearing held in July 2018, denying local residents the opportunity to scrutinise the plans and AVDC's proposals. This is a serious breach of NPPF guidelines (specifically paragraphs 155, 158 and 182). This is unfair and unjust.

Shenley Park's late inclusion means it has not been subject to the same level of preparation, and investigation as other identified development sites, including Eaton Leys and Salden Chase. Nor have objectors to Shenley Park been afforded the same time or opportunity to investigate, scrutinise and formally object to the suggested development. How can Shenley Park possibly be subject to the same tight deadline? Did AVDC know that Shenley Park is less suitable and that it would meet stiff opposition - and hope that by only including it at the last minute, it would slip through unnoticed and/or unchallenged?

Specifically, in relation to WHA001, there are no concept plans, no illustrative layouts, no indication of highway distribution, no projections of vehicular/traffic impacts, no details of the green barrier between Whaddon village and new housing, no details regarding how essential public services will be paid for and no consideration to how to limit future development and urban sprawl once the natural development barrier of the North Bucks Way has been breached.

Some of these glaring developmental omissions can be explained by the almost total lack of cooperation between AVDC and MKDC - as confirmed by MKDC at their full council meeting on 23rd October 2019 when members across all parties agreed that a 'failure of cooperation' had occurred in contravention of 2014's PPG (paragraph 3-008), risking a non-adoption report. This lack of cooperation has resulted in a disturbing lack of information in certain key development areas - resulting in a VALP that is demonstrably unsound, non-complaint and possibly unlawful.

At this stage I would like to formally record my support for all the points raised in the submission prepared by Whaddon Parish Council, whose knowledge of development matters is second to none given their previous efforts to protect Whaddon village and the rolling countryside of the Whaddon Chase Valley. AVDC would do well to consult with them at the earliest opportunity.

I have decided to focus my detailed representation on the following areas:

TRAFFIC
AVDC is aware that Whaddon Parish Council (WPC) collects detailed traffic volume data - but neither AVDC nor AECOMS consulted with or asked WPC for their traffic data before preparing their proposals. Why not? Where is the local engagement? WPC can statistically demonstrate that weekday traffic levels have increased by over 50% in the last 5 years. Road safety is a serious concern to Whaddon residents, many of whom will testify that both vehicle/vehicle accidents and vehicle/pedestrian accidents have increased over recent years. HGV traffic has also increased, leaving village access roads dangerously potholed - a point AVDC finally acknowledged when they recently agreed to resurface the entire length of Codimoor Lane. When asked by Whaddon Parish Council how a new grid road would address traffic concerns in Whaddon, AVDC revealed they had no plans and no answers! Is AVDC aware of the sound public planning principle (adopted by both Government and Local Authorities nationwide) that 'infrastructure must come before development'? Worryingly, AVDC confirmed that traffic issues would only be resolved at the detailed planning stage. And if they can't be? It would then be too late. Sensible, sustainable planning policy dictates that you resolve issues before committing to considerable expense. It would be foolhardy to start a journey before deciding on the destination. Clearly a proposed development of this scale sited on the border between Aylesbury Vale and Milton Keynes requires traffic impact analysis across both authorities. Not only has this not occurred, but each authority uses a different traffic modelling technique (neither of which consider the impact of major development on the surrounding road network). Given the 'failure of cooperation' between AVDC and MKC, it is clear that cooperation at the traffic impact level has not taken place. Further evidence of this lack of cooperation is evidenced by MKC's refusal to consent to access into Salden Chase from the A421 due to 'insufficient evidence to mitigate traffic'. If development of 1,855 houses is approved at Salden Chase, how will residents access their homes? Via Newton Longville? This would have a devastating effect on Newton Longville. MKC could similarly deny access to Shenley Park (WHA001) from the A421 or along the North Bucks Way, with the resulting traffic through Whaddon destroying the character, environment and safety of Whaddon village. Both authorities should be reminded that their failure to cooperate is a clear contravention of 2014's PPG (paragraph 3-008) and risks a non-adoption report recommendation from the Inspector. These important issues cannot simply be overlooked and must be resolved before identified development sites can be included in the Local Plan.


INFRASTRUCTURE AND ESSENTIAL PUBLIC SERVICES
The failure of AVDC and MKDC to cooperate by engaging in effective discussion and undertaking proper joint-working has also led to serious concerns regarding the provision of and long-term sustainability of essential public services. In summary, Shenley Park residents would reside in Aylesbury Vale, pay taxes to AVDC, but use taxpayer-funded services in Milton Keynes. For example:

* EDUCATION: WHA001 outline plans do not provide for a secondary school as it would 'not be viable'. Where then will children of secondary school age be educated? Especially when you consider that Milton Keynes' secondary schools are already at full capacity (and in any case are intended for MKC residents). More worryingly, how will their education be financed? Due to the lack of cooperation between AVDC and MKDC there has been no discussion (and therefore no agreement) on any transfers of taxes raised from residents of any of the identified development areas to MKDC in order to adequately fund secondary schools.
* EMPLOYMENT: Remarkably, the Main Modifications do not mention employment. It is highly likely that residents of Shenley Park (WHA001) would work in Milton Keynes. Transport infrastructure in Milton Keynes is already at breaking point and Whaddon has evidence of steadily increasing volumes of traffic, with corresponding increases in danger to both motorists and pedestrians. MKC's November 2019 refusal to consent access into Salden Chase from the A421 is a problem that is highly likely to apply to WHA001. Due to a lack of cooperation, insufficient thought has been given to linking future residents to their place of work. Without a sustainable transport plan, VALP, and in particular the inclusion of WHA001, is unsound.
* HEALTHCARE AND AMBULANCE SERVICES: Shenley Park (WHA001) does not provide for healthcare services. Residents will inevitably use health services located in Milton Keynes, especially Milton Keynes Hospital. Limited cooperation on budgeting for residents of Shenley Park's use of Milton Keynes Hospital has taken place and AVDC has only agreed to a single, one-off payment of £2m. There have been no discussions regarding the ongoing and financing of the provision of healthcare and ambulance services. Certainly a £2m one-off fiscal transfer will be a drop in the ocean compared to the ongoing cost of providing hospital services to approximately 2,900 new AVDC residents.
* WASTE SERVICES: Shenley Park (WHA001) does not provide for waste services. Residents will inevitably use waste services, including recycling facilities, located in Milton Keynes.
* POLICE SERVICES: Shenley Park (WHA001) does not provide for police services. Residents in WHA001 will inevitably use and rely on police services located in Milton Keynes.
* FIRE SERVICES: Shenley Park (WHA001) does not provide for fire services. Residents in WHA001 will inevitably use and rely on the fire prevention and extinguishing services located in Milton Keynes.

Milton Keynes Council (MKC) currently uses a tariff system to fund infrastructure and community facilities. Every new dwelling contributes £20,000. If WHA001 were located in Milton Keynes, the 1,150 new homes would raise c. £23m for MKC. As it stands, and due to a complete failure to cooperate, MKC will receive just £2m (nominally earmarked for MK hospital), instead of c. £23m (plus ongoing council tax revenue). Recognising that MKC is being asked to fund significant infrastructure and ongoing public services provision for AVDC residents, MKC members have suggested that a boundary change be considered to allow MKC to align the revenue collection and service provision for any new residents. This was immediately rejected by AVDC - in no small part due to the undeniable fact that WHA001 allows AVDC to collect a significant sum in council taxes whilst letting MKC bear the cost of providing many of their essential public services.

Referring to WHA001, the 'suggested changes' document mentions that 'the development will use some facilities in Milton Keynes, given its proximity' (paragraph f). The reference to 'some' is repeated in the Sustainability Appraisal Report Addendum in Section 9.9.1. 'Some' dependency is unacceptably vague. MM076 mentions a primary school and a small care home - but there is almost no mention of any public service provision for residents between primary school age and those entering a care home. AVDC must more clearly define which public services AVDC is providing and financing and which public services they are expecting MKC to provide and finance. Can AVDC confirm what discussions have taken place between AVDC and MKDC in relation to the provision of and the financing of essential public services? Has an agreement been reached? It is clear that there will be an almost total dependency of residents in WHA001 on public services provided by and paid for by Milton Keynes Council. Is it any wonder the members have serious reservation and are objecting even at this early stage in small but meaningful ways, such as refusing to grant planning permission for access roads from the A421?

The issue arising from the provision of all public services is that AVDC will collect local taxes, but it will be MKC that will bear the cost of providing essential public services - or not. Without cooperation, MKC will either refuse to provide services for residents of AVDC, or these services will be underfunded and deficient. Cooperation - and an agreement on fiscal transfers to fund joint services - must take place and be concluded before any discussion about development should begin. Without agreement on transfers of money to provide for the essential public services - or an agreed boundary change, the VALP is unsustainable, non-complaint and therefore unsound.


MEANINGFUL DEVELOPMENT BARRIER
In 1998, a study by Llewelyn-Davies (at the request of SERPLAN) concluded that the 'Shenley Ridge forms a division between the urbanity of Milton Keynes and the rolling Buckinghamshire
countryside'. The study repeated the earlier recommendations that future development be kept to the East of Shenley Ridge which "forms a logical and obvious boundary to development".

The Public Inspector wrote that he did "not see the logic of regarding the Whaddon Valley as a possible long-term development area. To do so disregards the qualities of the valley landscape and the merits of the Shenley Ridge as a logical and clear long-term boundary.". He concluded by confirming that in his view "the combination of the character of the landscape and the distinctiveness of the ridge dictate that development should not "spill over" the ridge."

https://www.milton-keynes.gov.uk/planning-policy/documents/Part_1.pdf

The North Bucks Way is a natural continuation of the Shenley Ridge and therefore serious consideration should be given to the findings and conclusions of the Planning Inspector's report (dated 7th April 2004). AVDC should conclude - alongside MKC - that the heavily wooded/hedged North Bucks Way should represent 'a logical and obvious boundary to development'. It is illogical and unnecessary to expand the city boundary into WHA001. Milton Keynes' own 'Strategic Development Directions Consultation' document (dated January 2016) identified the development areas in question, including WHA001, to be 'potential strategic green spaces and linear park extensions'. Further evidence that there has been no serious co-ordination or joint strategic planning regarding development sites abutting local authority boundaries.

Even the AECOM Sustainability Appraisal - so heavily relied upon by VALP - confirms that 'significant development would be contrary to a Biodiversity Opportunity Area (BOA) and Bucks Green Infrastructure Plan objectives'. Both Shenley Park (WHA001) and Salden Chase are within a Biodiversity Opportunity Area!

Without defining a natural development barrier, where would encroachment into the open countryside end? Buckingham? AVDC should mirror MKC's ambitions to ensure 'biodiversity' and 'natural processes' are placed at the top of the agenda whilst celebrating the rich variety of wildlife by protecting landscapes and habitats etc. Many objectors to this amendment and development at Shenley Park (WHA001) will consider that AVDC is too easily influenced by profit-hungry developers - many of whom are already racing to secure development rights on tracts of agricultural land reaching as far as Buckingham town. This is evidenced by Crest Homes' 'Development Opportunity Plan (May 2014) showing future development directional arrows pointing even further west than the development proposed at Shenley Park (WHA001). Local Authorities in conjunction with local stakeholders should be defining future development areas based on sound planning practices, not developers with deep pockets and solely economic motives.


CONCLUSION
It is undeniable that AVDC has only included WHA001 at this late stage due to its failure to allocate housing in previously approved sites in Buckingham, Winslow, Haddenham etc. Why should the residents of South-West Milton Keynes - and Whaddon in particular - suffer the consequences of a poorly prepared submission only because AVDC failed to follow due process? Lack of time to prepare sound local area plans should not replace the need for adherence to sensible planning practice and regulations. There are serious and unanswered questions regarding the late inclusion of WHA001, lack of due process and representation, lack of official documents (and the complex manner in which they are presented to the public), environmental concerns (especially in relation to suggested development within a Biodiversity opportunity Area), concerns regarding the initial and ongoing cost of providing essential public services to residents of AVDC, not to mention the funding of and findings of the AECOM Sustainability Appraisal and a demonstrable failure of AVDC and MKC to cooperate and work jointly on even the most basic of issues such as site access.

Although I have focused the attention of my objection on why WHA001 is totally unsuitable for development, resulting in an unsound and legally non-complaint VALP, if development must take place in one or more of the identified sites, there are clearly more acceptable sites than Shenley Park, including Eaton Leys.

AVDC must now answer the following questions:
* Why was Shenley Park (WHA001) not considered suitable for the 2017 VALP?
* Why was it suddenly (and unexpectedly) included in the October 2019 modifications document?
* Does AVDC accept the inclusion of WHA001 at such a late stage is in breach of NPPF guidelines?
* Will AVDC publish the results of the research that led it to conclude there would only be 'some' dependence of residents, when even a brief glance through the published documents reveal that there would be an almost total dependence.
* Will AVDC publish the results of their discussions and cooperation with MKC - especially in relation to capacity building and ongoing financial sustainability of essential public services, including details of ongoing transfers AVDC will make to MKC.
* What degree of influence does the landowner and potential developer of WHA001 have on AVDC?
* In reaching their conclusions, AVDC appears to place disproportionate weight on the findings of the AECOM Sustainability Appraisal. Why? Can all parties be reassured that the AECOM findings are truly 100% impartial? And, in particular, free from any developer influence or bias?
* Will AVDC reopen the Inspector's Hearing Sessions? If not, why not?

Local residents, particularly those who in the historic Domesday village of Whaddon must be given the opportunity to formally object to the very serious and negative impacts such a large development will have on their village - especially on the environment and road safety. A re-opening of the Inspector's Hearing Sessions (with both AVDC and MKC present) is the only acceptable way forward. This would allow previous objectors and Whaddon residents who have been denied the opportunity to speak and object at a hearing to seek satisfactory answers to genuine concerns, including crucial transport, landscape and social issues.

Policy MM076, including all development at Shenley Park (WHA001) must be deleted from the VALP before adoption of the VALP occurs. Eaton Leys, Bletchley or Salden Chase should be considered sustainable replacements. Better still, alternative, more-sustainable sites should be identified closer to larger towns in Aylesbury Vale - thereby helping that town's sustainability and economy, rather than that of Milton Keynes.

[I am also attaching a pdf copy of my objection to MM076]

Object

VALP Main Modifications

Representation ID: 3674

Received: 17/12/2019

Respondent: Mr Graham Stewart

Legally compliant? Not specified

Sound? Not specified

Representation Summary:

There are huge 'question marks' over the validity and accuracy of the AECOM Sustainability Appraisal, which although coming out 'just' in favour of Shenley Park fails to make a proper case of testing the three appraised sites against one another, and has a definite bias when it comes to favouring the Whaddon site.

Full text:

I have lived in Whaddon Village for 40 years, was born locally, and have worked and lived in and around Milton Keynes for my entire life. I consider that I know the area particularly well. I have read the full submission by Whaddon Parish Council and fully agree with all the points raised within it. I do not intend to repeat those arguments here, apart from one very important issue which appertains to the re-opening of the hearing sessions. It is essential for 'fairness' reasons that residents of Whaddon have the opportunity to express their concerns about the Shenley Park (WHA001) site and the Main Modification MM076, because it is clear to me and many others that the proper process has not been followed by our Local Authority - AVDC, and there are huge 'question marks' over the validity and accuracy of the AECOM Sustainability Appraisal, which although coming out 'just' in favour of Shenley Park fails to make a proper case of testing the three appraised sites against one another, and has a definite bias when it comes to favouring the Whaddon site. I hope the Inspector uses his discretion and reopens the Inquiry Hearing, and gives all parties plenty of notice so that they may prepare accordingly. This timetable should not be influenced by the imminent demise of AVDC, because the new single Unitary Authority for Bucks should be able to seamlessly continue the VALP progress.

This is a new point that I do not believe was adequately covered in the Whaddon Parish response, so I ask the Inspector to consider it :-

"Policy D2 Delivery site allocations in the rest of the district - should be amended to exclude the proposed allocation at Shenley Park (WHA001) and instead include land at Eaton Leys, if it is decided only one strategic site should replace Shenley Park. However, I believe that given the delays and uncertainty associated with the delivery of the Salden Chase allocation, and the possible slippage of the RAF Halton Camp site in delivery timescales, consideration should be given to the allocation of a combination of sites to deliver the c.1150 plus additional dwellings. For example this could include that part of Eaton Leys within the AVDC district and also land around Newton Leys (as opposed to Salden Chase), which I understand is available and has been promoted to AVDC during the VALP process. This would represent a simple and easy to achieve extension to a new and thriving Milton Keynes community that has brand new facilities such as a new primary school, bus services and community facilities. This site is also conveniently located at the head of the A4146 and Stoke Hammond bypass, meaning that the additional traffic generated by these new homes would not impact on the A421 which is the subject of so many well founded and accurate capacity and safety concerns. Such an approach reduces the risk of the strategic site not coming forward as soon as anticipated, spreads the risk and supports housing delivery. As mentioned earlier, I believe that the Sustainability Appraisal Addendum is already seriously flawed, but another failing is that it did not consider the reasonable alternative of meeting the housing numbers adjacent to Milton Keynes through a combination of sites rather than just relying on one strategic site."

This is the second point that I believe was not adequately covered in the Whaddon Parish response, and it relates, in my opinion, to the important point of 'consistency' within the planning process, which surely should not be overlooked or ignored, when considering previous studies by eminent companies, and those comments made by previous Inspectors, in relation to the landscape to the west of Milton keynes beyond the Shenley Ridge and the continuation thereof being the long distance bridleway (North Bucks Way or Milton Keynes Boundary Walk). In essence, this established edge to Milton Keynes has been recognised over many, many years as being worth protecting, and until such time as this well-founded principle has to be broken (and that time has not yet come), it is much more sensible, and good planning logic to identify less sensitive sites that will not have such a damaging impact on the landscape, biodiversity opportunities and those communities living in the areas to the west of Milton Keynes.

I do not believe that this Public Consultation period is the appropriate time or place to spread 50 years of planning and landscape decisions and opinions before you, as you have much else to consider. However, if you would be prepared to, at least inspect and take account of these 'previous opinions' at a further hearing - in order that you may better understand the original 'setting up' and 'growth pattern' of Milton Keynes, and thereafter consider the shared views of your predecessors (when they have had to reach similar difficult expansion decisions), then these can be prepared and submitted at that time. Such background documents were submitted during the September 2003 'A Ridge too Far' campaign during an earlier Milton Keynes Local Plan Inquiry, where a large strategic site within Milton Keynes, on the opposite side of Whaddon Village was contested on similar grounds. On that occasion the landscape and traffic arguments submitted by the village were upheld and the village preserved that part of the historic Whaddon Chase. The documents, if allowed, would include pertinent extracts and comments from, amongst others :-

1966 - In the 'report of the Inquiry' into 'The Draft of the North Buckinghamshire New Town', recommendations of Inspector Mr. G C Godber CBE.

1967 - Ministry of Housing and Local Government, Mr. J. Palmer (Assistant Secretary), when confirming the New Town Designation Order.

1992 - M.K. Expansion Study. The Llewelyn-Davies report, commissioned by MKC.

1994 - PPG - Planning and the Historical Environment (addendum 8)

1998 - The later Update of the 1992 M.K. Expansion Study .... Which follows the general theme throughout and excluded the further expansion west beyond the North Bucks Way, as this would encroach into the very high quality landscape containing extensive and attractive views and destroy the historic nature of the area.

2002 - Public Inquiry into Objections to the Deposit Draft of the Aylesbury Vale District Plan : Inspectors report Part 2. By, Peter Beasley Dip TP. Dip ld. MRTPI, Inspector.

2004 - Milton Keynes Local Plan Inquiry, Interim (Part 1) Report by, Keith Holland, Inspector

Thank you for considering these points.

Object

VALP Main Modifications

Representation ID: 3675

Received: 19/12/2019

Respondent: Mr David Froggatt

Legally compliant? Not specified

Sound? Not specified

Representation Summary:

Very surprisingly, the SA does not mention the important North Bucks Way at all, but a new road access into SP must out across this natural boundary that currently forms a strong definable western edge to the existing built-up area of MK.

Full text:

Shenley Park, Whaddon (SP) was not included in the 2017 proposed submission version of VALP,so Whaddon PC and residents have been completely denied the opportunity to properly debate and cross examine AVDC's decision to choose SP over the other two competing sites during the public learning sessions held by the inspector on July 2018. Because of the very late introduction of SP the inspectors must be strongly encouraged to open a further hearing session at the end of the public consultation period, so that this critical omission can be rectified. It is completely unfair and unjust not to allow detailed and proper comparison testing between the three competing sites.
Whaddon residents must be given the opportunity to inform the inspectors of the impact such a large development will have on their environment, lives and health, road safety and general well-being of particular concern is the expected substantial increase in traffic bringing with it additional pollution and noise, within the village of Whaddon and surrounding country roads. The A421 is already a bottleneck and the delays and pollution will be made much worse by adding this many vehicles to it. Very surprisingly, the SA does not mention the SA does not mention the important North Bucks Way at all, but a new road access into SP must out across this natural boundary that currently forms a strong definable western edge to the existing built-up area of MK. Its importance as an old established landscaped barrier and existing habitat and wildlife corridor is overlooked Cutting through this ancient corridor by one if not two, grid road extensions will unnecessarily harm attractive and as yet unspoilt countryside. "Virgin" land which does not enjoy any further outer boundary that could be described as a similar long-term and defensible boundary. en the three competing sites.
Government requires that adjoining authorities have a "duty to co -operate when considering significant strategic cross-boundary housing allocations. Such a duty cannot be rectified during a public consultation period. AVDC have paid lip-service to this, but they have not addressed this key strategic housing allocation through effective discussion or proper joint working, representing a significant failure of "duty tot co -operate" at an early stage. Shenley Park (SP) was not included in the 2017 proposed submission version of VALP, so Whaddon PC residents have been completely denied the opportunity to properly debate and cross-examine AVDC'S decision to choose SP over the two competing sites. Government requires that adjoining authorities have a duty to co-operate when considering significant cross-boundary housing allocations. AVDC have paid Lip Service, but have not addressed this through effective discussion or joint working. It is illegal and completely unnecessary to expand the MK city boundary into Shenley Park. Why cross a strong defensible bridleway boundary and much valued open unspoilt countryside, when there are two more appropriate, and easier to develop, alternative sites available at Salden Chase and particularly Eaton Leys.