VALP Further Main Modifications
Representation ID: 3740
Respondent: Mr Chris Webbley
Legally compliant? Yes
FMM 024 (a) will not be achieved.
The new communities will not support and enhance existing communities, which are strongly based on a lasting sense of place and identity.
Instead, coalescence will result of the sort that was strongly criticised by the Secretary of State in 2015 over what is now D-AGT4.
The new sites will have little reason to support and enhance their enforced neighbours. And the busy link roads will further cut them off and focus them internally.
Insert, after “public realm”, “while avoiding coalescence”.
The Further Main Modification (para a) now specifies that one of the aims of the Plan is that the new communities should support and enhance existing communities within “neighbouring villages”. This aim is, however, not practicable. This element of the Plan is Unsound because it is neither Justified nor Effective
Fundamental to each of the village communities in the area is a strong, historic sense of identity and place. This persists and re-creates itself over time irrespective of changes of technology, lifestyle and demographics. Placenames, anecdotes and shared events all contribute to this sense of community.
The Plan’s proposals for the D-AGT sites will not “support and enhance” this. What they will do instead is far more serious. It is to create coalescence between the “neighbouring villages” and greater Aylesbury. D-AGT4, for example, would connect Aylesbury with the historic villages of Weston Turville and Stoke Mandeville. This was specifically pointed out in the Secretary of State’s ruling against the ‘Hampden Fields’ (now D-AGT4) proposal (see his letter 26 January 2015, para 23 ‘Coalescence and Settlement Identity’). He said that the proposal would draw those villages and the town together, in a “fundamental change”. Nothing in the current Plan mitigates that.
A second reason why FMM024 (a) will not work is that the plans for the new communities will actually create self-contained areas with little or no reason to “support and enhance existing communities”. Local centres, if indeed they can progress to be built in the face of the problems that affected Berryfields (see the changed narrative under FMM038), will tend to draw the new residents in on themselves.
In addition, the proposed ‘strategic link roads’ are forecast to carry a great volume of day-long traffic – 48,000 vehicles per day in the case of the Southern Link Road through D-AGT4, for example. This means that interaction with an existing village, however near it may appear on a map, will be severely restricted.
These comments are consistent with our previous representations. The Further Main Modification has not resolved this problem.
This representation is made on behalf of HFAG (Hampden Fields Action Group) and its 2,000 supporters.