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Object

VALP Further Main Modifications

FMM089

Representation ID: 3821

Received: 09/02/2021

Respondent: David Lock Associates

Legally compliant? Yes

Sound? No

Representation Summary:

The Plan (with FMM089) insofar as it relates to Buckingham is not positively planned and prepared or justified.
HLM is convinced of the need:
• for a comprehensive transport strategy founded upon or evolved from the BTS – and fully evidenced as being effective;
• for each allocation to be demonstrably capable of being mitigated
• to be crystal clear what allocations are specifically contributing towards in terms of highway and transport infrastructure.
Equally, HLM are convinced that the VALP with MM210 and FMM089 – plus the relevant site allocations – do not meet these tests which are at the heart of the NPPF soundness tests.

Change suggested by respondent:

(Officer addition - see attachment for formatting strike through and deleted text)
HLM has set out previously the changes required to address the failings of Policy T3 as proposed to be modified by MM210. These include requiring the delivery of key infrastructure and confirmation that the policy – and hence the contributions – should explicitly refer to, and be linked to, the Western Link Road. FMM089 changes T3 again yet do not assists with the overarching requirement that:
a) There should be certainty regarding the package of improvements required to address the identified transport issues in the town (including Town Centre congestion) and to mitigate the impact of new allocations
b) No planning permission will be issued unless a financial contribution is made towards this common package or measures on a fair and equitable basis
c) The measures proposed are specific costed and deliverable and consistent with the objectives of the BTS
d) That such a mechanism for delivering infrastructure should require developments or allocations to come forward, best planned through the forthcoming Buckingham Neighbourhood Plan review (noting that the costing of the measures required may necessitate additional allocations).
Specifically the third para of T3 as proposed to be modified by MM210 and FMM089 should be amended to reflect the above requirements and the specific circumstances of Buckingham. The first sentence of para 3 should be amended as follows: “Planning permission will not be granted for development that would not make a proportionate contribution to a comprehensive package of measures and transport measures prejudice or diminish the integrity of the Implementation of existing or protected and supported required transport schemes identified in the list below or as otherwise set out in settlement wide transport strategies”
Add to third para: “In the case of Buckingham, a comprehensive package of measures, including necessary supporting allocations should be set out in the review of the Buckingham Neighbourhood Plan”

Full text:

BUCKINGHAM SUBMISSION:

Sirs

Please find enclosed representations on the Further Main Modifications to the VALP – submitted on behalf of Hallam Land Management (Buckingham)

1 Hallam Land Management (Buckingham) [HLM(B)] has set out a number of objections to the policies of the submitted VALP, and also to the Main Modifications, insofar as the Plan and the Main Modifications relate to Buckingham and the planning and transportation strategy being set out therein.
2 Those objections to the submission version of the VALP were set out in some detail and heard at previous sessions of the Examination prompting, in part, the Inspector to set out a preliminary finding that the VALP in it is initial form was unsound in failing to include, in the VALP, the key infrastructure requirements upon which the delivery of the plan depends. This conclusion was drawn, by the Inspector, notwithstanding the generic references in the VALP to the Buckingham Transport Strategy (BTS) and the VALP IDP (which includes a broad range of infrastructure projects to be implemented in Buckingham - including the Buckingham Western Link Road (WLR) and West Street/High Street Route downgrade). HLM(B) is not aware that the IDP or Buckingham Transport Strategy has been updated since the earlier sessions of the examination. Therefore, they are intended to continue to underpin the Plan.
3 AVDC sought to address the Inspectors concerns, in Main Modification 210 (August 2019) by setting out, in Policy T3, the transport projects it would support in each location of the District. In Buckingham a number of schemes from the Buckingham Transport Strategy and the VALP IDP were included in Policy T3, through MM210, albeit not the WLR nor the High Street/West Street works.
4 MM082 and 084 also amended the policies relating to allocated sites BUC043 and BUC046 to insist that “a financial contribution will be required towards funding appropriate elements of the Buckingham Transport Strategy”. MM083 deleted allocation BUC051 to the west of Buckingham in part, because, it was said to rely upon the WLR which could not be delivered by site BUC051 alone (albeit that the necessary land controls were in place).
5 Detailed objections were raised to each of these Main Modifications by HLM(Buckingham), in timely fashion and recognised by the Inspector in his Discussion Document No 8 (ED265) as meriting a further hearing session in relation to the Buckingham sites and Buckingham Transport Strategy. This is to be arranged once the Inspector has been able to consider representations on these Further Proposed Modifications to the VALP, including those set out here.
6 FMM089 proposes a further modification(s) of Policy T3 and compounds the concerns raised by HLM (Buckingham) at MM stage. Specifically, at Buckingham, FMM089 proposes that the transport strategy for Buckingham be further modified from that set out in the BTS and indeed in MM210. Specifically T3, as proposed to be further modified, now appears to require specific listed transport schemes. Moreover, that list has been further amended: i) the A421/413 is now to be upgraded to dual standard over a length now specified, ii) the BTS scheme for Improvement of the A413 Buckingham Road is now to be deleted from the Plan.
7 Hallam seeks not to repeat its objections to the MMs which were set out in full last year and which the Inspector is to consider at a further session of the examination.
8 The gist of the previous and outstanding concerns is summarised below as context for this objection to FMM089. In summary such concerns were that:
• Policy T3 sought simply to “actively support key transport proposals” not require them and hence was little more than a safeguarding policy;
• The transport schemes added into T3 in Buckingham – did not reflect the evidence base, and in particular did not reflect the Buckingham Transport Strategy;
• The absence of an adequate evidence base to enable a conclusion that allocations BUC043 or BUC046 or MM06 can be adequately accommodated on the highway network or can be satisfactorily mitigated.
9 The importance of the Buckingham Transport Strategy was that it provided a comprehensive analysis of the transport issues in the town and set out a comprehensive package of measures to address those Transport issues. Prominent among the issues raised was the scale of congestion in the town centre in particular – a conclusion endorsed by the additional evidence published alongside the Main Modifications:
• The Revised County Modelling for Buckingham (3 April 2019) (ED214B)
• The Buckingham Town Centre Modelling Report (24 May 2019) (ED214A)
• BCC’s advice Note (ED215)
10 Whilst AVDC and BCC argued that site BUC051 could no longer be supported because of the impact of its development on the town centre (in the absence of the WLR), HLM (Buckingham) argued strongly that there simply was not the evidence to demonstrate that ANY of the proposed allocations could be mitigated in the absence of a wholehearted policy to deliver the Buckingham Transport Strategy (either as proposed or refined).
11 The remedy suggested by HLM(Buckingham) comprised one or more of the following:
• The removal of proposed allocations at Buckingham and the devolution of such allocations to the ongoing review of the Buckingham Neighbourhood plan;
• The alternative of the inclusion of additional allocations such as BUC025, to support the delivery of the Buckingham Transport Strategy – the BTS having been prepared and assessed having regard to sites such as BUC025 ad BCC in its evidence base noting the acceptability of BUC025 in its updated evidence base;
• The inclusion in T3 of each element of the Buckingham Transport Strategy (including the WLR), rather than a selection of elements
• A stronger commitment to allocations funding all rather than selected elements of the BTS – as drafted MM082 and 084 seek simply a financial contribution – failing to be precise as to what is required in development sites
12 FMM089 sets out different remedies which are unsatisfactory and objected to.
13 First FMM089 proposes that T3 be further modified by deleting the reference to critical and necessary infrastructure and instead should refer to “required” infrastructure. At face value this is helpful yet it sits within a policy that remains “to actively support key transport proposals including those identified in both the Aylesbury Transport Strategy and Buckingham Transport Strategy”. Any intention to require the delivery of the listed elements of infrastructure appears to be contradicted by an overall intention only to actively encourage the key transport proposals in the opening line of the policy.
14 Moreover, the amended wording is far from clear and leaves developers unclear of their obligations. As per FMM089 the policy now seeks to resist planning permission for development “that would prejudice or diminish the integrity of the implementation of existing or protected and supported required transport schemes identified in the list below”. The convoluted wording of the policy is very confusing. Is the test that development proposals should be resisted if they physically compromise the implementation of transport schemes? Or is it that proposals should be resisted if they do not properly fund and ensure the delivery of the listed transport schemes – presumably the schemes necessary to mitigate the development (including town wide strategies such as at Buckingham).
15 Second, FMM089 proposes substantial changes to the required transport infrastructure at Buckingham: i) the A421/413 is now to be upgraded to dual standard over a length now specified, ii) the BTS scheme for Improvement of the A413 Buckingham Road is now to be deleted from the plan and T3 as had been set out in MM210. In essence this appears to be a different mitigation strategy again.
16 HLM (Buckingham) do not believe that the further (apparently ad hoc) changes to the required Transport strategy for Buckingham are supported by appropriate evidence or are justified.
17 HLM (Buckingham) acknowledge that yet further evidence has been published (since the publication of the MM) by Buckinghamshire Council in relation to Transport at Buckingham notably:
• Buckingham VALP Allocations - Statement on Highway Matters (ED257)
• VALP Modelling – Buckingham Additional Modelling Report (ED255) (October 2020)
• RES002 Response to Representations made by Hallam Land Management by Buckinghamshire Council in relation to Highways and Transportation Matters
18 Much of the additional evidence appears to be a defence of the position set out in MM083 and MM210 and a response to previous objections made by HLM(Buckingham). It seeks retrospectively to seek to plug some of the gaps in the evidence base previously identified by HLM. It does little more than seek to compare the merits of the individual sites at Buckingham and how the deleted BUC051 performs relative to the others. It is a justification for MM083 (the deletion of BUC051) rather than an evidence base that supports the overall transport strategy for Buckingham and the policy set out in T3– as now proposed to be further modified in FMM089.
19 Technically the additional evidence is flawed in a number of respects (See Appendix 1 – Technical Note 4 prepared by Brookbanks):
• The assessments made have a very narrow focus on the allocations and no reconsideration of which elements of the BTS are required to address transport issues in Buckingham and/or mitigated the impacts of the proposed developments
• The assessments were very limited being based on a static Arcady model rather than County Strategic Transport Model;
• The assessments did not consider the impacts of developments, only the on congestion at two town centre junctions
• The latest assessments included no additional modelling to assess the effectiveness of the BTS or elements thereof.
20 In addition, while the latest evidence is said to conclude that the allocation of BUC051 would have a greater impact on the highway network than of other sites, it is apparent that all other sites will have highway impacts and that no conclusion is set that demonstrates that impact and the effects of the mitigation measures set out in T3 and FMM089.
21 Of greater significance there is no attempt to justify, or evidence, the additional FMM089 changes to the Transport Strategy for the town. HLM is unaware of any evidence to support the deletion in FMM089 of the A413 improvements from the schedule of required schemes in T3.
22 Originally the preparation of the Buckingham Transport Strategy was a laudable attempt to establish a comprehensive and coherent basis for delivering both development and transport improvements in the town – recognising existing and new congestion and journey time issues. It provided clarity and it was on this basis that HLM (Buckingham) in securing consent for 400 dwellings on land to the west of the town (15/01218/AOP) contributed some £800,000 as a Strategic Transport Contribution
23 Although still referenced in T3, the BTS appears to have been watered down, or broken up into individual elements – in a manner unsupported by any new evidence base. HLM(B) is of the firm view that far from providing certainty for the community and developers, there is no settled comprehensive transport strategy for the town. There is therefore no settled basis for contributions (as are now required by MM82 and MM084). The latest adjustment of the strategy – deletion of reference to the A413 improvements is not supported anywhere by evidence (it seems).
24 For all of these reasons, the Plan (with FMM089) insofar as it relates to Buckingham is not positively planned and prepared or justified.
25 HLM (Buckingham) do not hold unwaveringly to the need to provide the WLR as part of that comprehensive strategy. It is possible that there are alternatives and that development should be focussed on the south side of town (BUC025) to ensure the delivery of those options). However HLM is convinced of the need:
• for comprehensive transport strategy founded upon or evolved from the BTS – and fully evidenced as being effective;
• for each allocation to be demonstrably capable of being mitigated (and not simply retained because of a perceived lesser impact that BUC051, and merely deleting others.)
• to be crystal clear what allocations are specifically contributing towards in terms of highway and transport infrastructure.
26 Equally, HLM are convinced that the VALP with MM210 and FMM089 – plus the relevant site allocations – do not meet these tests which are at the heart of the NPPF soundness tests.

AYLESBURY SUBMISSION:

Dear Sir/ Madam,

Please find enclosed representations on the Further Main Modifications to the VALP – submitted on behalf of Hallam Land Management (Aylesbury).

We would be grateful if you could acknowledge receipt of the representations.

1 Hallam Land Management (Aylesbury) controls land to the north east of Aylesbury including site BIE021.
2 As our previous representations have outlined, HLM (A) have consistently sought a dialogue to help, through its land controls, to bring forward the North East Link road, which is the subject of this representation. No such discussions have been entertained by AVDC or BCC.
3 Following the Inspector’s Interim Findings (IIF) (28th August 2018), the Council amended Policy T3 (via MM210) to include the key infrastructure elements from the Aylesbury Transport Strategy (ATS) upon which the Plan depends.
4 The North East Link road was included within the amended Policy T3, as a ‘necessary’ piece of infrastructure upon which the VALP depends.
5 Policy T3 is proposed to be further modified by FMM089, removing reference to both the North East Link Road and Western Link road (between A418 and A41). This directly contradicts the amendment made in MM210 to explicitly include – as critical and necessary – the North East Link Road in the VALP. It does so without any additional basis in evidence or clear justification.
6 The North East Link Road was included in T3 at MM stage for clear and obvious reasons.
7 As noted in reps at Main Modifications stage:
• it was essential to meet the expectations of the Aylesbury Garden Town Vision which includes “road improvements linking new developments to the town, and creating a series of link roads around the town” (VALP – para 4.30). The Vision specifically included the North East Link Road between the A413 and A418.
• it is essential also from the perspective of the need to address current issues in the network. In Examination document EC279, AVDC had recognised that the ATS measures (including North East Link Road) also address current issues in relation to the capacity of the Network.
• more important still, the North East Link Road was essential to mitigate the impacts of the development proposed in the VALP at Aylesbury and, in particular, in Policy D1 of the Plan.
8 Hallam Land Management has consistently made clear through the examination process that the BCC/AVDC evidence base and modelling shows that, without the North East Link Road, the impact of development on the A41, A413 and A418 isn’t adequately mitigated. The Technical Note prepared by Markides Associates and appended to Hallam Land Management’s Examination Matter 12 Statement was not queried or questioned in the examination hearings and needs to be given substantial weight.
9 The Technical Note drew out the conclusions of the VALP’s own evidence base: the BCC Countywide model and, in particular, the Countywide Local Plan Modelling Phase 3 Technical Note. The Markides Technical Note highlighted the importance of the North East Link Road (which is included in the DS2 model run but not DS1 model run): “Without the provision of the additional link roads [including the North East Link Road] in DS2, there remain issues of congestion on the Stocklake link, A418 and A413 immediately north of Aylesbury and on the A41 to the east of Aylesbury. The North East Link Road offers significant benefits in this area, with scenario DS2 showing much reduced congestion ratios on the A41, A418, A413 and various link roads through the Aylesbury East area over both the DS and DS1 scenarios” [added for clarification].
10 The publication of MM210 reflected the contribution of the NE Link Road including its provision of critical and necessary.
11 Since the publication of the MM, additional modelling has been published by Buckingham Council – explicitly the VALP Modelling Countywide Local Plan Modelling Report Phase 4 (ED254). It is dated May 2020.
12 Hallam Land Management has reviewed the further modelling work that was carried out last year, including in the note prepared by Markides Associates on its behalf (attached as appendix 1). HLM note that this latest assessment work includes a new mitigation scenario which excludes the North East Link Road (along with the Western Link Road). It is a further iteration from the 2017 Phase 3 modelling report employing virtually the same development allocation.
13 Hallam Land Management continues to have significant concerns arising from the work technically and in terms of the results. There are concerns with the validation of the model and how heavily the subsequent forecasts can be relied on. It appears that some of the Do Something model results are unexpectedly inconsistent with the previous Phase 3 modelling when they have been reproduced in the Phase 4 report, despite there being very little change in the development assumptions. Moreover the mitigation model runs show a deterioration in congestion levels and journey times on highway routes in the eastern part of the, indicating that the omission of the North East Link Road may result in impacts of the Local Plan development being severe.
14 FMM089, and its deletion of the North East Link Road, is “explained” in Buckinghamshire Council’s response to Hallam Land Management (HLM) Aylesbury’s representations to the VALP Main Modifications in Examination Document ED263 (Schedule of Councils responses to representations made on the Proposed Main Modifications consultation). Buckinghamshire Council argues that ‘Policy T3 now refers to ‘required’ infrastructure which is essential to enable or unlock strategic housing or employment floorspace.’ It is on this basis that the North Eastern Link Road (NELR) has been removed from Table 16 (within Policy T3), as Buckinghamshire Council state that it has been removed as the ‘NELR is not considered to be required to enable or unlock strategic housing or employment space proposed within the VALP’.
15 Neither the previous (Phase 3), nor the latest (Phase 4), modelling appears to provide the evidence that this is the case or that T3 (without the NELR and WLR) would not result in serious or severe transport impacts.
16 Independent from the technical transport evidence, the North East Link Road, remains a commitment in the up to date strategic planning and investment context for the town of Aylesbury and funding obtained for the town on the basis of an overarching Garden Town Strategy that included the NELR.
17 Specifically:
• the Aylesbury Garden Town Masterplan, dated July 2020, includes a North East Link Road Feasibility Study update as a ‘Medium term (2024-2028)’ action which commits the Council to undertake work described as an “update to the route alignment study for proposed section of orbital link road, considering longer term development potential and relationships to Garden Town proposals.” Furthermore the “North East Link Road Route design and potential delivery” is basis of comprehensive delivery strategy to transform Aylesbury into a Garden Town over the coming decades” (Minutes of Buckinghamshire Council Meeting 15th July 2020). included as a long-term (2029-2033) action. Such actions are clearly within the Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan period (2013-2033). The Aylesbury Garden Town Masterplan was approved by Buckinghamshire Council on 15th July 2020 and clearly demonstrates the Council’s commitment to the Masterplan as “the basis of comprehensive delivery strategy to transform Aylesbury into a Garden Town over the coming decades” (Minutes of Buckinghamshire Council Meeting 15th July 2020).
• Aylesbury Garden Town is included as a key ‘growth and development’ opportunity within Buckinghamshire Growth Board’s Buckinghamshire Recovery and Growth Proposal, submitted to the Government. The Buckinghamshire Recovery and Growth Proposal includes a priority to “front load the delivery of 50,000 homes by 2036, regenerating and reviving towns, and consolidating the opportunity presented by major innovative developments such as Aylesbury Garden Town…”. A proposed project as part of the application for the Single Pot investment Fund is “Aylesbury Transport Improvements”.
• the North East Link road is referred to in the Pre Submission Version of the Bierton with Broughton Neighbourhood Plan (October 2020 version). The aspiration section of the proposed Plan states “it is recognised that, during the life of the plan, there may be Strategy Developments outside of the current Development Boundaries, including but not limited to the Northern Link Road to complete the outer ring road around Aylesbury”.
18 It is therefore clear that the North Eastern Link Road is a long standing commitment and future requirement associated with Aylesbury Garden Town and Buckinghamshire Council’s ambitions for growth within the Plan period and further to 2050.
19 HLM (A) question whether FMM089 omits the North East Link Road simply because of uncertainty regarding deliverability – particularly in the light of a reconsideration of the Oxfordshire Cambridgeshire Expressway proposals of which it once might have formed a small part. In reality, development can of course assist with delivery.
20 Specifically, HLM(A) requests that a reference to the North East Link Road, in the context of Buckinghamshire Council / Aylesbury Garden Town’s long standing commitment to the Aylesbury Transport Strategy, be retained within policy T3 of the VALP to ensure that it is recognised as a future Plan requirement – a matter for the Buckinghamshire Plan, required to be adopted by 2025 (five years since vesting day of Buckinghamshire Council).

See attachment Markides Associates
Review of Updated Aylesbury Countywide
Model Prepared for: Hallam Land Management
9 February 2021

Object

VALP Further Main Modifications

FMM089

Representation ID: 3822

Received: 09/02/2021

Respondent: David Lock Associates

Legally compliant? Yes

Sound? No

Representation Summary:

HLM(A) objects to the removal of the North East Link Road from amended Policy T3. The North East Link Road is clearly an important component of the Aylesbury Transport Strategy and Aylesbury Garden Town. The North East Link Road should be included as a requirement for future growth in the Aylesbury area, if not within this plan should the Inspector find the impact upon the existing road network is ‘severe’ without it.

Change suggested by respondent:

(Officer Note - See attachment for formatting strike through and underlined text)

It is apparent to HLM(A), in the light of the above and all previous evidence and submissions, that the North East Link Road should be recognised in the VALP as a fundamental element of the Strategic Plan for Aylesbury. Such recognition will ensure consistency with the evidence base, the Garden Town Strategy, the Aylesbury Transport Strategy.
Option 1 is simply to ensure that the North East Link Road is retained in the list of required schemes (ie. that FMM089 – insofar as it relates to the Link Road – is rejected as a modification to the Plan).
Option 2, should it be determined that the NELR is not required to be delivered prior to the early phases of Delivering Aylesbury Garden Town (VALP policy D1) (Hallam has not seen the evidence that this is the case) then alternative recognition be given to its nevertheless ongoing strategic importance. The consequential requirement of the deletion of the North East Link Road from the list of required schemes would be an explicit reference in the preamble to the list of schemes in T3 in one of the following forms:
• First line amended as follows: “The council will actively support key transport proposals including these identified in both the Aylesbury Transport Strategy and Buckingham Transport Strategy – such schemes to include identified priorities not listed in Table 16 below and including the North East and Western Link Roads at Aylesbury”; or
• Third para amended as follows: “These required transport schemes are also shown on the Policies Map. In addition to these required schemes, the Council will seek to bring forward other strategic transport priorities set out in the AGTS, ATS and BTS – including explicitly the Aylesbury North East Link Road”.

Full text:

BUCKINGHAM SUBMISSION:

Sirs

Please find enclosed representations on the Further Main Modifications to the VALP – submitted on behalf of Hallam Land Management (Buckingham)

1 Hallam Land Management (Buckingham) [HLM(B)] has set out a number of objections to the policies of the submitted VALP, and also to the Main Modifications, insofar as the Plan and the Main Modifications relate to Buckingham and the planning and transportation strategy being set out therein.
2 Those objections to the submission version of the VALP were set out in some detail and heard at previous sessions of the Examination prompting, in part, the Inspector to set out a preliminary finding that the VALP in it is initial form was unsound in failing to include, in the VALP, the key infrastructure requirements upon which the delivery of the plan depends. This conclusion was drawn, by the Inspector, notwithstanding the generic references in the VALP to the Buckingham Transport Strategy (BTS) and the VALP IDP (which includes a broad range of infrastructure projects to be implemented in Buckingham - including the Buckingham Western Link Road (WLR) and West Street/High Street Route downgrade). HLM(B) is not aware that the IDP or Buckingham Transport Strategy has been updated since the earlier sessions of the examination. Therefore, they are intended to continue to underpin the Plan.
3 AVDC sought to address the Inspectors concerns, in Main Modification 210 (August 2019) by setting out, in Policy T3, the transport projects it would support in each location of the District. In Buckingham a number of schemes from the Buckingham Transport Strategy and the VALP IDP were included in Policy T3, through MM210, albeit not the WLR nor the High Street/West Street works.
4 MM082 and 084 also amended the policies relating to allocated sites BUC043 and BUC046 to insist that “a financial contribution will be required towards funding appropriate elements of the Buckingham Transport Strategy”. MM083 deleted allocation BUC051 to the west of Buckingham in part, because, it was said to rely upon the WLR which could not be delivered by site BUC051 alone (albeit that the necessary land controls were in place).
5 Detailed objections were raised to each of these Main Modifications by HLM(Buckingham), in timely fashion and recognised by the Inspector in his Discussion Document No 8 (ED265) as meriting a further hearing session in relation to the Buckingham sites and Buckingham Transport Strategy. This is to be arranged once the Inspector has been able to consider representations on these Further Proposed Modifications to the VALP, including those set out here.
6 FMM089 proposes a further modification(s) of Policy T3 and compounds the concerns raised by HLM (Buckingham) at MM stage. Specifically, at Buckingham, FMM089 proposes that the transport strategy for Buckingham be further modified from that set out in the BTS and indeed in MM210. Specifically T3, as proposed to be further modified, now appears to require specific listed transport schemes. Moreover, that list has been further amended: i) the A421/413 is now to be upgraded to dual standard over a length now specified, ii) the BTS scheme for Improvement of the A413 Buckingham Road is now to be deleted from the Plan.
7 Hallam seeks not to repeat its objections to the MMs which were set out in full last year and which the Inspector is to consider at a further session of the examination.
8 The gist of the previous and outstanding concerns is summarised below as context for this objection to FMM089. In summary such concerns were that:
• Policy T3 sought simply to “actively support key transport proposals” not require them and hence was little more than a safeguarding policy;
• The transport schemes added into T3 in Buckingham – did not reflect the evidence base, and in particular did not reflect the Buckingham Transport Strategy;
• The absence of an adequate evidence base to enable a conclusion that allocations BUC043 or BUC046 or MM06 can be adequately accommodated on the highway network or can be satisfactorily mitigated.
9 The importance of the Buckingham Transport Strategy was that it provided a comprehensive analysis of the transport issues in the town and set out a comprehensive package of measures to address those Transport issues. Prominent among the issues raised was the scale of congestion in the town centre in particular – a conclusion endorsed by the additional evidence published alongside the Main Modifications:
• The Revised County Modelling for Buckingham (3 April 2019) (ED214B)
• The Buckingham Town Centre Modelling Report (24 May 2019) (ED214A)
• BCC’s advice Note (ED215)
10 Whilst AVDC and BCC argued that site BUC051 could no longer be supported because of the impact of its development on the town centre (in the absence of the WLR), HLM (Buckingham) argued strongly that there simply was not the evidence to demonstrate that ANY of the proposed allocations could be mitigated in the absence of a wholehearted policy to deliver the Buckingham Transport Strategy (either as proposed or refined).
11 The remedy suggested by HLM(Buckingham) comprised one or more of the following:
• The removal of proposed allocations at Buckingham and the devolution of such allocations to the ongoing review of the Buckingham Neighbourhood plan;
• The alternative of the inclusion of additional allocations such as BUC025, to support the delivery of the Buckingham Transport Strategy – the BTS having been prepared and assessed having regard to sites such as BUC025 ad BCC in its evidence base noting the acceptability of BUC025 in its updated evidence base;
• The inclusion in T3 of each element of the Buckingham Transport Strategy (including the WLR), rather than a selection of elements
• A stronger commitment to allocations funding all rather than selected elements of the BTS – as drafted MM082 and 084 seek simply a financial contribution – failing to be precise as to what is required in development sites
12 FMM089 sets out different remedies which are unsatisfactory and objected to.
13 First FMM089 proposes that T3 be further modified by deleting the reference to critical and necessary infrastructure and instead should refer to “required” infrastructure. At face value this is helpful yet it sits within a policy that remains “to actively support key transport proposals including those identified in both the Aylesbury Transport Strategy and Buckingham Transport Strategy”. Any intention to require the delivery of the listed elements of infrastructure appears to be contradicted by an overall intention only to actively encourage the key transport proposals in the opening line of the policy.
14 Moreover, the amended wording is far from clear and leaves developers unclear of their obligations. As per FMM089 the policy now seeks to resist planning permission for development “that would prejudice or diminish the integrity of the implementation of existing or protected and supported required transport schemes identified in the list below”. The convoluted wording of the policy is very confusing. Is the test that development proposals should be resisted if they physically compromise the implementation of transport schemes? Or is it that proposals should be resisted if they do not properly fund and ensure the delivery of the listed transport schemes – presumably the schemes necessary to mitigate the development (including town wide strategies such as at Buckingham).
15 Second, FMM089 proposes substantial changes to the required transport infrastructure at Buckingham: i) the A421/413 is now to be upgraded to dual standard over a length now specified, ii) the BTS scheme for Improvement of the A413 Buckingham Road is now to be deleted from the plan and T3 as had been set out in MM210. In essence this appears to be a different mitigation strategy again.
16 HLM (Buckingham) do not believe that the further (apparently ad hoc) changes to the required Transport strategy for Buckingham are supported by appropriate evidence or are justified.
17 HLM (Buckingham) acknowledge that yet further evidence has been published (since the publication of the MM) by Buckinghamshire Council in relation to Transport at Buckingham notably:
• Buckingham VALP Allocations - Statement on Highway Matters (ED257)
• VALP Modelling – Buckingham Additional Modelling Report (ED255) (October 2020)
• RES002 Response to Representations made by Hallam Land Management by Buckinghamshire Council in relation to Highways and Transportation Matters
18 Much of the additional evidence appears to be a defence of the position set out in MM083 and MM210 and a response to previous objections made by HLM(Buckingham). It seeks retrospectively to seek to plug some of the gaps in the evidence base previously identified by HLM. It does little more than seek to compare the merits of the individual sites at Buckingham and how the deleted BUC051 performs relative to the others. It is a justification for MM083 (the deletion of BUC051) rather than an evidence base that supports the overall transport strategy for Buckingham and the policy set out in T3– as now proposed to be further modified in FMM089.
19 Technically the additional evidence is flawed in a number of respects (See Appendix 1 – Technical Note 4 prepared by Brookbanks):
• The assessments made have a very narrow focus on the allocations and no reconsideration of which elements of the BTS are required to address transport issues in Buckingham and/or mitigated the impacts of the proposed developments
• The assessments were very limited being based on a static Arcady model rather than County Strategic Transport Model;
• The assessments did not consider the impacts of developments, only the on congestion at two town centre junctions
• The latest assessments included no additional modelling to assess the effectiveness of the BTS or elements thereof.
20 In addition, while the latest evidence is said to conclude that the allocation of BUC051 would have a greater impact on the highway network than of other sites, it is apparent that all other sites will have highway impacts and that no conclusion is set that demonstrates that impact and the effects of the mitigation measures set out in T3 and FMM089.
21 Of greater significance there is no attempt to justify, or evidence, the additional FMM089 changes to the Transport Strategy for the town. HLM is unaware of any evidence to support the deletion in FMM089 of the A413 improvements from the schedule of required schemes in T3.
22 Originally the preparation of the Buckingham Transport Strategy was a laudable attempt to establish a comprehensive and coherent basis for delivering both development and transport improvements in the town – recognising existing and new congestion and journey time issues. It provided clarity and it was on this basis that HLM (Buckingham) in securing consent for 400 dwellings on land to the west of the town (15/01218/AOP) contributed some £800,000 as a Strategic Transport Contribution
23 Although still referenced in T3, the BTS appears to have been watered down, or broken up into individual elements – in a manner unsupported by any new evidence base. HLM(B) is of the firm view that far from providing certainty for the community and developers, there is no settled comprehensive transport strategy for the town. There is therefore no settled basis for contributions (as are now required by MM82 and MM084). The latest adjustment of the strategy – deletion of reference to the A413 improvements is not supported anywhere by evidence (it seems).
24 For all of these reasons, the Plan (with FMM089) insofar as it relates to Buckingham is not positively planned and prepared or justified.
25 HLM (Buckingham) do not hold unwaveringly to the need to provide the WLR as part of that comprehensive strategy. It is possible that there are alternatives and that development should be focussed on the south side of town (BUC025) to ensure the delivery of those options). However HLM is convinced of the need:
• for comprehensive transport strategy founded upon or evolved from the BTS – and fully evidenced as being effective;
• for each allocation to be demonstrably capable of being mitigated (and not simply retained because of a perceived lesser impact that BUC051, and merely deleting others.)
• to be crystal clear what allocations are specifically contributing towards in terms of highway and transport infrastructure.
26 Equally, HLM are convinced that the VALP with MM210 and FMM089 – plus the relevant site allocations – do not meet these tests which are at the heart of the NPPF soundness tests.

AYLESBURY SUBMISSION:

Dear Sir/ Madam,

Please find enclosed representations on the Further Main Modifications to the VALP – submitted on behalf of Hallam Land Management (Aylesbury).

We would be grateful if you could acknowledge receipt of the representations.

1 Hallam Land Management (Aylesbury) controls land to the north east of Aylesbury including site BIE021.
2 As our previous representations have outlined, HLM (A) have consistently sought a dialogue to help, through its land controls, to bring forward the North East Link road, which is the subject of this representation. No such discussions have been entertained by AVDC or BCC.
3 Following the Inspector’s Interim Findings (IIF) (28th August 2018), the Council amended Policy T3 (via MM210) to include the key infrastructure elements from the Aylesbury Transport Strategy (ATS) upon which the Plan depends.
4 The North East Link road was included within the amended Policy T3, as a ‘necessary’ piece of infrastructure upon which the VALP depends.
5 Policy T3 is proposed to be further modified by FMM089, removing reference to both the North East Link Road and Western Link road (between A418 and A41). This directly contradicts the amendment made in MM210 to explicitly include – as critical and necessary – the North East Link Road in the VALP. It does so without any additional basis in evidence or clear justification.
6 The North East Link Road was included in T3 at MM stage for clear and obvious reasons.
7 As noted in reps at Main Modifications stage:
• it was essential to meet the expectations of the Aylesbury Garden Town Vision which includes “road improvements linking new developments to the town, and creating a series of link roads around the town” (VALP – para 4.30). The Vision specifically included the North East Link Road between the A413 and A418.
• it is essential also from the perspective of the need to address current issues in the network. In Examination document EC279, AVDC had recognised that the ATS measures (including North East Link Road) also address current issues in relation to the capacity of the Network.
• more important still, the North East Link Road was essential to mitigate the impacts of the development proposed in the VALP at Aylesbury and, in particular, in Policy D1 of the Plan.
8 Hallam Land Management has consistently made clear through the examination process that the BCC/AVDC evidence base and modelling shows that, without the North East Link Road, the impact of development on the A41, A413 and A418 isn’t adequately mitigated. The Technical Note prepared by Markides Associates and appended to Hallam Land Management’s Examination Matter 12 Statement was not queried or questioned in the examination hearings and needs to be given substantial weight.
9 The Technical Note drew out the conclusions of the VALP’s own evidence base: the BCC Countywide model and, in particular, the Countywide Local Plan Modelling Phase 3 Technical Note. The Markides Technical Note highlighted the importance of the North East Link Road (which is included in the DS2 model run but not DS1 model run): “Without the provision of the additional link roads [including the North East Link Road] in DS2, there remain issues of congestion on the Stocklake link, A418 and A413 immediately north of Aylesbury and on the A41 to the east of Aylesbury. The North East Link Road offers significant benefits in this area, with scenario DS2 showing much reduced congestion ratios on the A41, A418, A413 and various link roads through the Aylesbury East area over both the DS and DS1 scenarios” [added for clarification].
10 The publication of MM210 reflected the contribution of the NE Link Road including its provision of critical and necessary.
11 Since the publication of the MM, additional modelling has been published by Buckingham Council – explicitly the VALP Modelling Countywide Local Plan Modelling Report Phase 4 (ED254). It is dated May 2020.
12 Hallam Land Management has reviewed the further modelling work that was carried out last year, including in the note prepared by Markides Associates on its behalf (attached as appendix 1). HLM note that this latest assessment work includes a new mitigation scenario which excludes the North East Link Road (along with the Western Link Road). It is a further iteration from the 2017 Phase 3 modelling report employing virtually the same development allocation.
13 Hallam Land Management continues to have significant concerns arising from the work technically and in terms of the results. There are concerns with the validation of the model and how heavily the subsequent forecasts can be relied on. It appears that some of the Do Something model results are unexpectedly inconsistent with the previous Phase 3 modelling when they have been reproduced in the Phase 4 report, despite there being very little change in the development assumptions. Moreover the mitigation model runs show a deterioration in congestion levels and journey times on highway routes in the eastern part of the, indicating that the omission of the North East Link Road may result in impacts of the Local Plan development being severe.
14 FMM089, and its deletion of the North East Link Road, is “explained” in Buckinghamshire Council’s response to Hallam Land Management (HLM) Aylesbury’s representations to the VALP Main Modifications in Examination Document ED263 (Schedule of Councils responses to representations made on the Proposed Main Modifications consultation). Buckinghamshire Council argues that ‘Policy T3 now refers to ‘required’ infrastructure which is essential to enable or unlock strategic housing or employment floorspace.’ It is on this basis that the North Eastern Link Road (NELR) has been removed from Table 16 (within Policy T3), as Buckinghamshire Council state that it has been removed as the ‘NELR is not considered to be required to enable or unlock strategic housing or employment space proposed within the VALP’.
15 Neither the previous (Phase 3), nor the latest (Phase 4), modelling appears to provide the evidence that this is the case or that T3 (without the NELR and WLR) would not result in serious or severe transport impacts.
16 Independent from the technical transport evidence, the North East Link Road, remains a commitment in the up to date strategic planning and investment context for the town of Aylesbury and funding obtained for the town on the basis of an overarching Garden Town Strategy that included the NELR.
17 Specifically:
• the Aylesbury Garden Town Masterplan, dated July 2020, includes a North East Link Road Feasibility Study update as a ‘Medium term (2024-2028)’ action which commits the Council to undertake work described as an “update to the route alignment study for proposed section of orbital link road, considering longer term development potential and relationships to Garden Town proposals.” Furthermore the “North East Link Road Route design and potential delivery” is basis of comprehensive delivery strategy to transform Aylesbury into a Garden Town over the coming decades” (Minutes of Buckinghamshire Council Meeting 15th July 2020). included as a long-term (2029-2033) action. Such actions are clearly within the Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan period (2013-2033). The Aylesbury Garden Town Masterplan was approved by Buckinghamshire Council on 15th July 2020 and clearly demonstrates the Council’s commitment to the Masterplan as “the basis of comprehensive delivery strategy to transform Aylesbury into a Garden Town over the coming decades” (Minutes of Buckinghamshire Council Meeting 15th July 2020).
• Aylesbury Garden Town is included as a key ‘growth and development’ opportunity within Buckinghamshire Growth Board’s Buckinghamshire Recovery and Growth Proposal, submitted to the Government. The Buckinghamshire Recovery and Growth Proposal includes a priority to “front load the delivery of 50,000 homes by 2036, regenerating and reviving towns, and consolidating the opportunity presented by major innovative developments such as Aylesbury Garden Town…”. A proposed project as part of the application for the Single Pot investment Fund is “Aylesbury Transport Improvements”.
• the North East Link road is referred to in the Pre Submission Version of the Bierton with Broughton Neighbourhood Plan (October 2020 version). The aspiration section of the proposed Plan states “it is recognised that, during the life of the plan, there may be Strategy Developments outside of the current Development Boundaries, including but not limited to the Northern Link Road to complete the outer ring road around Aylesbury”.
18 It is therefore clear that the North Eastern Link Road is a long standing commitment and future requirement associated with Aylesbury Garden Town and Buckinghamshire Council’s ambitions for growth within the Plan period and further to 2050.
19 HLM (A) question whether FMM089 omits the North East Link Road simply because of uncertainty regarding deliverability – particularly in the light of a reconsideration of the Oxfordshire Cambridgeshire Expressway proposals of which it once might have formed a small part. In reality, development can of course assist with delivery.
20 Specifically, HLM(A) requests that a reference to the North East Link Road, in the context of Buckinghamshire Council / Aylesbury Garden Town’s long standing commitment to the Aylesbury Transport Strategy, be retained within policy T3 of the VALP to ensure that it is recognised as a future Plan requirement – a matter for the Buckinghamshire Plan, required to be adopted by 2025 (five years since vesting day of Buckinghamshire Council).

See attachment Markides Associates
Review of Updated Aylesbury Countywide
Model Prepared for: Hallam Land Management
9 February 2021

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