Aylesbury Vale Area

VALP Further Main Modifications

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Object

VALP Further Main Modifications

FMM072

Representation ID: 4051

Received: 07/02/2021

Respondent: Context in Development

Legally compliant? No

Sound? No

Representation Summary:

Maids Moreton must be reclassified in the Settlement Hierarchy as a ‘small’ village to correct the false assertion it has 6 key criteria when it only has 4. Including ‘criteria’ the village does not have is a misapplication of the assessment process so FMM072 and the allocation of site MMO006 are not justified because the allocation is based on incorrect evidence.

Furthermore, the allocation of MMO006 remains not justifiably the most appropriate strategy for a small village with only 4 key criteria, contrary to the Council’s ‘capacity-led’ approach.
Therefore, the allocation and associated modifications are not sound under NPPF 182.

Change suggested by respondent:

The allocation of site MMO006, and all associated modifications including FMM072, must be deleted from the VALP because the allocation is not sound or legally/procedurally compliant in accordance with NPPF para 182.

Full text:

Officer note: see attachment(s) for formatted text of full representation e.g. bold, underlined and italics text.

1. FMM072, together with the allocation of site MMO006, are NOT SOUND because they are Not Justified (“based on incorrect evidence” - Maids Moreton has been incorrectly classified as a medium village when it is, in fact, a small village)

I used to live in Akeley as a child and was living there again with my own family when we purchased the house in Maids Moreton. I noted the similarity in the two villages. Both have one Public House and Akeley had a post office, although I believe this has closed as has the one in Maids Moreton. There is no shop anymore. We needed to use our private car to travel for access to all key services (food outlets, doctors' surgery, petrol station etc) and while Maids Moreton is closer to Buckingham it is too far to walk. The Church of England schools are also similar because they are only infant schools, not primary schools. I am, therefore, confused that Maids Moreton does not fall in the same category as Akeley, i.e. a small village.

FMM107 increases the number of dwellings in Maids Moreton to 182 new houses, and FMM072 increases the allocation of MMO006 from 170 dwellings to “at least” 170 dwellings on the site despite the overwhelming evidence that Maids Moreton has been incorrectly classified as a ‘medium’ village when it is, in fact, a ‘small’ village.

According to ED191 “The key services available are the main determinant of the final position of a settlement in the hierarchy, not a settlement’s population.” To be a medium village, para 5.15 of CD/MIS/003 (‘Settlement Hierarchy Assessment for the Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan to accompany Proposed Submission Plan September 2017’) sets out that between 6 and 7 of the ‘key criteria’ should be met, with at least 6 being the minimum number. The only exception to this is Stewkley which meets only 5 of the key criteria but has a large population of 1,840.

The ‘key criteria’ for assessing the settlement hierarchy are: within 4 miles of a service centre, employment of 20 units or more, food store, pub, post office, GP, village hall, recreation facilities, primary school, hourly or more bus service and train station. Maids Moreton only meets four of these key criteria:-
1. 1.5 miles to a service centre (Buckingham)
2. 1 public house
3. 1 recreation ground/playing field
4. 1 village hall
There is no hourly bus service in Maids Moreton and there is not a primary school in Maids Moreton (only an infant school but an infant school is not stated as a key criteria so cannot be regarded as such).

Para 5.19 of CD/MIS/003 states that none of the smaller settlements have more than five key criteria, and typically only have four of the key criteria. Great Brickhill, a settlement with a comparable population to Maids Moreton, has 5 key criteria but is categorised as a small settlement.

In ED263, para 11 the Council claims that the bus service will be reinstated via a s106 Agreement relating to planning application 16/00151/AOP. Planning permission has not been granted for this application and almost 2 years on from the original Committee Hearing the s106 Agreement has not been signed. The application is highly flawed and remains a contested application so cannot be relied on at this stage to deliver any bus service. Under CD/MIS/003, villages are categorised according to key criteria they currently have, not key criteria they might have in the future. To assess the size of Maids Moreton on key criteria they don’t actually have is a misapplication of the assessment process. Equally, it is simply made up by the Council that an ‘infant school’ is included in the key criteria as a primary school.

Notwithstanding both these points, at best Maids Moreton can be said to have 4½ key criteria (for the infant school). This is still some way short of the 6 criteria very clearly stipulated as a requirement to be a ‘medium’ village.

Maids Moreton still should be reclassified in the Settlement Hierarchy as a ‘small’ village in order to correct the false assertion in CD/MIS/003 that Maids Moreton has 6 key criteria when in fact it only has, at best, 4½. It is a misapplication of the assessment process to include ‘criteria’ that the village simply does not have. Unless this change is made to the Settlement Hierarchy, FMM072 and the allocation of site MMO006 are not justified because the allocation is based on incorrect evidence and is unsound under NPPF 182.

2. FMM072, together with the allocation of site MMO006, are NOT SOUND because they are Not Justified (“not the most appropriate strategy” - 182 dwellings is an excessive allocation for a medium village)

Notwithstanding the fundamental issue that Maids Moreton has been incorrectly categorised in the Settlement Hierarchy as a ‘medium village’ when it is in fact a ‘small village’, FMM107 allocates a further 12 houses to Maids Moreton bringing the total allocation for this village to 182 dwellings. VALP para 4.153 (now 4.148) lists the allocations in the other medium villages as follows: -
• Cuddington – 23 dwellings
• Ickford – 30 dwellings
• Marsh Gibbon – 9 dwellings
• Newton Longville – 17 dwellings
• Quainton – 37 dwellings
This illustrates that an allocation of 182 dwellings for a ‘medium village’ is excessive and is not a justifiably appropriate development strategy when considered against reasonable alternatives, particularly given that Maids Moreton has the 3rd smallest population of the medium villages listed and only four ‘key criteria’, somewhat short of that required for a medium village.

ED263, para 19 says that the large number of dwellings allocated to Maids Moreton “is a result of the Council’s capacity based approach which does not lead to proportional distribution of development according to population”. However, the Council has not given any explanation as to how a settlement with only four key criteria has the ‘capacity’ for such a large development.

In fact, ED263 para 12 justifies this excessive allocation in Maids Moreton on the basis that “allocations…do not match the size of settlements but generally relate to the availability of developable sites.” This is not a capacity-led approach at all. It conflicts with every possible interpretation of ‘sustainable development’ and runs contrary to VALP, para 3.19 which states: “The strategy for development generally reflects the size and character of different settlements and seeks to deliver a sustainable level of development that will support their different roles and functions.”

ED263, para 26 misunderstands previous objections received relating to the Inspector’s Interim Findings at paragraph 41. There is not a lack of support in Maids Moreton for the capacity-led approach to development, only a lack of support insofar as this ‘capacity-led approach’, by the Council’s own admission in ED263 para 12, has not been followed in respect of the allocation in Maids Moreton.

In light of the additional Maids Moreton development referred to in FMM107, which alone would be a sufficient allocation given the size and capacity of Maids Moreton, FMM072 and the allocation of site MMO006 remains not justifiably the most appropriate strategy when considered against reasonable alternatives. It is an excessive allocation for a village with only four key criteria which is contrary to the Council’s ‘capacity-led’ approach to allocations - so the allocation and associated modifications are not sound under NPPF 182.

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