Comments on the Vale Plan due 14 December 2017

Please help us all by commenting on the draft Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan VALP. Here’s why, how, and when.

Why comment?

Locally, the VALP repeats many of the errors that came up in the Hampden Fields and Woodlands planning applications. Traffic, lack of affordable housing, flooding, coalescence… These need to be challenged again to make the Council realise that their mistakes haven’t gone away.

More widely, huge opportunities from the forthcoming East-West rail and Oxford-Cambridge express road are being missed. We think the Council need to show a much more energetic, forward-looking approach than appears in the current plan.

How can I comment?

The briefing note at the end of this message gives you all you need to know. Every comment counts.

When is the deadline?

All comments have to be received by AVDC before 5.15 pm on Thursday 14 December. There will be no more public consultation after this round.

Does my little bit matter?

Yes. When the VALP goes to public inquiry, the Inspector will take note of the number and nature of public comments. HFAG is of course making a formal submission, but individual responses count, too. Please add your voice, on any item that concerns you.

Thanks, and best wishes, the HFAG Committee 7 December


To comment on the VALP you need to:

  1. Decide which section(s) of the VALP you want to comment on. To help you, the HFAG team have selected a shortlist of 15 items that we think are most relevant to our campaign (see below). Each is accompanied by a 1- or 2-line comment that expresses our view. You will need to quote the section or policy number shown (e.g. 3.3, S1 etc) to help the planners allocate your comment.
  2. If time is short, don’t feel you have to cover all 15 sections! Please select the topics that most concern you and go for those. Every comment will help.
  3. To have the greatest impact on the Council, it is always best if you say things in your own words. (If they only receive copies of the HFAG comments, they tend to ignore them as ‘template replies’.)
  4. The easiest way to comment is to email or to write to Planning Policy, Aylesbury Vale District Council, The Gateway, Gatehouse Road, Aylesbury, Bucks, HP19 8FF.
  5. You need to include your title, name, address with postcode, email address and phone number. (NB Your address will be removed from any published document, only the village or town of residence remaining.)
  6. Comments must reach AVDC by 5.15 pm on Thursday 14 December 2017.

3.3 and Policy S1 Sustainable development
Placing too many houses in too small an area will ultimately lead to traffic problems that will lead to economic stagnation. This is neither a Justified nor an Effective strategy.

3.15 New settlement
AVDC should think long term and strategically and include a new town from the outset. The current Plan is not Justified as the most appropriate strategy.

3.22 Preserving character and identities of neighbouring settlements and resisting development compromising open countryside between settlements
The wording “will seek to preserve” is too weak. As an example, the planned developments at Hampden Fields and Stoke Mandeville entirely coalesce the villages with Aylesbury. This is not an Effective approach.

4.14 Aylesbury Town Centre
When planning to make Aylesbury Town Centre more attractive, AVDC need to consider more seriously the impact on town centre traffic from all the extra housing around the town. This element of the Plan is not Justified nor Effective for this reason.

4.16 Aylesbury Transport Strategy ATS
1) The ATS is based on flawed modelling, criticised by BCC’s own Transport Consultants AECOM. This is not sound because a robust evidence base is missing.
2) Key parts of the “orbital strategy” are “aspirational” which means they will not happen until at least the next plan in 2034 and beyond. The Plan is therefore neither Positively Prepared nor Effective.

4.17 Interventions including outer link roads
The orbital roads are unlikely to take traffic away from the town centre in any meaningful way. 16,000 extra houses around Aylesbury will have a severe impact on the transport system. Because the evidence base is lacking, the interventions are neither objectively assessed, based on sound evidence, nor Effective.

Policy Dl: Delivering Aylesbury Garden Town
The sheer amount of growth cannot be accommodated in a sustainable way. Not Justified.

D-AGTl South Aylesbury
1) This creates coalescence between Aylesbury, Stoke Mandeville and Hampden Hall. Not Justified as the most appropriate strategy, therefore.
2) Placing 1,000+ houses, schools and other development along the South East Aylesbury Link Road creates a severe impact on the gyratory system and the surrounding road network. This means that it is not Effective in terms of sound infrastructure planning.

D-AGT3 Aylesbury north of A41 (Woodlands)
The amount of development in this location will have a severe impact on the local transport system especially the A41. Not Justified nor Effective.

D-AGT4 Aylesbury south of A41 (Hampden Fields)
1) The impact on the road system on the A41, A413 and gyratory system will be severe. Not Effective.
2) See also comments on 3.22

4.125 RAF Halton
The potential impact of 1,000 houses on the surrounding road network needs to be carefully assessed using a valid traffic model. Raises question of Positive Preparation.

Policy Hl: Affordable housing
All large developments should offer 35% affordable housing. The council’s own Woodlands development only provides 20%. This will allow other developers to ignore the policy. The Plan is therefore not Justified (and probably not Consistent with national policy) in this important aspect.

7.16 East-West Rail
The VALP does not recognise the significance of East-West Rail to the Vale with energy or commitment. It is a ‘key’ infrastructure project and should be fully embraced. The current VALP cannot be said to put forward the ‘most appropriate strategy’ as a Justified plan would.

7.20 Oxford – Cambridge Expressway
Government support this scheme so AVDC needs to show that it is actively planning to capitalise on the opportunities for transport, housing and facilities that the scheme will bring forward. This is not ‘Consistent with national policy’.

9.38 Air quality requirements on developers
Air quality is vital to health. The Council should commit in this Plan to positive policies and actions to improve air quality. Without this, this aspect of the Plan is not Positively Prepared nor Justified.

Your comments must reach AVDC before 5.15 pm on Thursday 14 December.
You need to include your details – anonymous comments are not accepted.
You need to show the reference number of each section you’re commenting on.

Thank you!
The HFAG Committee: Amanda, Chris, David, Dennis, Glynn, John, Peter and Phil