“An enormous gap between Garden Town vision and the development likely to be built in reality”

Strong criticism of Aylesbury appears in a new report by ‘Transport for New Homes’. Investigators assessed 32 new Garden Towns and Villages in England to see whether they were likely to be different from car-based estates. Their findings? Our title says it all.

Here are the specific references to Aylesbury:

Ring road “Garden Towns such as … Aylesbury are to expand by building new estates along new sections of ring road around the outskirts of the town. This ring road model of development divides communities as much as connecting them.”

Vision versus reality “The vision for Aylesbury Garden Town from the Local Plan is encouraging: ‘By 2033, Aylesbury will have grown and be an inclusive, innovative and forward-looking Garden Town …with public transport and interchange offering a diverse choice of travel modes, and a recognised centre for investment and growth providing new jobs and opportunities for all.'” But then “Garden towns such as Aylesbury … were to expand with a ring of new suburbs, these connected along new sections of ring road. We have seen this model before in many places, and the result is very much car-based development. The new homes are not on connected streets but in ‘bubbles’ around the fringe of town. Accepting that new estates create more and more traffic and adding lots of extra road capacity as a consequence, was the order of the day.”

Cycling routes an add-on “Aylesbury has a number of cycling routes but even there the cycle paths are along main roads going out of towns to the new estate and seem to be add-ons to the dominant road system rather than designed as part of a cycling and walking network from the start.”

Potential unfulfilled? “Garden towns such as Aylesbury and Bicester were planned on a scale that could have been transformational. However we found that the lack of sufficient and timely investment in place-making, town centre uplift and regeneration, public transport and active travel, may well mean any transformational potential is lost. What we found was car based sprawl developing around the edges of garden towns, with funding for new ring roads or motorway junctions. The garden villages were typically small discrete settlements, and we thought that their size and location close to major road junctions, would mean these places would be unlikely to function self-sufficiently.”

We shall see. But another, independent warning has been sounded to add to those that the Hampden Fields Acion Group have been making for years now. Tine will tell. But by then it will be too late.

For the entire report click here.

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