After years of preparation and over three years of being examined by a Government Inspector, the VALP has finally been approved. This, while disappointing, is not surprising given the amount of effort that the Council have had to put into both creating and modifying the proposals.
It should be noted that the transport element of the Plan, which HFAG contested so long and hard, was subject to considerable criticism in the final report. Here are some examples:
“The key infrastructure requirements on which delivery of the plan depends should be contained in the Local Plan itself. VALP does not do this and so is unsound as submitted.”
Again, “National Guidance calls for the preparation of a transport assessment at a number of stages in the preparation of a local plan, the first being as part of the initial evidence base in terms of issues and opportunities. This stage seems to have been omitted from the process of preparing VALP.”
“It is not clear that the [transport] schemes were originally conceived with that purpose [mitigating the problems identified in 2016] in mind. In consequence, the nature of the issues or problems which the transport schemes are seeking to address is hidden.”
“The [Aylesbury Transport] model is not well calibrated…”
“There will also need to be a focus on improving north/south connectivity to enable the district to function better in relation to national highway networks and rail networks but there is no identifiable highway proposal in pursuit of this objective.”
This is small consolation for everyone who worked so hard for better transport and a better VALP, but at least it shows that the campaign was well worth pursuing.