Surprise? Not really.

The Bucks Council Strategic Sites Committee today voted unanimously to approve the Hampden Fields application. This, despite Councillors expressing concerns over no money allocated to hospital healthcare, volumes of construction traffic at the same time that HS2 HGVs may be using the A413, coalescence, lack of any marketing strategy with regards to who will be purchasing the houses, 5000 objections, a lack of effective dialogue with the WT Parish Council, the forecast volume of traffic on the road (~ 45,000 per day) through the new development…

As this was one of the possible outcomes, we will now action our next steps. 

Stay in touch with the news on this site.

The campaign continues!

Strategic Sites Committee hears Hampden Fields (again) on 24 February

Even more than three years after the committee agreed to defer and delegate this application, they are still only being recommended to do the same tomorrow. It is highly unlikely that they will grant planning permission at their meeting, given that serious flaws still exist in the plans and the proposed ‘Section 106’ agreement.

Which is what HFAG representative Phil Yerby will be saying to the committee members tomorrow. Given only 2 minutes to speak, Phil is honing his points to maximum sharpness!

But HFAG is not alone. In addition to 5,467 individual objections levelled against this proposal, other bodies objecting include Weston Turville Parish Council, Aylesbury Town Council, Aston Clinton Parish Council, Wendover Parish Council, The Chilterns Conservation Board, The Wendover Society, Bierton with Broughton Parish Council and the Richmond Road Petition Group.

Plus the NHS Buckinghamshire Healthcare Trust, who have raised serious concerns about the provision of healthcare facilities.

The meeting is available to view online from 10.00 Wednesday 24 February. Go to the Bucks Council website here.

12 congested junctions to go halfway round the town? Some ‘ring road’ !

An independent transport consultancy recently examined Aylesbury’s transport plans in great depth. Amongst the many flaws and weaknesses they found, this one stood out for us:
“A driver approaching Aylesbury on the A418 near Bierton will have to navigate about 12 junctions to traverse the town on the ‘ring road’ and reach the A418 to the south west. Bucks Council’s own traffic modelling shows that the driver would encounter congestion at many of the junctions …”

So, in practice, many drivers might choose to stay on the existing roads through the centre of town…

Which means that the ££££m to build the ‘ring road’ will have had little or no benefit…

Which is what HFAG are telling the Inspector currently examining the Vale Local Plan VALP.

Points to raise about Hampden Fields

Your comments need to reach Bucks Council by Friday 8th! The reference to search for at their planning application webpage is 16/00424/AOP.

Here are some topics for you to consider when writing in. As ever, please make your own choices and use your own words if you can.

Coalescence: Our MP Rob Butler has rightly criticised the risk to settlements such as Weston Turville, Stoke Mandeville, Aston Clinton and Aylesbury Bedgrove from urban sprawl. The Hampden Fields estate would fill the space between all four.

Transport: many serious objections have been raised against the traffic plans, which still won’t solve traffic congestion in the town centre. It is planned to get worse. Remember that Hampden Fields proposes an extra 3,000 houses! The Council’s own figures reveal that a very high % of trips are made to or from the town centre, so the wished-for ‘ring road’ will not actually make much difference.

Air quality: Linked to transport, of course. People are right to be concerned about the health risks from traffic congestion, especially from HGVs. Electric lorries are a fair way away yet, unfortunately.

Prematurity: the planning committee shouldn’t approve this substantial development while the wider Vale of Aylesbury Plan is still undergoing examination by the Inspector. (See also ‘Democracy’ below)

Biodiversity: for a Garden Town area, it’s disappointing that the planned biodiversity gain (13.8%) falls short of the Council’s ‘aspiration’ figure of 20%, even if it is above the 10% minimum.

Flood risk: to be fair, the plans say there’s not much risk of flooding. But given recent flood issues locally and further afield, you may want to press the Council to get the developer to guarantee this.

Democracy: Hampden Fields was turned down in 2015 by an independent Inspector and the Secretary of State. That campaign had cost local people time, effort and £’000s. Yet just one year later, the same proposal came back again, as if the Sec of State decision could simply be ignored. 5,000 letters of objection and many more £’000s have since been contributed by the local community, and Weston Turville and Wendover Parish Councils both object, representing 10,000 people. All this can’t be ignored, can it?

More questions? If you want to know more, please contact any of the HFAG Committee via info@hfag.co.uk or on Facebook Everything Weston Turville

Respond to the council: by Friday 8th January, at their webpage https://www.aylesburyvaledc.gov.uk/search-planning-licensing-applications The planning application number is 16/00424/AOP.

THANK YOU!

7 Key Questions to Raise about Woodlands

Bucks Council have invited your comments on the Woodlands application 16/01040/AOP. Here are seven key questions we have identified. Please choose any that you feel strongly about, and send your comment in. (Use your own words, please — the Council disregards obvious ‘copy and paste’ campaigns.)  

You can use the ‘Make a Comment’ button on the planning webpage at [https://publicaccess.aylesburyvaledc.gov.uk](https://publicaccess.aylesburyvaledc.gov.uk/) or send an email to [devcon@aylesburyvaledc.gov.uk](mailto:devcon@aylesburyvaledc.gov.uk) . The reference to use is 16/01040/AOP and your reply needs to reach them by the end of Monday 4th!

Questions for Buckinghamshire Council about Woodlands: 

1) Do they think it would be right to allow building on this land, 38% of which lies on a flood plain?

2) Sports facilities here will require ‘flood evacuation procedures’ to be in place. What makes the Council think anyone might be willing to invest in building and running such facilities?

3) If the Council let the Woodlands developer get away with 20% affordable housing (not 30% as their policy requires), what will they say to developers on other large sites who seek to do the same?

4) Is the reduction in affordable housing a sign that Woodland is not financially viable?

5) The Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan is still being examined by a government inspector. Would it be right to grant planning permission here before that is completed?

6) How confident are they in the traffic plans that are part of this application? Completely confident? Very? Fairly? Not very? Not at all?

7) Thames Water wrote just days ago that the water and sewerage network will not be able to handle what is proposed here. What does this say about a developer who has been working on this application for more than four years?

URGENT: Campaign for SoS Call-In of Hampden Fields


URGENT: Campaign for Secretary of State Call-In of Hampden Fields
Dear Supporter,

You will no doubt have heard and seen that Bucks Council (formerly AVDC) have published thousands of pages of new information supporting four separate MAJOR planning applications for Hampden Fields, Woodlands, the South East Aylesbury Link Road and the Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan modifications. The task to examine this information is simply immense and the timeframe for responding to these is very tight in the extreme, the first one being as early as January 4th 2021. 

The Action Group Committee will be working flat out over the Christmas period to try and get a strong response into the Council. However, given the size and complexity of FOUR major applications we no longer believe we have the time, resources or money to do this anything like as effectively as we have done in the past facing just one, or even sometimes two, applications. PLEASE WRITE TO ROB BUTLER MP

Email: rob.butler.mp@parliament.uk
Rather than spend your entire Christmas (believe us it would take that long) trying to sift through 1000’s of pages we would like you to write to our new MP, Rob Butler, and ask for an Independent Planning Inquiry into the Hampden Fields Application. To give it its technical name we are asking for a Secretary of State Call In

There are 6 key issues:

1) The Council is riding roughshod over the Secretary of State’s 2015 decision to reject this almost identical application
2) The traffic volumes in Aylesbury are now higher than in 2015 and the proposed partial link road does not provide enough relief to this Air Quality Management Area
3) The proposal joins together Aylesbury, Stoke Mandeville and Weston Turville into one homogenous mass of housing.
4) Bucks Council has lost any sense of objectivity as they are so keen to push through their plan for 16,000 houses around Aylesbury that they are ignoring the problems this will cause.
5) What was previously described as a “critical” full Ring Road has now been abandoned. Now only a partial link road around the South of the town remains.  
6) No matter what the decision is regarding the Local Plan we still strongly feel that the specific Hampden Fields application needs proper objective scrutiny from the Secretary of State. 

Finally, as mentioned we will be scrutinising the application and we will get back to you early in the New Year to give you a chance of being able to respond to the Council in time.

We wish you a very happy Christmas – 2021 will mark the ELEVENTH YEAR of our campaign.

We appreciate your support, including your email to our MP at this time (please copy us in if you can at info@hfag.co.uk)

The HFAG Committee

Amanda, Chris, Glynn, John, Peter and Phil 

ps: Sign up for regular updates on our website www.hfag.net

Aylesbury MP responds to White Paper on Planning

MP Rob Butler has made what we see as an important response to the Government’s White Paper on ‘Planning for the Future’. 

In particular, HFAG agrees wholeheartedly with five specific points Mr Butler makes, not least because we have been saying something similar for years during our campaign for better planning in and around Aylesbury.  Here they are.

  1. The MP points out that a preference for building on greenfield sites in ‘growth’ areas risks urban sprawl.  The assumption that greenfield development is necessary should be “strongly discouraged”.  ‘Hampden Fields’ and ‘Woodlands’ are, of course, exactly that sort of greenfield development.   
  • Urban extensions should not lead to a coalescence of villages, with existing villages not merged with a larger settlement in one conurbation.  Rob goes on to name Weston Turville and Aston Clinton as examples of villages at risk of conurbation with Aylesbury should endless expansion continue. The Action Group raised this very point in our submissions to Councillors and the Planning Committee in 2016 and 2017, and Natural England have also applied the phrase “urban sprawl” to the development.
  • On flooding, automatic planning permission should not apply to areas where flooding is a risk. Nor should water be displaced elsewhere.  Aylesbury has suffered such problems before.  We agree, and ‘Woodlands’ is just such another proposal. Aided by an environmental consultant, we have made strong arguments against allowing that development to be built right across a national Flood Plain 3. 
  • Infrastructure upgrades must take account of the needs of present and future populations.  Infrastructure in Aylesbury is already under considerable pressure.  In agreeing with this point, we would add that infrastructure plans must be objectively modelled and assessed.  We have long argued that transport plans, in particular, are not sound, a point agreed by the Secretary of State in 2015 and still under examination for the latest Vale Plan.  Not to mention provision for school places and healthcare facilities.      
  • Finally, under a heading of ‘democratic engagement’, the MP contrasts the White Paper’s proposals to introduce automatic consent with the anxiety felt by a significant number of his constituents.  HFAG has championed democratic engagement for the best part of ten years, holding public meetings and investing time and supporters’ funds so that we can make well thought out, powerful representations to elected representatives at District, County and national government levels.  ‘Engagement’ is one of HFAG’s five focus areas and we continue to work hard to engage with everyone involved in these important decisions. We welcome Rob Butler’s emphasis on this.

If you have any questions about any of this, please write to info@hfag.com

The HFAG Committee

And what’s happening with the South East Aylesbury Link Road?

The impact on landscape and visual impact has been criticised by one of the Council’s planners. Responding to the consultation in July, he writes:

“… it is my opinion that the submitted landscape and visual impact assessment somewhat underestimates the level of residual impact of the proposed development. (HFAG emboldening added)

In my opinion the proposed development will result in significant adverse residual landscape and visual effects to the both the receiving landscape and to visual receptors (including users of Public Rights of Way, areas of public open space and residents) along the southern edge of Aylesbury that lies to the north of the application site as well as to other similar receptors to the north east, south east, south west and south of the application site.

As such I would invite you to place appropriate negative weight in the balance when considering the landscape and visual effects of the proposed development in any planning consideration.”

In other words, the author is suggesting that the impact will be worse than the road application team are claiming.

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