HFAG on the case

A quiet battle is going on behind the scenes. In March, the District Council surprised everyone by publishing a new traffic planning framework that requires all developers of major schemes like Hampden Fields to update their traffic forecasts. We engaged our transport experts to scrutinise this ‘Aylesbury Transport Model 2020’ and are working on submissions to the Local Plan Inspector and the Council as a result.

We are also preparing our response to the new planning application for the South East Aylesbury Link Road (SEALR). Many things wrong with this, and we will be getting expert analysis to help our case.

Both of these relate directly to Hampden Fields because the transport forecasts lie at the heart of the case the Council is trying to make to get the houses built.

An understandable further delay to the VALP

AVDC posted on 30 March: “We had intended to send the representations and the Council’s responses to the issues raised in them to the Inspector in mid-April.  However the Council has prioritised its response to the current Covid-19 crisis and as a result some Council officers involved in preparing the responses to the representations have now been seconded to Covid-19 work. It is therefore not possible to give a definitive answer at this stage as to when we will be in a position to send the information to the Inspector, but we will continue to focus on achieving this as soon as possible and more information will be put on the website when it is available.”

£170m, but with strings??

Bucks County Council announced that the 11 March Budget (remember that?!) had awarded them £170m for infrastructure. In a telling phrase, Leader Martin Tett said that the Council would now be “looking at the detail of the funding conditions.” Your Action Group have sent in a Freedom of Information request to ask what these conditions are. If that sounds esoteric, it isn’t. Any Government money for major road building requires BCC’s traffic planning to meet a stringent Dept for Transport standard, which the current plans do not. If BCC are hoping to slide past these conditions, we will vigorously challenge them.

“Additional work and delay” caused by AVDC and BCC

After years of assuring developers and Councillors that BCC’s traffic modelling was robust, AVDC Planning have now admitted that a new ‘Aylesbury Transport model 2020’ has to be used instead.  This means that the traffic elements of the developments have to be re-done.  In her letter to developers dated 6 March, AVDC Corporate Planner Susan Kitchen admits that she appreciates “this will inevitably result in additional work and delay.”  Environmental Statements will also have to be reviewed and where necessary reworked.

HFAG have argued that the traffic modelling was flawed all along. We have made the point strongly at every public hearing .  

We have already started work to scrutinise the new model and will challenge any weaknesses that we find. 

We met the new MP

Phil Yerby and John Benjamin from HFAG met Rob Butler MP on 7 Feb.  He appeared to have previously been told that Aylesbury needed a ring road. It was therefore important that we were able to challenge that view with evidence including the % of traffic that would actually use a bypass, which Phil and John did. Mr Butler asked to be sent more briefing material and this was done without delay.  Let’s hope that the new MP’s natural focus on Westminster will still allow him time to understand more about this issue, so vital to the constituency. 

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