Aylesbury to become one of three new garden towns

Concept Plan for garden town
Concept Plan for garden town

Ministers have lent their support to 14 planned developments which will each deliver between 1,500 and 10,000 properties and establish new villages.

The new garden villages could provide 48,000 homes, the government says.

The latest plans are in addition to seven garden towns and cities that have already been announced in Aylesbury, Taunton, Bicester, Didcot, Basingstoke, Ebbsfleet, and north Northamptonshire.

Aylesbury has been chosen by the government to become one of three new Garden Towns, which will see it receive more than half a million pounds initially to help improve the long-term plans for the town and develop infrastructure proposals.

AVDC were successful in their bid for an initial £540,000.

Gavin Barwell MP, Minister of State for Housing and Planning, said: “I am impressed by the strength of local leadership and commitment to transformational change that your expression of interest shows.”

AVDC submitted an application in October explaining why Aylesbury is the perfect place to become part of the Garden Town programme due to its central location within the ‘brain belt’ between Oxford and Cambridge, and its critical role in delivering growth for the district and the wider area.

Aylesbury Vale is set to have 27,000 new homes built in the next 15 years, with Aylesbury itself expected to accommodate around 15,000 of them.

Getting Garden Town status gives AVDC the opportunity to develop Aylesbury and the surrounding area in a truly visionary and sustainable way, supporting its development as a settlement that offers the best of town and country living.

The money will be spent in a number of areas such as developing the longer term masterplan for the town, which will look at improving transport links and green infrastructure, which could include new parks and cycle routes.

The funding and support that comes hand-in-hand with being a Garden Town will help the whole Vale become a greener, more connected and more vibrant place to live, work and visit.

Councillor Neil Blake, Leader of the Aylesbury Vale District Council said: “I am tremendously pleased that our hard work to make Aylesbury Vale the best possible place to live and work has been recognised by government.

People right across the Vale and beyond will benefit from Aylesbury becoming a Garden Town, and it will truly help unlock the town’s full potential.

It’s an exciting opportunity to help make Aylesbury a more inclusive, innovative and forward looking town that meets the needs and aspirations of people who live in the area, as well as businesses and visitors.”

AVDC will work closely with a range of partners to deliver the garden towns programme including central government agencies, Buckinghamshire County Council, the two Local Enterprise Partnerships, developers and town and parish councils.

Shaun Spiers, chief executive of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, comments:

"CPRE welcomes efforts to tackle the housing crisis in the form of high quality, well-planned and well-located developments. Done well with genuine local consent, garden villages and garden towns can be part of the solution and certainly preferable to what is currently happening in too many parts of the country - poor quality new estates plonked down on the edge of villages and market towns, in the teeth of local opposition and in defiance of good planning principles.

"But CPRE will look closely at these specific proposals to ensure that they really are locally led; that they respect the Green Belt and other planning designations; and that they meet housing need, particularly the need for genuinely affordable housing for local people, and are not driven by over-ambitious, centrally dictated housing targets.

"Where communities support new settlements, they should be protected from speculative planning applications for a long time to come."