Is the Aylesbury Ring Road plan just a pipedream?

Phil Yerby, from the group said he feels that the public are being misled about promises made in the Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan, which suggests there will be a ring road in the future.
Phil Yerby, from the group said he feels that the public are being misled about promises made in the Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan, which suggests there will be a ring road in the future.

A Local campaning group, The Hampden Fields Action Group have hit out at the future transport plan, saying they feel the public are being misled about promises made in the document about an Aylesbury Ring Road.

Phil Yerby, from the group said he feels that the public are being misled about promises made in the Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan, which suggests there will be a ring road in the future.

He however, contests this claim - saying no time scales have been put on building the roads, only indicative diagrams and small print words like 'aspirational' and 'future' accompanying the illustrations of the planned roads.

We all know Aylesbury has a traffic problem, and one small blip like we saw last month on the A41 can grind the whole town to a halt.

Phil said: "There are no plans for a ring road around Aylesbury as part of the new plan, let's be clear.

"There is only a partial plan for some roads but two fundamental “chunks” (major roads) have been missed out.

The red lines on this photo indicate 'aspirational' roads - with no timescale for completion

The red lines on this photo indicate 'aspirational' roads - with no timescale for completion

"Despite the Western Link Road and the North East Link Road not being planned to built as part of the plan, BCC and AVDC always seem to show them on indicative diagrams.

"They continue to have in the ‘small print” words like “aspirational” and “future”. All this has the effect of misleading the public into thinking they are getting a ring road, which they are not."

Aylesbury is set to have 16,500 houses built as part of the Vale of Aylesbury local plan, which will add approximately 30,000 more cars to our already beleaguered roads.

Phil said: “16,550 more houses, 30,000 more cars, a part ring road - you do the math as they say.

"These plans lead to more traffic coming into Aylesbury than there is today, more congestion and economic stagnation.

"As all the infrastructure: main schools, shopping, hospital and the biggest employer (ironically BCC) remains in the town centre the pressure on the roads into the town centre will get increasingly worse as houses are put around the outside and traffic increases accessing services and employment in the centre.

"It's a disaster waiting to happen and the people of Aylesbury deserve a proper plan to help commuters!"

Phil also maintains that the BCC Ring Road Strategy is flawed, as only 10% of people want to go around the town, with 90% of people on our roads heading in to town for work.

He says: " BCC have not properly assessed Aylesbury traffic flows and do not have a suitable traffic model to build a plan for Aylesbury. The Government Inspector into the plans described them as “rough and ready” (Inspector Paul Clark, 20th July 2018, VALP Public Inquiry).

"The last full survey BCC did that I am aware of was in 2005. BCC told a Government Inspector on 20th July 2018 that more recent studies had been done but despite us trying to get them published they have never appeared in public. You would have thought the council would want to “prove their case” if they could.

"The latest data from 2013 (based on only a small part of the road system) shows that only about 10% of traffic wants to bypsss the town - so 90% wants to be inside of any ring road anyway.

There is a quote from the Aylesbury Transport Strategy document that says: "Across Aylesbury’s urban area 90% of all vehicle trips either begin or end in the town, with only 10% being complete through trips”, confirming Phil's comments.

HS2 are part funding the Stoke Mandeville Bypass, and a significant part of the South East Link Road.

Phil says is HS2 does not go ahead this will mean these roads will not be built.

"BCC will try to claim they will try and get the money from elsewhere, but where? They can't even fund the proper ring road now and increasing cuts to government budgets mean this plan may never infact, materialise.

"If HS2 falls the whole road modelling, which has not been done correctly anyway, will need to be re-done.

"Can you imagine the impact around Stoke Mandeville with no bypass and an additional 16,500 houses.There is zero chance of these plans progressing without a full re-working of the plan and its impact. This explains, at least in part, why local politicians pay only lip service to being against HS2.

"We have been fighting these plans for over 10 years, we have built up a considerable amount of expertise in transport planning, we believe we have the answers to link Aylesbury with the infrastructure projects of East West Rail and the Oxford to Cambridge Expressway.

"We are prepared to work with the Council to help them develop a plan which will lead to less congestion, better air quality and economic vibrancy for the benefit of everyone in and around the town.

In response, Buckinghamshire County Council Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Transport, Mark Shaw said: “Can I firstly reassure everyone that we are trying to get the best possible deal for Aylesbury going forward.

"Unfortunately, gone are the days when bypasses and relief roads for towns and villages were paid for straight from the public purse. These days it’s a much more complex picture with councils, developers and other organisations working together to secure funding for roads and other key infrastructure requirements.

The Council is constantly looking for opportunities to secure the money for all projects set out in the agreed Aylesbury Transport Strategy and give the town the road network it needs and deserves.

"It’s true that we don’t have all the funding secured at the moment, but the vision of a series of link roads forming a full orbital route around Aylesbury is firmly in place and we’re doing everything we can to make it a reality as quickly as possible.”

Mark added: “I have to take issue with Mr Yerby over his traffic modelling claims. The studies we have undertaken are robust and fit for purpose and properly support our vision and plans for an orbital for Aylesbury.

"Also, on the issue of HS2, the majority of link roads are not funded by HS2 except for the planned relief road for Stoke Mandeville and also a bridge over the Aylesbury to London railway line. As HS2 is established by Parliamentary Act, we have taken a responsible approach to planning around it, while still maintaining our opposition to it.

"If HS2 were to be cancelled, the Council would identify opportunities to ensure the continued development of the orbital.”