A step closer for Aylesbury Garden Town plan

Plans to transform Aylesbury into a garden town are set to move one step closer to reality.

By Oliver Sirrell - Local Democracy Reporter
Thursday, 11th June 2020, 12:13 pm
Updated Thursday, 11th June 2020, 12:14 pm
The key features of the Aylesbury Garden Town plan

This comes as the newly formed Buckinghamshire Council is expected to say yes to a masterplan and ‘2050 vision’ for the town at a virtual meeting next week.

After the plans are given the go-ahead, the new authority will look to start delivering the proposals outlined in the masterplan.

A Buckinghamshire Council report indicated the coronavirus pandemic had increased the need to ensure Aylesbury town centre recovers from the lockdown, meaning action to invest in the town centre will be a priority going forward.

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Councillor Bill Chapple added: “The current global pandemic has brought sharply into focus how important our local communities are, and how much we value green spaces, active travel and access to local services and healthcare.

“The Masterplan focuses on these elements and on regenerating our town centre.”

What is Aylesbury Garden Town?

Garden town status promotes “excellence in design and planning”, according to the masterplan.

It continues: “Aylesbury Garden Town is not a new town. It is a new era for a town with a long and rich history, embarking on a new phase of change and growth.”

In real terms, the development of the garden town will come hand-in-hand with around 16,000 new homes set to be built in Aylesbury by 2033.

The council hopes the garden town will help deliver this housing growth in a “high-quality way that benefits the whole town”.

This means working to address the climate emergency by investing in green spaces and habitats, delivering energy-efficient homes, and developing the Aylesbury Gardenway — a corridor of linked local parks, woodlands, playgrounds, community gardens, natural areas, waterways and heritage sites

Why is this project being pursued?

The masterplan features eight key projects which make up the garden town proposal.

They are:

Developing a new employment space

Regenerating and expanding the town centre

Delivering a network of local centres

Creating the Aylesbury Gardenway

Opening up the town’s ‘forgotten’ waterways

Adding a ‘comprehensive’ walking, cycling and wheelchair accessible network

Creating an outer link road

Developing new neighbours at the edge of Aylesbury

The masterplan reads: “This is a transformational opportunity for Aylesbury to become greener, more resilient and more successful for the benefit of existing and future residents and the environment.

“Garden Town status opens up new avenues for funding and investment to improve the town’s environment, movement network and economy.

“It sets a high benchmark for the design and sustainability of new neighbourhoods, community facilities and infrastructure.”

What is the 2050 vision?

The 2050 vision breaks down the masterplan into eight principles and goals for Aylesbury to achieve in the next thirty years.

According to the Vision document, “these principles have the people and community of Aylesbury at their heart. They seek to define how Aylesbury will become a high quality and truly inclusive place to live.”

The principles are:

Putting the town centre first

An innovation and investment hub

The highest quality of life for all

A green and healthy town

Distinctive garden communities

Aylesbury on the move

A smart and sustainable garden town

Integrated delivery.

What’s the history behind the project?

Rewind 500 years or so and Aylesbury is declared the county town of Buckinghamshire.

Fast forward a few centuries and Aylesbury is awarded garden town status by the government in 2017.

Up until April 2020, the project was overseen by a partnership which included the now-defunct Aylesbury Vale District Council and Buckinghamshire County Council, the Buckinghamshire and Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership and more.

What’s next?

The new Buckinghamshire Council is also set to approve changes to the board of the Aylesbury Garden Town project at a meeting on Tuesday, June 16.

This will see the board “amended and extended slightly”, meaning “increased community involvement to reflect the important role of Town and Parish Councils in delivering services and the establishment of the Community Boards.”

According to a council report, this will mean more representation from key Aylesbury politicians and stakeholders.

Oliver Sirrell , Local Democracy Reporting Service