Council announces masterplan to regenerate and upgrade Aylesbury town centre

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The local authority has labelled it a once-in-a-generation opportunity

Bucks Council has revealed its plans to regenerate Aylesbury and its town centre.

As part of a major project designed to upgrade its biggest towns, the local authority has published a regeneration framework for Aylesbury, Chesham and High Wycombe.

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Within the 33-page document dedicated to Aylesbury, which can be read here, the council has labelled improving Aylesbury as a ‘once-in-a-generation’ opportunity.

A photo of the Exchange in Aylesbury town centre in AprilA photo of the Exchange in Aylesbury town centre in April
A photo of the Exchange in Aylesbury town centre in April

Among the key challenges in improving the Bucks town that are listed in the article, is adapting the town centre to meet Aylesbury’s growing population.

The Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan (VALP) will see an estimated 30,000 new homes built in the Aylesbury area by 2033.

Bucks Council believes it is well-placed to modernise the town centre and points to its control of many central businesses as an example of this. Highlighting its recent purchase of Friars Square Shopping Centre as an example of its influence in the town.

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Recently the council was criticised for its maintenance of Exchange Square, in 2019 the open space, which sits between popular Bucks restaurants, was modernised to great fanfare. But multiple residents have contacted local politicians and press outlets raising alarm at how the site has been seemingly ignored and allowed to decay over a short period.

Aylesbury is seen by the council as an area an appetite to be a testbed, try new things and is open to exciting new ideas for the future, particularly to improve accessibility and inclusion.

Bucks Council says each project it receives is judged on three key pieces of criteria: leadership, physical environment, and economic capital.

Councillor Rachael Matthews said: “Overall, the aim of this framework is to examine our existing places in Buckinghamshire – residential, employment, open spaces, infrastructure, towns and villages – pinpointing how to revitalise them to create thriving, prosperous places that attract investment and opportunity for all.

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“This is about retaining what is best about Buckinghamshire and creating spaces that enhance the lives of people who live, work and visit here. It has to be about value for money, attracting investment and working with partners to pull in the same direction with a cohesive, ‘whole county’ approach to regeneration. Life evolves and we need to be sure our future plans for the county reflects our changing needs. It’s about exactly that – preparing for the future and managing our own destiny with others who are invested in our county and its future.

“This has been a long-term piece of work which acts as an over-arching guide to future decision-making and importantly, a framework for Buckinghamshire to thrive and flourish.”

Bucks Council has announced 10 principles outlining what it hopes to achieve through the project.

Among them is a desire to make town centres community-based, and not overly commercial districts. The hope that these areas can be business hubs, suitable for small and medium-sized operations.

Bucks Council wants to ensure its road networks are suitable for its town centres. Making the area carbon neutral is another pledge outlined in the plan.