Town near Aylesbury set for multimillion-pound transformation upgrading major road network and adding thousands of homes

An initial estimated cost reached £26 million

Wednesday, 10th November 2021, 3:56 pm

A multimillion-pound town expansion that will radically transform a major road network and add thousands of new homes has moved forward – but costs are spiralling.

Bucks Council has agreed a series of recommendations relating to the Princes Risborough Expansion Area (PREA) and Relief Road, or the Princes Risborough Southern Road Links (PRSRL).

These cover planning permissions, securing all necessary land, Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPO), preparing Side Roads Orders (SRO), and a construction contract for road links.

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a “complete alternative to the A4010” is part of the plans

Bucks Council won £12 million from the Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) available to March 2023 and managed by Homes England, towards Phase One of the Relief Road (PRSRL) and supporting delivery of the Princes Risborough Expansion Area (PREA).

An agreed preliminary design of the scheme has been reached using £2.73 million of Capital funding agreed in 2019.

Some key features of the scheme include “realigning and widening” Summerleys Road to two lanes; constructing a new rail underbridge (one of two in the scheme) with increased headroom; a new signalised junction and shared bicycle/footpath towards the station; and a new section of road tying into Picts Lane.

The PREA is the largest housing allocation (in the former Wycombe area) accounting for around 2,500 homes in Bucks up to 2033.

The Local Plan includes a new Relief Road for the town serving as a “complete alternative to the A4010”.

Two new primary schools will also be built.

An initial estimated feasibility cost of the scheme was £26 million.

“However, the current ‘most likely’ scheme forecast exceeds the current available budget,” a document states.

The scheme is being progressed on the basis that the council recoups the cost of the £12 million HIF and the £2.73 million of its Capital funding from developers.

The remainder of the funding is expected to be met by developers.

However, there is “currently no formal agreement that landowners or developers would cashflow the project funding gap”, and as such, costs incurred by the council would be recouped via Section 106 (planning contributions).

“The council aims to secure the necessary land and access rights by private treaty,” a document states. “However, to enable the project to proceed to programme and make use of the HIF funding, authority is needed to make and serve a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO), if negotiation fails.”

It also states: “A CPO will be served on those with an interest if agreement cannot be reached.”

It is anticipated developers will bring forward the main phase of the expansion, including remaining phases of the Relief Road, when the PRSRL is completed.

A public consultation is planned between November 18 to December 12.