Land at South West Aylesbury

On behalf of Gleeson Land, we were appointed to lead a multi-disciplinary team in the promotion of a 100-hectare greenfield site on the edge of Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire for residential-led strategic development.

Our Solutions

The site is not only significant in terms of its size but complicated significantly by the fact that the proposed HS2 railway will create its new western boundary, a project that is under construction, but where the details for this section of the route have still to be confirmed formally.

The construction of HS2 at Aylesbury also necessitates the construction of the Stoke Mandeville Relief Road to the south (from which a southern access to the site will in due course be provided) and the diversion of the existing Oxford Road to the north over a new bridge. HS2 will also fundamentally alter the extent of the floodplain, and drainage patterns, in this area, and the nature of this linear site is such that development phasing and infrastructure delivery is inherently complicated.

We promoted the site through the Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan process and, having supported the Council at the Local Plan examination, successfully secured an allocation for approximately 1,400 new homes, a South West Link Road (that will in due course help to complete a southern bypass around Aylesbury to relieve traffic pressures in the town centre), a new primary school, a community centre, and multi-functional green infrastructure including a linear park that will contribute to the Council’s objective to create a new ‘Gardenway’ around the town. Our engagement with the Local Plan process also secured improvements to the emerging site allocation policy, removing unnecessary requirements such as a need for a site-specific Masterplan Supplementary Planning Document, that would have caused unnecessary delay for all parties.

We concurrently led a multi-disciplinary team in the submission of an outline planning application for proposals that accorded generally with the allocation policy. The timing of the application was intended to demonstrate the deliverability of the site through the Local Plan examination process but also, of fundamental importance in this case, to allow us to influence the detailed design and land take associated with HS2 (the relevant legislation only requires HS2 to have regard to live planning applications rather than Local Plan allocations).

As EIA development, we also managed the production of the Environment Statement that accompanied the application.

The Outcome

The planning process has been a protracted one due to the inherent complexities associated with the site, the adjacent HS2 project, and strategic infrastructure delivery generally around Aylesbury. However, the strategy adopted secured the allocation of the site and then, through the early submission of an application, allowed us to influence the thinking of HS2 in the design of its proposals in this location, avoiding / minimising conflicts and maximising the amount of development land.

Working collaboratively with all relevant Council departments over a period of time, the professional team is now resolving the final outstanding issues, and we are working with Officers at Buckinghamshire Council to get the application to Committee later in 2024.

Image courtesy of Cooper Baillie Ltd.