DevComms managing director Rob Allaway puts the adoption of the Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan into the wider Buckinghamshire context.

The Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan (VALP) was adopted last week having gone through cabinet and then full council in the same week.

Of course, Aylesbury Vale District Council doesn’t exist any longer and the plan has been adopted by Buckinghamshire Council. It is now one of two up-to-date plans in the county following the adoption of Wycombe Local Plan. The proposed joint Local Plan for Chiltern and South Bucks was withdrawn a year ago.

The VALP is the first Local Plan for the area since 2004 and has been nearly 10 years in the making. It started to emerge following the scrapping of a draft core strategy in 2010 in response to the removal of regional housing targets.

Its adoption also comes four years after submission to the Secretary of State and two consultations on modifications. Deputy leader and cabinet member for planning and regeneration Gareth Williams commented that there had been ‘one of the most thorough Inspectors going through this’.

In considering the Local Plan at cabinet, leader of Buckinghamshire Council Martin Tett commented that if Aylesbury wasn’t taking 8,000 homes in unmet need, there would be additional pressure on the Green Belt in the southern counties.

Cllr Williams confirmed that work was now starting on the new Buckinghamshire Local Plan.

Some of the emerging signals indicated that Buckinghamshire Council will adopt a restrained approach to growth in the new Local Plan. Buckinghamshire Council has opted not to be part of the Arc Leaders’ Group which is liaising with Government and seeking to influence the emergence of the Oxford to Cambridge Arc.

Now that one authority covers the whole of the county, previous discussions around the duty to co-operate will no longer be required.

Given the political and planning geography of the new authority, we might expect that a higher share of future development will be focussed on the north of the county. We can expect some heated committee meetings over the next few years.

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