South East Aylesbury Link Road FAQ
Following the exhibition event on Tuesday 17th July 2018, the South East Aylesbury Link Road (SEALR) project team received a number of queries from the public.
The following provides answers to the most commonly asked questions:
Achieving a full set of Aylesbury Link Roads has been a long-term aspiration of the County Council as set out in planning policy since at least 1991, with a highway improvement line also established to show the broad alignment of the road. With the growth of Aylesbury, these link roads have become more important to sustain the additional houses being built.
The immediate need for the SEALR has arisen through the development of High Speed Two (HS2). The alignment of HS2 passes Aylesbury to the south-west and in doing so will sever the A4010 Risborough Road south of Stoke Mandeville.
As part of the proposals for HS2, a new link road will be developed to divert the A4010 around the west of Stoke Mandeville connecting with the B4443 Lower Road further north. This scheme is referred to as the Stoke Mandeville Bypass. Traffic modelling has indicated that this re-alignment will cause congestion at the Stoke Road gyratory within Aylesbury town centre. To address this Buckinghamshire County Council (BCC) are proposing to construct the SEALR to connect Lower Road with the Wendover Road.
In 2016 BCC prepared and submitted a Strategic Outline Business Case to the Department of Transport (DfT) for funding.
The scheme was subsequently allocated funding from the Local Growth Fund 3 through Buckinghamshire Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership. This has been combined with funding from HS2 and local developer (S106) contributions allowing the scheme to progress.
The Aylesbury Transport Strategy establishes the principle of an orbital routes strategy which forms part of the evidence base for the Draft Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan.
To effectively link with and deliver the orbital routes strategy, there are two points of the SEALR alignment which are fixed, these are:
- The position on B4443 Lower Road where the realignment of the A4010 (Stoke Mandeville bypass) proposes a new roundabout
- The position on the A413 Wendover Road where the proposed Hampden Fields link road (southern link road) intersects with the A413 Wendover Road
Furthermore, neither improving the existing roads around Stoke Mandeville or connecting with the Hampden Hall roundabout were considered feasible as they would not meet the objectives of delivering the Aylesbury Orbital Routes Strategy as part of the Aylesbury Transport Strategy.
The SEALR must tie into the Stoke Mandeville Bypass in the west and the Hampden Fields delivered Southern Link Road in the east. This is to provide a strategic connection that forms part of the Aylesbury Orbital Routes Strategy.
Following comments from the initial consultation there was a review of the alignment.
The road has moved slightly further south away from the Stoke Grange estate. As the road alignment has changed this amount varies by location.
It is generally between 3 and 15 meters further south from the edge of the road than initially consulted.
The SEALR strategic outline business case assumes that Hampden Fields does not have planning consent and therefore funding was secured without any reliance on that scheme going ahead.
The scheme will work on its own without the Southern Link Road (link through Hampden Fields), but it is acknowledged that it works better with the Southern Link Road in place.
BCC and the wider SEALR project team recognise the concern about the entry/exit from the Wendover Road via Eastcote Road.
Therefore options are being explored for this junction and will be presented in the planning submission material.
Traffic signal-controlled crossing points will be provided at the roundabout to allow pedestrians and where appropriate cyclists to cross the road.
The speed limit of the road will be 40mph.
The project team is currently carrying out a road safety audit which will help guide any traffic controls required.
HS2 and other funding bodies for the road will only pay 'the reasonable costs' for the crossing of the Aylesbury train line.
A tunnel solution was ruled out due to the capital costs of construction as well as the ongoing cost of maintenance.
It is currently envisaged that construction will commence in 2020 with completion in 2021.
Construction has been programmed to align with High Speed Two’s Stoke Mandeville Bypass so that they open at the same time or as close to one another as possible.
Guidance produced by Central Government can be found on the gov.uk website.
Extensive traffic modelling has been undertaken to understand the impacts of the scheme on the highway network.
This modelling has indicated that traffic flows will change on a number of roads surrounding the site once the SEALR is opened. Without the SEALR the re-distribution of traffic resulting from the Stoke Mandeville Bypass will cause congestion at the Stoke Road gyratory.
The traffic modelling indicates that the scheme will improve traffic conditions at the Stoke Road gyratory. A reduction in traffic flows is also anticipated through Stoke Mandeville and on the Wendover Road east of the SEALR as a result of the scheme.
The project team are investigating options for addressing the utilities that cross the site with the utility providers as part of the design process.
The landscaping proposals will be reviewed once an agreement has been reached on the proposals for the overhead power lines.
The noise monitoring undertaken to inform the Environmental Impact Assessment has now been completed. Five locations were selected to provide a snapshot of existing ambient sound levels in the area.
An assessment of all properties within 600m of the SEALR is being undertaken using the noise model that has been created for the scheme, not just at those properties where noise monitoring has taken place.
Road surfacing with low noise properties is being considered on the scheme.
However, this is more costly and does not have a long design life which therefore means higher maintenance costs. It should also be noted that if this is not regularly maintained, it can lead to a noisier effect than a regular surface.
It is something being investigated, but it will require further research and testing.
The roundabout lighting is being designed to minimise light spillage.
The scheme is also proposing significant landscaping mitigation as per the most recent designs to further avoid light pollution.
The ecology and nature conservation provision for the scheme is being made in a number of ways, including:
- A tall and dense planting scheme alongside each side of the new road verges in order to provide a barrier for both barn owl and bat species to be able to fly over the live traffic.
- Enhancement of the current ‘green’ rough grassland habitats adjacent to the west of the railway line for wildlife, including nesting birds, badger and small mammal foraging.
- Planting of new species-rich hedgerows in strategic locations in order to both provide foraging features and safe fly routes for bats and birds.
- The design of the new road bridge will incorporate a green corridor for the existing habitat and species, such as barn owl, bats and badger.
- A new provision of rough grassland planting to aid barn owl and bat foraging within the scheme boundary along the north side of the new road (both sides of the railway line).
We will use the existing character assessments and survey information to inform the selection of species. However, at this point, Field Maple, Poplar and Oak are likely to be the dominant species with Willow also playing a crucial role. These will be planted as woodlands, with some stand-alone trees planted at a range of sizes.
There will also be some more standard trees planted within thicket areas along the highway, where woodland planting is not achievable.
On the north-western edge of the Wendover Road junction replacement tree planting will include more mature species to create landscape buffer planting.
The design proposal includes the removal of the existing vegetation on the north-western boundary of the Wendover Road junction accounting for an area of 450m2.
An area of 900m2 of public green space will be re-landscaped to include the proposed drainage scheme and new landscape buffer planting.