South East Aylesbury Link Road Phase 1: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
The South East Aylesbury Link Road (SEALR) is a proposed dual carriageway link road. The road will join the B4443 Lower Road with the A413 Wendover Road just south of the Stoke Grange estate in Aylesbury.
The SEALR will form part of the future Aylesbury Orbital Link Road.
1. Background and context
1.1 What is this project?
The South East Aylesbury Link Road (SEALR) is a new link road project being delivered by Buckinghamshire Council. It will connect the B4443 Lower Road with the A413 Wendover Road via a 40mph dual carriageway that will cross the Aylesbury-Marylebone railway line, with a new roundabout on each side. The road is approximately 1.2 kilometres long.
Further information, including plans, can be found on the project webpage.
1.2 Where is this project?
This project will be constructed between the B4443 Lower Road and the A413 Wendover Road south of the Stoke Grange estate in Aylesbury. This will form part of the Aylesbury Orbital Link Roads project, discussed further below.
1.3 Why is the project being prioritised now?
Delivering the full Aylesbury Orbital Link Roads has been a long-term aspiration of the former County Council and former Aylesbury Vale District Council (AVDC). It is now an aspiration for the new unitary authority, Buckinghamshire Council (BC). It has been part of planning policy since the 1980s with a Highways
Improvement Line (to identify where improvements to the highway are expected to be made) also established to show the broad alignment of the road. With the growth of Aylesbury, these link roads have become more important to support the additional houses being built.
The immediate need for the South East Aylesbury Link Road 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 Relief Road and will be delivered by HS2. Traffic modelling has indicated that this re-alignment will cause congestion at the Stoke Road gyratory within Aylesbury town centre. To address this, Buckinghamshire Council plan to construct the SEALR to connect the B4443 Lower Road with the A413 Wendover Road.
Following the publishing of the draft Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan, this scheme is also required as mitigation for development proposed in the town.
1.4 What are the objectives of this project?
The project has a number of primary objectives as follows:
- to enable satisfactory levels of highway network performance at the Stoke Road gyratory and the A413, A4010 and B4443 arterial roads after the Stoke Mandeville Relief Road is completed
- to support the overall quantum of growth within Aylesbury and the surrounding area
- to increase the effectiveness of the Stoke Mandeville Relief Road as a key north/south corridor
- to secure good local connectivity for all road users for movements to, from, within and around Aylesbury
1.5 What is the Aylesbury Orbital Link Road?
The construction of an Aylesbury Orbital Link Road has been a long term strategy of Buckinghamshire Council (and of the former Buckinghamshire County Council and Aylesbury Vale District Council). An orbital link road would draw traffic away from the centre of Aylesbury and direct it around the town. The following projects are currently being developed as part of the Aylesbury Orbital Link Road:
- Eastern Link Road;
- Southern Link Road;
- South West Aylesbury Link Road.
Future links around the north and west of Aylesbury are yet to be developed.
1.6 When will this project be delivered?
The SEALR will be delivered in late 2022.
1.7 What does this project connect to?
At the western end, the SEALR will link to the existing B4443 Lower Road and the Stoke Mandeville Relief Road, which will be delivered by HS2 as the realigned A4010. At the eastern end, the SEALR will connect to the existing A413 Wendover Road and the proposed Southern Link Road, which will be delivered by the proposed Hampden Fields development to the east of Aylesbury.
1.8 Is this project unlocking development in the area?
The SEALR project is a requirement within the Draft Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan as part of the Aylesbury Garden Town 1 (AGT1) housing allocation. Without the SEALR, the AGT1 site cannot be delivered. However, the SEALR is not being delivered solely to unlock this development and is being constructed regardless of this development.
1.9 How can I find out more about this project?
We have a dedicated SEALR webpage. We also send regular project bulletins; you can subscribe to the mailing list via the webpage.
2. Project funding
2.1 How is this project funded?
In 2016, Buckinghamshire County Council prepared a Strategic Outline Business Case. 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 contributions allowing the scheme to progress.
In addition, the scheme forms part of the council’s Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) allocation from Homes England. These monies will be used to forward fund the scheme ahead of receipts from Section 106 funding at a later date.
2.2 How much funding will HS2 provide?
HS2 will fund the bridge crossing over the Aylesbury-Marylebone railway line, and the new roundabout on the B4443 Lower Road. The council is in negotiation with HS2 regarding the total contribution to be provided by HS2.
2.3 If HS2 is paying, why can’t a tunnel be built?
HS2 will only pay ‘the reasonable costs’ of the crossing of the Aylesbury-Marylebone railway line. A tunnel solution was ruled out due to the capital costs of construction as well as the ongoing costs of maintenance. A tunnel would require a pumping solution due to the high water level in the area.
This is covered in the Alternatives chapter of the planning application (the application can be found on the planning portal using the search ref CC/0015/20).
3. Land acquisition
3.1 How will the council acquire the land for this project?
The council is seeking to negotiate with all landowners in order to reach agreements on purchasing land. To prevent a situation in which the council does not own all the land necessary to deliver the SEALR, the council has submitted a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO). The CPO will be used as a ‘backstop’ to ensure the project can be delivered and the council will firstly seek negotiated settlements with all landowners.
3.2 Is a Compulsory Purchase Order necessary?
As discussed above, the council will seek to reach a negotiated settlement with all affected landowners. The council has made the CPO to ensure that the project can be delivered in a timely fashion and to programme. Without the CPO, the project risked not being able to acquire all the necessary land and, therefore, could not deliver the project.
3.3 What land will be compulsorily purchased?
Specific details of the land parcels subject to the CPO can be viewed in the CPO documentation, which can be found on the SEALR webpage. The council is not compulsorily purchasing any private residencies or businesses to construct this project.
3.4 When will the Compulsory Purchase Order be finalised?
If the council cannot reach a negotiated settlement with any landowners, a CPO inquiry will be held. This is likely to be in spring 2021.
3.5 I have received a letter from the council about being included in the CPO for subsoil interests. What does this mean?
If you have received a letter from the council referencing your inclusion in the CPO, don’t worry – the council is not exercising the CPO over your home or business. The subsoil is the ground beneath the road outside your property. As you may know, the local authority (Buckinghamshire Council) owns the public highway and the land within the highway boundary. The local authority does not own the ground beneath the road, which is the subsoil.
The law assumes that the subsoil is owned by the properties adjoining the highway. Therefore, your property has been included in the CPO so that the council can acquire the rights over the subsoil beneath the highway. It is a legal requirement that the council acquires these rights in order to construct the project. The council is not seeking to purchase your home/business and your inclusion in the CPO is to acquire the rights over the subsoil.
3.6 What is a Side Roads Order?
A Side Roads Order (SRO) is a legal order made by the council to perform two functions:
- to stop up existing highway that will be defunct after the project is delivered.
- to designate the new road as public highway.
3.7 Can I object to the Compulsory Purchase Order and/or the Side Roads Order?
Both the Compulsory Purchase Order and the Side Roads Order (SRO) had objection periods which lasted from 16 September 2020 to 29 October 2020.
The objection periods were advertised via press releases, newspaper adverts, notices in the local area, the SEALR e-bulletins, and on the SEALR webpage. This objection period is now closed.
3.8 Why does the project need to take public open space?
In order to provide landscaping to screen the road from adjacent properties and to construct the A413 Wendover Road roundabout, the project will need to acquire a small section of public open space land adjoining Patrick Way to the south.
Since the design of the roundabout is informed by traffic modelling, it cannot be reduced in size without impacting its ability to manage traffic flow effectively (i.e. making it smaller will increase congestion). It should be noted that over half of the open space area being acquired for this project is for landscaping
The council will replace the open space land that is lost with land that is of equal or greater quantity and quality. Further details of the replacement land have been provided in an EIA addendum submitted to the planning system in December 2020. The planning reference is CC/0015/20. Further details can be found on the project webpage.
3.9 What is the Section 19 application process for replacing public open space?
In order to replace the open space, the council must go through the Section 19 process. The council has applied to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government for a Section 19 certificate. The Secretary of State must then assess the replacement land and offer a decision in principle as to whether the certificate will be granted, based on the suitability of the replacement land.
When the decision in principle is known, the public will have the opportunity to comment on/object to the proposal. If approved, the Secretary of State will grant the Section 19 certificate and the project will replace the land. This process is separate to the CPO, SRO and planning application.
There is no date set for the assessment by the Secretary of State, nor has a decision in principle been made. When the decision in principle is known (and therefore the objection period opens), the council will publish details via our webpage, notices in the local area, press release and project bulletin so that the public is aware.
4. Design and mitigation
4.1 Why was this alignment chosen?
The two fixed points for the alignment were the position on the B4443 Lower Road where the realignment of the A4010 (Stoke Mandeville Relief Road) proposes a new roundabout, and the position on the A413 Wendover Road where the proposed Southern Link Road (delivered as part of the Hampden Fields development to the east of Aylesbury) intersects with the A413 Wendover Road. In planning terms, the realignment of the A4010 has been agreed as part of the HS2 Hybrid Act of Parliament. The Southern Link Road alignment is part of an application that is in the planning system and has a recommendation to approve, therefore these points must be considered.
The nearby Hampden Hall roundabout was not seen as a suitable alternative due to the inability to continue the road through the existing housing estate, therefore not achieving the purpose of the Aylesbury Orbital Link Road.
4.2 Why can’t the alignment of the road be further away from the Stoke Grange estate?
Since the first consultation event, the project team did move the alignment of the road further away from the existing housing estate. However, the scheme is constrained as to the amount it can bend the road due to increases in cost, land take and the short length of the road (1.2 kilometres in total). It is acknowledged that residents would have liked to see the scheme move away further from the existing estate especially by moving the roundabout on Wendover Road further South, this was not possible due to potential impact on other properties and the need to tie into the Southern Link Road. The current scheme is seen by the council as providing a balance between these issues.
4.3 Why is this project a dual carriageway?
This scheme was originally planned as a single carriageway with passive provision for dualling (passive provision is the principle of designing the project in a way that allows the council to return in future to upgrade it to a dual carriageway). The project team presented this at the first consultation. Following this consultation, further traffic modelling was undertaken that demonstrated a dual carriageway attracted more traffic away from the town centre, a key objective of the project. Therefore, it was decided to deliver the scheme as a dual carriageway. This is explained further in the Planning Application via the new information submitted in December 2020. The planning reference is CC/0015/20.
4.4 What will be the impact on the local road network, including the A413 Wendover Road and the gyratory in Aylesbury?
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, via a new roundabout. This scheme is referred to as the Stoke Mandeville Relief Road. Traffic modelling has indicated that this re-alignment combined with growth in the region will cause congestion at the gyratory within Aylesbury town centre, leading to increased traffic queues and delays.
This is also likely to result in worsening air quality issues at the Stoke Road gyratory which is a designated Air Quality Management Area (AQMA), due to high traffic levels and emissions related to idling vehicle engines and queues.
To address this, the project will provide a new road to connect the B4443 Lower Road with the A413 Wendover Road, enabling satisfactory levels of highway network performance at the Stoke Road gyratory and the A413, A4010 and B4443 arterial roads after the Stoke Mandeville Relief Road is completed.
4.5 What will the speed of the road be and what has been done to ensure this is safe?
The road will have a speed limit of 40mph.The scheme is incorporating areas for police enforcement vans to stop following consultation with Thames Valley Police. A full Road Safety Audit has been completed as part of the planning application which contributes to ensuring the road is safety compliant.
The project has adhered to modern design and construction standards for visibility, drainage, safety fencing, surfacing, lighting, etc.
4.6 What noise mitigation is planned for this scheme?
Noise barriers are planned along the northern side of SEALR from the start of the bridge embankment, continuing eastwards to the A413 Wendover Road roundabout and on the eastern side of the roundabout. There is also a section of barrier on the southern side of the road on the approach to the B4443 Lower Road roundabout.
The noise barriers will be located at the back of the footway/cycleway. They are 3m high and are finished with a wooden surface, similar to a closeboard fence.
Noise reducing surfacing is being considered on the scheme and we have procured consultants to do a comparison exercise on this during the detailed design stage. Low Noise Surfacing (LNS) is more costly and has a shorter design life than standard Hot Rolled Asphalt (HRA), which therefore means a higher maintenance cost. However, it is acknowledged that given the height of the road over the railway line this needs to be considered.
4.7 Can noise monitoring be carried out at our house?
Noise monitoring has already been undertaken in the vicinity of the proposed scheme as part of the noise impact assessment included in the planning application. The monitoring locations were agreed with Aylesbury Vale District Council and were selected to be representative of the area.
It is therefore not possible for the project to offer the opportunity for all residents to have noise measurements taken at their homes.
4.8 What is the process for compensation from the scheme?
There is guidance on compensation available from central government. Find out how to get compensation when a road affects your property's value.
4.9 What crossing facilities will be available?
The SEALR will feature two new signalised crossing facilities, one at each of the new roundabouts. The locations of these can be seen in the planning application drawings.
4.10 What provisions are being made for ecology?
The bridge over the Aylesbury-Marylebone railway line incorporates an ecological corridor beneath it which will connect the land on either side of the SEALR for terrestrial and low flying animals. The landscape planting also includes taller trees on the slopes of the embankments to create routes for bats and birds to fly along, encouraging them to fly high above the road or use the ecological corridor.
Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) is an approach which aims to leave the natural environment in a measurably better state once development is in place than beforehand. Through the careful planning of the scheme, SEALR will achieve a Biodiversity Net Gain of 10% resulting in ecological improvements compared to the current situation.
4.11 What type of trees will be planted?
The landscape proposals include the following species of tree:
- Field Maple - Acer campestre
- Common Alder - Alnus glutinosa
- Silver Birch - Betula pendula
- Hornbeam - Carpinus betulus
- Leylandii - Cupressus × leylandii
- Crab Apple - Malus sylvestris
- Wild Cherry - Prunus avium
- English Oak - Quercus robur
4.12 Will the overhead cables be put underground?
The project team are currently discussing utility diversions with the utility companies that have assets in the area. The project intends to divert the existing 33kv overhead cables underground and is in conversation with UK Power Networks (UKPN) as to how and when the council can do this.
4.13 Does this scheme feature any lighting?
The roundabouts at either end of the scheme on the B4443 Lower Road and the A413 Wendover Road will feature street lighting. The footway/cycleway on the scheme will feature solar studs, which emit low-level light to provide waymarking and additional security for pedestrians and cyclists.
No other lighting is proposed
4.14 Will there be protection from the lights at the roundabout?
The roundabout lighting will be built for minimal light spillage. The scheme is also proposing significant landscaping mitigation as per the most recent designs. The planning submission documents include a lighting impact assessment to ensure that appropriate lighting types and levels are provided without unnecessary spillage of light.
4.15 What will be the impact on Eastcote Road?
The scheme acknowledges that residents have significant concerns about the entry to/exit from the A413 Wendover Road via Eastcote Road. Options for this junction are presented in the Transport Assessment within the planning application (ref CC/0015/20) and in the addendum submitted to the planning application in December 2020.
5. Planning application and consultation
5.1 When was the planning application submitted?
The SEALR planning application was submitted on 20/03/2020.
5.2 Where can I view the planning application?
The planning application can be viewed on the planning portal. The planning reference number is CC/0015/20.
5.3 What are the current expected timescales for the planning application?
Following planning submission on 20/03/2020, the application entered a 6 week consultation period. The project has submitted an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) addendum to the planning system on 3 December 2020. This has triggered another 6 week consultation period which will end on 11 January 2020.
A planning committee is expected in February 2021.
5.4 How will the project respond to comments made during the first consultation period of the planning application?
Whilst the project team is unable to respond to each comment individually, common concerns and queries have been addressed in the submission of an EIA addendum on 3rd December 2020.
5.5 Can I object to the planning process?
We have submitted an EIA addendum to the planning portal. This has triggered a second 6 week consultation period, meaning you can object to the planning application. This objection period will end on 11 January 2021.
Raise an objection via the planning portal page for the planning application. The planning reference number is CC/0015/20.
5.6 What happens if Hampden Fields is refused planning permission?
The Hampden Fields development and the Woodlands developments are a part of the draft Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan therefore in planning terms they are included in the assessment of the SEALR. Both schemes also have a ‘resolution to grant’ from planning committees. It is acknowledged that both developments are not fully permitted and therefore if they were to be refused this could impact on the SEALR.
The SEALR scheme was assessed at an early stage of its development as a standalone scheme where it was demonstrated it could be delivered without Hampden Fields. This is not seen as likely to occur.
5.7 Have there been any previous public consultation events for this project?
Consultation events were held in 2017 and 2018. The project team sought public feedback on the project which has helped shape the current design.
These were publicised through letters to the public, press releases, briefings to local parish councils and our webpage.