Succeeding as a place, succeeding as a country
5a. Our Ambition And Priorities - Places
Repurpose and create quality, low carbon, healthy and connected communities for people to live and work
We will create a Housing Investment Deal to prioritise affordable, sustainable and carbon-neutral housing, develop innovative approaches to using public land, and introduce lifetime living environments to help our ageing population retain their independence.
- Front-load the delivery of 50,000 homes by 2036, regenerating and reviving towns, and consolidating the opportunity presented by major innovative developments such as Aylesbury Garden Town, Prices Risborough, and Aylesbury Woodlands. These homes will be attractive for the workforce for the future and will enable young people to start and grow their careers in Buckinghamshire.
- Build high-quality, carbon-neutral, digitally enabled, affordable homes for life. These will be adaptable, accessible, and suitable for key workers, home working, family living, and healthy, independent living in older years, for instance through a care village model. Our housing developments will be energy efficient and sustainable with high-quality integrated green infrastructure and accessible walking and cycling routes to encourage active travel. We will focus on overcoming inequalities and improving physical and mental health and well-being by building high-quality, functional places that support cohesive, healthy communities.
- Reimagine and diversify town centres with high-quality housing, co-working space, public spaces, and walking and cycling routes. COVID-19 has accelerated existing long-term trends related to home working and online retail, and the decline of peak office working in central London. This is an opportunity to repurpose or towns, providing the infrastructure and amenities required by our highly skilled and qualified residents, many of whom will want to continue to work locally or at home, for at least part of the week.
- Invest in digital, physical, and green infrastructure to unlock development and supported a connected rural economy.
Core asks to help accelerate UK recovery
A housing investment board with a £100m single pot housing investment fund
This Board and Investment Fund will be used to front-load the delivery of planned high-quality, carbon-neutral, affordable housing and associated infrastructure, developing quality places and increasing town centre residential density. Our Board will have CPO, borrowing, funding and permitted development land, freedoms and powers. We will also explore establishing a development company to lead delivery. Our focus will be on Aylesbury, which has significant potential around East West Rail, the relocation of the rail depot and the Garden Town. This will also enable us to take a county-wide approach to public land to provide affordable housing and care villages for older residents. As part of our core asks, we request that confirmation is provided on the delivery of the East West Rail Aylesbury spur line.
Investment from the £400m Single Pot Investment Fund
This will enable us to accelerate investment and unlock opportunity by enhancing local infrastructure, delivering shovel-ready schemes and generating recyclable investment. This will enable Buckinghamshire to deliver on its identified priorities efficiently and effectively, and encourage longer-term infrastructure planning horizons through greater certainty.
It will be a flexible and multi-year fund with the ability to reprofile expenditure and move funding between projects to meet the immediate need and shifting priorities. The Investment Fund will be governed by a Local Evaluation Framework, to assess interventions and investments.
The Growth Board has developed a number of proposed projects in its Spending Review submission which could be funded by the Single Pot Investment Fund. There will be a prioritisation process to determine which of these projects will be taken forward, but these could include:
- Aylesbury Public Realm and Regeneration – Aylesbury Gardenway, a fully connected corridor encircling the town, enhancing connectivity and liveability of the neighbourhoods on the town’s outer reaches
- High Wycombe Public Realm and Regeneration – regenerating the Eastern Quarter to create a vibrant and lively public realm, and a diverse cultural offer
- High Wycombe Transport Improvements – delivering various measures from the emerging High Wycombe Transport Strategy
- Winslow – development of a masterplan linked to opportunity around improved connectivity to Oxford via East West Rail and a green business park
- Digital town centres – enhancing Wi-Fi connectivity and digital literacy training to provide consumers and small traders with the technology and skills to trade digitally through recovery and renewal
- Chesham mesh network rollout – rolling out an innovative mesh network project, embedding technology in street furniture to benefit adult social care service delivery
- One Public Estate Community and Service Hubs – providing a single joined up public service access point for health, social care, libraries and leisure in Buckingham, Iver, Chesham and Amersham
- Local Infrastructure Schemes - delivering relief roads and local sustainable travel routes which will unlock planned housing growth and reduce the challenges existing communities are facing.
Investment from the £60m Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund
This fund will enable Buckinghamshire to connect the remaining premises, currently without superfast broadband (i.e below 30mbps speed), in the county to gigabit-capable connectivity (>1,000mpbs). Based on the intentions for all UK premises to be 100% connected to gigabit connectivity by 2025, this fund will help to accelerate the delivery across Buckinghamshire supplementing a connected rural economy. Digital infrastructure will be central to the future of our places and will enable residents and the workforce to operate efficiently and effectively with a greater access to skills and reduced digital exclusion. Buckinghamshire has one of the highest levels of take-up for superfast broadband services in country, showing the appetite and need for better connectivity in the area.
Furthermore, investing in the gigabit-capable network of Buckinghamshire will provide the backbone for a future 5G connected county. This will enhance the opportunities for commercial roll out across the county and enable Buckinghamshire to be a leader in digital infrastructure.