Mr Jim Stevens provided a presentation, appended to the minutes; entitled “A Locally Inspired Suggested Strategy for the A4010”. J Stevens highlighted the approach adopted to produce the draft strategy which had no formal status but was a document for ongoing discussion on the A4010; the main north to south artery through the area. The existing transport policies were the Buckinghamshire Local Transport Plan (LTP), the England’s Economic Heartland (EEH) Regional Transport Strategy (RTS) (published in February 2021) and Buckinghamshire Freight Strategy. The A4010 was classified as a strategic route, a blue light route and would also become a HS2 construction route and the suggested strategy aligned well with the RTS. Traffic data had shown there was congestion in Princes Risborough and West Wycombe and an air quality management area had been declared on West Wycombe Road, High Wycombe. Traffic was predicted to increase by 30% by 2036 due to housing and economic growth. In summary, the A4010 was a stressed road, calling for attention. The other north to south route was the A413 which had benefitted from route strategy over many years and there was a significant difference between the two routes. J Stevens highlighted the progress so far and what an A4010 Strategy could deliver and the four suggested objectives which were:
- To reduce carbon emissions and traffic demand.
- To mitigate development traffic.
- To address local road safety concerns.
- To manage bottlenecks at each end of the route.
To fully develop (and ultimately deliver) a strategy for the A4010 would require ongoing engagement with, and support of, Buckinghamshire Council. The two immediate issues were the narrow road width and the lack of continuous cycleway. Funding was a huge challenge and the delivery of the A4010 strategy would be delivered by a range of organisations and would need to be integrated within the LTP 5 and EEH RTS. The Community Board was recommended by J Stevens to support:
- The general ‘direction of travel’ with the suggested A4010 Strategy.
- The suggested key objectives as a basis for discussion with Buckinghamshire Council.
- Engagement with Buckinghamshire Council to develop the suggested A4010 Strategy.
- Working towards potential inclusion of the suggested A4010 Strategy in LTP5.
- Engagement with England’s Economic Heartland on the RTS North to South Connectivity Study (working with BC).
- A formal request to TfB to maintain the existing cycleway.
The following key points were raised in discussion:
- It was noted that it had been an excellent piece of work. There were issues on almost every section, particularly in High Wycombe as there was congestion along West Wycombe Road which would not be easy to address.
- Restoration/reopening of the current cycle route and adding in the missing four miles of cycleway would make an improvement.
- The cost was unknown for the widening of the road and care needed to be taken to avoid new housing being linked to the road widening as the Government did not tend to provide funding for improving existing efficiencies. The Leader advised engagement with the Highways Team and Councillor Nick Naylor, the Cabinet Member for Transport.
- Councillor Steve Broadbent declared that he sat on EEH Forum and that he was the Council’s representative on the Local Economic Partnership Board and fully supported the draft strategy and offered to engage with J Stevens. The objective was to be carbon net zero for transport by 2040 which would mean that the road would need to be widened as a priority. Active Travel Schemes would also be considered above others.
- Councillor Clive Harriss added that it was an exciting proposal. The Winslow to Buckingham route had been improved and had resulted in increased use by cyclists and joggers.
- Councillor Clive Harriss also expressed his concerns over the traffic speed and crossing the road at Great Kimble and that the scheme could lead to further urbanisation.
- Councillor Alan Turner advised that the railway connection from Northamptonshire to Old Oak Common should be pushed/promoted as an alternative to the existing route to Marylebone. The rail service between Aylesbury and High Wycombe was poor and the bus service was slow.
- It was suggested that technology be improved to encourage people to choose their method of travel and avoid traffic problems.
- Any funding opportunities would be considered/welcomed.
RESOLVED: The Community Board agreed to support the strategy.