Parish Council makes further representations on the Badminton Centre development application

Loughton Parish Council met once again last night (8th April 2013) to consider all the further submissions on the major application for planning permission submitted by Badminton England. There was again a large attendance by members of the public at this meeting. On a show of hands, all the residents present indicated they did not support the application and that they wanted the Parish Council to object to the application.

The Parish Council voted to object to the application and agreed the terms of a letter making further, summative, representations on the application. You can read a copy of the letter which has been submitted via the link below

Letter to Milton Keynes Council re Badminton Centre application 9th April 2013

This has been acknowledged by the planning officer who has indicated that the views of the Parish Council will be included within the committee report

The application will be determined by the Development Control Committee on 29th April 2013 at 7pm in the Council Chamber in the Civic Offices. This meeting is open to the public and all local residents are encouraged to attend this meeting.

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Meeting with the Parks Trust on 28th March 2013

Today I met with the Chief executive of the Parks Trust David Foster at his HQ in Campbell Park pavillion with Jenny Strathern (Property Director of the Parks Trust). Also in attendance was Peter Howard, the architect commissioned by Loughton Parish Council to carry out a review of the Conservation Area statement.

The meeting had been fixed to discuss the proposal in the draft Conservation Area Review to extend the boundaries of the current area to take in two areas owned by the Parks Trust (1) the paddock between Lucy Lane and the Loughton Brook; and (2) the Loughton Equestrian Centre.

I was delighted that they did not have any objection to this in principle. On the equestrian centre we discussed the need that there is flexibility to allow and enable sympathetic development of additional facilities ancillary to its function as an equestrian centre – e.g. a specialist and larger tack shop and/or a restaurant/tea room – these might be attractions which will boost trading income and help secure the future of the site. I doubt there would be difficulty in obtaining planning permission even if there was a conservation area status but it maybe we can include some extra wording to help in this respect too.

We can therefore press on with the next stage of the consultation process, after further discussions with MK Council as to how they would like this to be done.

We also discussed other issues in the Parish. Of interest was the bank between the west coast main line and the A5. They pointed out that a planning condition of the permission to lay the additional track was the carrying out of bank works which Network Rail have failed to do. The Parks Trust have a bond for some but not all of these works. This has been an issue for me for some time and I have since put in a formal request for enforcement action to be taken by MK Council in respect of this. I will let you know what happens about it.

We also discussed the Badminton centre application. Mr Foster opined that a development “properly done” would not impact on Lodge Lake – but here they were seeking to extract the maximum profit. The unspoken inference of this was that he is alive to the fact that the outlined plan will impact on Lodge Lake – which is not to their satisfaction. He said however MK Council were strongly behind this application and had said they would put a planning requirement on the land that the entire development proceeds would have to go to develop the new Badminton Centre – thereby stripping the land of any asset value.

They also mentioned that Network Rail would be doing a small depot just outside the parish next to the line over the H4 near the allotments. A planning application will be forthcoming about this apparently.

They commended the Parish on our work on the Conservation Area review. We had a brief chat re the Neighbourhood Development plan and how that was progressing and I explained I hoped to make progress on that soon too.

 

 

 

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Loughton Parish Council’s submission on Badminton Centre planning applications

At the meeting on Monday 4th March 2013, Loughton Parish Council decided to submit a letter to Milton Keynes Council making formal submissions on the planning application submitted by Badminton England.

The letter of representations has now been sent and you can read a copy of via the link below

Loughton Parish Council submissions on Badminton Centre Planning Applications

 

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Planning Application at the Badminton Centre site

Residents should be aware that a major planning application has been submitted to MK Council and is now at the public consultation stage. Local residents now have an opportunity to have their say on the proposals by 6th March 2013. This date is the official last date for representations although the planning officer in the case has advised that any representations received up until the date of the committee hearing (likely to be 29th April 2013) will be taken into account.

The application

The application seeks planning permission to build 104 new residential houses along Bradwell Road from the H4 Dansteed Way all the way along to the H5 Portway. The land to be developed is the current site of the Badminton Centre and the wide green corridor north of Bradwell Road running along to the H4 which is currently open space.

The permission sought is to

  • Demolish the beautiful early 19th century stone barn from Loughton Lodge Farm, which has fine wooden beams and is a significant heritage asset
  • Build a new estate road entrance opposite the Guides Centre which emerges close to the junction with the H4; and
  • Build 24 flats in two large 3–storey blocks; and
  • Build 28 semi-detached houses; and
  • Build 52 detached houses

Follow this link to view the new proposed site plan

Pros and cons

Residents will have to make up their own minds on whether this application will benefit the area. If permission was granted, the development will generate funds for the Badminton Centre to develop a new Badminton Sports facility at the National Bowl.

In addition, the Badminton Centre have offered to give the land and buildings of Loughton Lodge farmhouse to Loughton Parish Council to use as offices and community meeting space. The Parish Council would have to fund the renovation and adaption of the building.

The Parish Council has a number of key concerns with the proposal :-

  • The setting of Lodge Lake – a major centre for recreation for local people in running, walking and fishing and an area of special environmental sensitivity –  will be significantly impacted and urbanised.
  • The size and density of the proposed development is inappropriate for the site
  • The MK Local Plan 2005 provided for less than 20 additional dwellings in the local area – and more than that number have already since been given permission
  • The open land is part of the green corridor when entering Milton Keynes from the west and is an integral part of the city’s design.
  • There is huge pressure to develop the area close to MK Central Rail Station and applications for permission are now continual on every remaining open space in the area. The character of the area is strongly associated with the open spaces that remain and which are now threatened by development
  • The density of the development and the size of the houses will generate a huge amount of extra traffic and parking, which will obstruct Bradwell Rd and impact the area.
  • The height of the development will breach MK’s level skyline design and will dominate Lodge Lake
  • The proposal intends to leave the junction of H4 and Bradwell Road unchanged, despite the impact of all the additional traffic from the western expansion area which will make H4 a major traffic route into the City Centre. The junction should be made left turn only or better still, to incorporate a new roundabout
  • It is likely Lodge Lake car park will be swamped by residents and visitors to the new development
  • There is insufficient provision for children’s play facilities in the new development and the proposal to develop a new children’s play area at Lodge Lake will change the natural setting of the Lake
  • 17 dwellings will have direct vehicular access into Bradwell Rd, causing a hazard to traffic entering or exiting H4. There are already collisions at this junction.

It will be for local residents to weigh up the benefits achieved against the impact of the development and to decide whether the application is in the overall benefit of our local area. Your views on this are important.

How to submit representations

You can submit representations by email to the responsible planning officer Debbie.Kirk@milton-keynes.gov.uk  quoting the planning application reference 13/00266/OUT and by making clear you wish to submit representations on this planning application.

Alternatively you can submit comments via the public access system in the MK Planning portal www.milton-keynes.gov.uk/development-control/ (but registration required)

Residents are advised to have their say on the proposal. The number of representations made is important and will be taken into account.

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Meeting at the Badminton Centre

After my meeting with the MK Play Association earlier today, i went on to a meeting at the Badminton centre to discuss the very large proposed residential development with their project architect, Peter Emptage.

We looked at their proposals. They currently plan to keep Loughton lodge farmhouse which whilst not listed is a fine building on 3 storeys. The current plan for this is for it to be converted back into a house and sold as a house.

We also looked at the old barn. This is an early 19th century stone barn, the upstairs of which is currently used as a restaurant. It is a beatiful building with lovely wooden beams inside. It is so full of character.

The current plans are for this barn to be completely demolished to make way for the newbuild residential development.

I am rather disappointed with the MK Council Conservation department. It simply can’t be right that this beautiful old building is destroyed. There is potential for the barn to be a community facility/meeting place which would be of huge potential benefit to the community. It also would preserve the heritage of the site and would bring interest and character, if it was to be retained.

I’m not sure the current development proposal has been thought through in this respect and I can see there is potential for a large battle over this development proposal. I understand outline planning consent will be applied for on Monday of next week. The speed at which these plans have been developed is quite extraordinary. I hope the right thing will be done in the end. Otherwise the whole development proposal could be thrown out, I suspect.

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Meeting with Chief Executive of Badminton England

At 8am this snowy morning, Councillor Ballantyne and I met with Mr Adrian Christy. He is the Chief Executive of Badminton England and is based at the National Badminton Centre at Bradwell Road, within the Parish.

He had invited us to come to discuss their plans to secure outline planning permission to re-develop the site (and the adjoining Parks Trust open space).

He showed us a plan of a development proposal for 142 residential homes on the site – which I took a photograph of – and you can see here. The plan at the top is a topographical study of the existing site and the bottom is the proposed layout of the development.

He told us about the vision for a new Badminton centre at the Bowl site and the facilities and amenities it would have.

I outlined the concerns I have about the proposal; which briefly are as follows:-

  • we contend Environmental Impact Assessment is required due to the huge development in the context of Lodge Lake is to a particularly sensitive and vulnerable site
  • The likely effect on traffic on Bradwell Rd and Dansteed Way, compounded by the additional traffic to the western area expansion (6,500 homes) will have a serious effect on the whole area of Great Holm and Loughton Lodge
  • 120-150 homes would be significant over-development. It is unclear what size they would be but we think that if permission was granted it should be no more than 2 storey. On our view we think that about 15-20 homes would be a maximum
  • That there should be social housing provision included and the housing should be suitable and as needed by the local community. There is a large surplus of large 4+ bedroom family homes in the area and we don’t need any more of those but some 1 storey bungalows for elderly and disabled residents would be welcome and maybe 1 and 2 bedroom homes to meet local housing needs
  • There must be sufficient green space provided for residents including a play area within the development. It would not be suitable to place a play area on the Parks Trust land near to the lake as this would disturb the tranquil and natural setting of the lake, and recreations there of walking and fishing
  • Concern that the site may have contaminated land and this should be thoroughly investigated before planning permission is applied for
  • There would need to be sufficient parking provided on the site : as a minimum that should be 3 spaces per property as otherwise there will be parking problems generated in the area and affect safety on Bradwell Road
  • We would like to see the noise assessment of the site as it is next to the noisy and busy A5 and railway line and has not been considered a suitable site for residential properties before now.
  • Loughton Lodge farm is a heritage asset and should be preserved
  • We would like to see a sports club and fitness facility remain on the site as it is a useful facility for local people
  • The Parks trust land is used for walking and recreation and wildlife at the moment and we would not support the loss of these amenities for local people
  • We question the sustainability of a development of this size built so proximately to the A5 and railway and are concerned that this will become in the long term a run-down area of sub-standard quality housing which will bring problems of anti social behaviour to an area which is currently free from such problems

 

We discussed possible s.106 arrangements to make the development more acceptable and to enable them to proceed with the project.

We also discussed a possible application for registration of the open space land as a village green under the Commons Act 2006.

This is a difficult issue for us in that many residents will be upset about the impact this development would have on the natural environment and tranquility of the lake.

On the other hand, local people might also see the benefits of the new sporting centre at the Bowl.

I would really value feedback from local people as to what they think of all the issues so that the Parish Council could effectively represent the bests interests of the community.

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