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.





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



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  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 (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.


THAT litter bin

I took this photo while out and about the parish on Sunday 2nd December 2012 at about 3.24pm in the car park of Lodge Lake. This is a Parish litter bin which is surrounded by litter. You will observe that the bin is not full to the top as you cannot see any litter sitting at the top of the bin. I previously raised the untidy state of this bin with the Parks Trust – who own the land at Lodge Lake including this car park only a few weeks ago. Things seem to improve for a while, but now they have deteriorated again. I have now raised it with them again and they have suggested perhaps “local wildlife (crows & foxes)” have been removing the items from the bin. They have promised to look at it again.

The bin is emptied twice a week by the Parish contractor and we have thought about a more regular collection but this would be expensive for only one bin.

This is quite frustrating! So I thought I would blog about it to see if I could crowd source a solution? Or maybe I am the only person bothered…..