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.