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Press release: The Stables To Challenge Threat Posed by Housing Development

Wednesday 20 June 2018


19 June 2018

The Stables To Challenge Threat Posed by Housing Development 

One of the UK’s leading music venues, The Stables in Wavendon, Milton Keynes is appealing to Milton Keynes Council to stand firm and refuse planning permission on a proposed housing development that would see three-storey blocks of flats built just 12 metres from its boundary.

The venue has been fighting encroaching housing development since the Strategic Land Allocation decreed that housing should be built to the North and East of the venue. 

Now land to the West of the venue directly opposite the front door of The Stables has been sold by Hewlett Packard to Abbey Developments to capitalise on the land value.  The plans submitted by Abbey Developments pay no regard to the previous guidance of the Council’s Chief Planning Officer to HP at Outline Planning stage that a green buffer zone must be maintained.

Monica Ferguson, Chief Executive and Artistic Director of The Stables is extremely concerned by the latest developments: “We have seen many music venues around the country forced to close in recent years when new housing schemes are built too close. Subsequent complaints from residents about noise nuisance arising from the gigs, the traffic, car doors and customers lead to licensing restrictions which make the venues unable to operate.  We are appealing to Milton Keynes Council to look to the future and ensure that it protects one of its most valuable cultural assets.”

The Stables was founded in 1970 by Sir John Dankworth and Dame Cleo Laine, with a major capital lottery award enabling a new state-of-the-art venue to be opened in 2000.  It now presents over 400 gigs each year and delivers more than 250 learning and participation sessions to people of all ages. Its National Youth Music Camps, which have seen the likes of Radiohead’s Thom Yorke and Guy Chambers, songwriter for Robbie Williams, attend as students, have also been running since 1970. The Camps look unlikely to continue after this year with the encroaching housing developments.

Percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie, Patron of the music organisation, is dismayed by the recent turn of events: “In a climate where we are seeing the decline of formal musical education in schools, the loss of The Stables’ National Youth Music camps and the impact of housing on the concert programme would be an absolute travesty. Let’s not forget that people need and want a quality of life that extends to cultural activities and we must do everything we can to protect the organisations which can deliver that.”

The Stables is currently in the midst of final preparations for delivering IF: Milton Keynes International Festival and is asking all of its supporters to make their voices heard by Milton Keynes Council.


For further information contact:  Matthew Sanders, Head of Marketing, The Stables, Wavendon, Milton Keynes, tel: 01908 280817

Editors Notes

The Stables was founded in 1970 by the world-renowned jazz partnership of Sir John Dankworth and Dame Cleo Laine. It is one of the UK’s most popular and successful music venues.

Now approaching its 50th birthday The Stables presents more than 400 concerts attracting around 100,000 customers each year. Learning and participation are a central part of The Stables’ work and people of all ages, levels of ability and backgrounds are encouraged to take part in a wide range of music-making activities. The Stables holds National Portfolio Organisation status with Arts Council England and has been ranked fourth by the Performing Rights Society in its list of top 100 music venues in the UK.

In 2010, The Stables produced IF:Milton Keynes International Festival for the first time. Held every two years, it is now established one of this country’s most exciting and successful multi-artform festivals. It presents a world-class, international programme which includes large-scale and family events, concerts, theatre, dance, music and visual arts installations.