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Proposed Housing Development Goes To Appeal

Wednesday 13 May 2020

Planning Development Update: 2/6/20

APPEAL BY Mr. George Harkins AGAINST REFUSAL FOR Certificate of Lawful Development (Proposed) for implementation of planning permission 15/02337/OUT and reserved matters application 18/01304/REM without compliance with condition 14 of reserved matters approval under reference 18/01304/REM. AT Land North And West of Wavendon Business Park, Ortensia Drive, Wavendon Gate, Milton Keynes, 

You may have seen that yet another appeal has been submitted by Abbey Homes - you may also have received a letter from MK Council quoting details as above.  This latest appeal relates to the Council's refusal of an application by Abbey for a certificate of lawfulness.  In short, Abbey are seeking a certificate which would confirm, if granted, that despite condition 14 of the reserved matters approval requiring a deed of easement of noise, non-compliance with the condition by Abbey would nevertheless be lawful.   

As it's a certificate of lawfulness appeal, the issues for the Inspector will solely focus on the legal arguments put forward, ie would non-compliance with condition 14 be lawful.  In other words, the planning merits of having a deed of easement of noise will not be relevant to the Inspector's decision.

The Stables will be providing a response prior to 1 July, which is the deadline for submissions.  Whilst anyone can submit a representation, these would need to be limited to the legal arguments only.  We are also liaising closely with the Council, as they will be submitting a full response on the legal issues.

Thank you for your continued support.


Planning Development Update: 13/5/20

It’s disappointing that, due to the COVID-19 crisis, the public hearing previously offered by the Planning Inspectorate for the Abbey Homes appeal has been replaced with a written appeals procedure.

The Stables has submitted detailed written representations in support of the decision taken by Milton Keynes Council to impose a deed of easement as a pre-commencement condition.  We are also very grateful to the many organisations and individuals who have taken time to write to the Planning Inspectorate to raise their concerns about the development and the impact it could have on The Stables.

Whilst the deadline for The Stables to submit comments ended on 1 May, the Council and the appellant can still submit comments to the Planning Inspectorate until 22 May.  The procedure is unclear on whether public representations can still be lodged up to that date.  

We have everything to lose here so if you are interested in supporting us, there may well be an opportunity left for more people to contribute to the process and make their voices heard.  Together, we can send the clearest message to the Planning Inspector that The Stables has overwhelming public support, something it has maintained throughout this exhausting and damaging planning process. Please see below for details of how to make a representation.

If you do write in support, it may be helpful to emphasise that the Council supported our request for a deed of easement condition because it recognised the benefit of protecting both the venue and the future residents. 

It is deeply distressing that Abbey Homes continue to argue technical legal points when both the Council and tens of thousands of people are just trying to save a cherished cultural asset.

How To Submit A Representation 

Representations will be most effective if they are strong and concise and demonstrate why it is vital to protect The Stables and why the appeal should be rejected. You might also want to express your personal experience of The Stables and focus on the personal impact it would have on you and the wider community or national music infrastructure if it were lost at some point in the future because the wrong decision was made now.  Submissions have to be made online on the PINS website - https://acp.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/  

You will need to register first to be able to comment on the appeal as an interested party, and then search for appeal ref:  3246822 

You can either upload a pre-written letter or add comments in the text box provided.

If you are submitting a letter you must include the following three pieces of information to identify which case you are making representation about:   

  • Appeal Reference:  APP/Y0435/W/20/3246822
  • Appeal by:  Abbey Development Ltd
  • Appeal Site Address:  Land North and West of Wavendon Business Park, Milton Keynes 

You may get a message along the way saying the deadline for submissions has passed - please ignore this and don't be put off - we believe and hope that submissions can still be made.

Further information If you would like to read further background information on the appeal, Milton Keynes Council has a link to all the documents in the case on their website including appendices to the main Statement of Case Documents below:

To view the other documents go to the MK Council Planning Portal

https://publicaccess2.milton-keynes.gov.uk/online-applications/

and use the reference: 19/01357/REM

Remember that to comment on the appeal you need to be on the planning inspectorate website. 

https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/planning-inspectorate

Thank you once again for all your support!


Planning Development Update: 22/04/20

Hello everyone, we hope you are keeping safe during these strange times!

The Stables is currently still closed to the public in line with Government guidelines, but we are still keeping an eye on what’s happening around us with regard to planning matters.  We want to be sure we have done all we can to protect The Stables well into the future.

If you have been following our planning battles you will have seen that we were pleased that Milton Keynes Council had rejected attempts by Abbey Homes to remove the need for them to enter into a deed of easement with The Stables. 

As you'll probably know, the deed of easement offers fundamental protection for The Stables.  It means that we will be able to operate our business with the same noise levels as we currently produce, without living in constant fear that our new residential neighbours will be able to successful complain that the noise is a nuisance.   

Sadly, the developers have since lodged an appeal with the planning inspectorate to have the deed of easement condition removed from their planning permission.  Their argument is a technical, legal one but we are hopeful that the Planning Inspector will decide in our favour and refuse the appeal.

Milton Keynes Council asked the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) for the appeal to be heard as a public hearing.  This was initially agreed by PINS, but now, due to the public health issues arising from Coronavirus - Covid 19, PINS has changed its decision and the appeal is now being conducted through written representations only, ie no public hearing.  We don't blame PINS for this decision but it does mean that if you want your voice heard, you may want write to PINS and express your concerns about the appeal and the importance of The Stables to you.

Please be assured that the Planning Inspector will have access to all of the information previously submitted, including letters from our many supporters.  However, if you'd like to add to your previous comments, perhaps by stressing your belief that the Council is right to seek protection for The Stables under a deed of easement, then it would be hugely appreciated by everyone at The Stables. The deadline for doing this is 1 May 2020.

How To Submit A Representation

Representations will be most effective if they are strong and concise and demonstrate why it is vital to protect The Stables and why the appeal should be rejected. You might also want to express your personal experience of The Stables and focus on the personal impact it would have on you and the wider community or national music infrastructure if it were lost at some point in the future because the wrong decision was made now. 

Submissions have to be made online on the PINS website - https://acp.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/  

You will need to register first to be able to comment on the appeal as an interested party, and then search for appeal ref:  3246822 

You can either upload a pre-written letter or add comments in the text box provided.

If you are submitting a letter you must include the following three pieces of information to identify which case you are making representation about:   

  • Appeal Reference:  APP/Y0435/W/20/3246822
  • Appeal by:  Abbey Development Ltd
  • Appeal Site Address:  Land North and West of Wavendon Business Park, Milton Keynes 

You may get a message along the way saying the deadline for submissions has passed - please ignore this and don't be put off.


Further information

If you would like to read further background information on the appeal, Milton Keynes Council has a link to all the documents in the case on their website including appendices to the main Statement of Case Documents below:

To view the other documents go to the MK Council Planning Portal

https://publicaccess2.milton-keynes.gov.uk/online-applications/

and use the reference: 19/01357/REM

Remember that to comment on the appeal you need to be on the planning inspectorate website.  

https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/planning-inspectorate

Thank you once again for all your support!


Planning Development Update: 13/01/20

Council Refuses CLOPUD Application From Abbey Homes

The Stables is grateful to the members of Milton Keynes Development Control Committee for refusing the latest application from Abbey Homes.  The developers had applied for a Certificate of Lawful Development that would have allowed them to proceed with building next to The Stables without implementing the condition of a Deed of Easement (condition 14), which was applied to the original planning permission granted for the site.

At a meeting of the committee held last Thursday, Council members agreed with the recommendations from officers to refuse permission and to enable appropriate enforcement action is if the condition is breached. 

The public gallery was full and members unanimous in their resolve to ensure that the developers comply with the condition that will ensure residents are informed of the proximity to the music venue before moving in and enabling the venue to continue to make noise to its current levels without fear of a private noise nuisance prosecution from residents of the Abbey Development site.

The committee noted the risk that the developers may now appeal the refusal, posing a residual risk that The Stables will incur additional legal costs.  The Stables, a registered charity, has so far funded fees for legal, planning and noise consultants from its reserves spending over £60,000 since April and in excess of £100,000 in total. 

Monica Ferguson, Chief Executive & Artistic Director said, “Every penny spent on planning matters is a penny that cannot be spent promoting music and supporting future generations of musicians through the learning & participation and emerging artists programmes.  It also means less to spend investing in projects like IF: Milton Keynes International Festival and in maintaining and running The Stables venue.”

Its January 2020 Gift Appeal has so far raised in excess of £6,000.  

Jim Rice, Chair of the Trustees said “We are so grateful to everyone who has continued to support our campaign to ensure the best possible future for The Stables.  To have raised this amount in 5 days is fantastic, but we are concerned that our costs may continue to rise if the developers decide to appeal the Council’s decisions.”

Donations towards the appeal can be made online through Just Giving or via the box office on 01908 280800.  Cheques can be made payable to Wavendon Allmusic Plan and sent to The Stables, Stockwell Lane, Wavendon, Milton Keynes, MK17 8LU.


Planning Development Update: 03/01/20

First of all, we’d like to wish all of our customers and supporters a very Happy New Year.

2020 marks the 50th anniversary of The Stables and we are still doing everything we can to protect the venue from the threat of private noise nuisance complaints that could arise from the new housing development planned for our Western Boundary.

After securing the necessary conditions at the Development Control Committee hearing on 1 August we are disappointed that the Developers, Abbey Homes have decided to submit a CLOPUD application requesting that Milton Keynes Council confirms that carrying out the development without complying with condition 14 (the requirement for a deed of easement) will be lawful.

It is the third attempt by the Developers to avoid the condition and the application re-runs the legal arguments that have been previously aired. 

A CLOPUD application could be determined by planning officers and there is no formal consultation required by law. However,  following a letter of concern from The Stables to MK Council the application will now be determined at the Development Control Committee meeting on 9 January.

The recommendation from the officers is to refuse the application (click here to see the report) but the decision now rests with the Committee.  We hope and trust that Councillors will continue to uphold their previous commitment to safeguarding The Stables.  If you are interested and able to attend the meeting, your support would be most welcome.  The committee meets on Thursday 9 January at 7pm in the Council Chamber, Civic, 1 Saxon Gate East, Milton Keynes, MK9 3EJ.

Of course, this means that we continue to incur legal costs.  Since April our costs for expert noise and legal advice have amounted to in excess of £60,000 with our total expenditure on planning consultations exceeding £100,000.

We are fortunate that we have been able to fund these costs from our charity’s reserves, but now we need your help. Every penny spent on planning matters is a penny less we have to spend promoting music and supporting future generations of musicians through our learning & participation and emerging artists programmes.  It also means we have less to spend investing in projects like IF: Milton Keynes International Festival and in maintaining and running The Stables venue.

Please make a donation to our January 2020 Gift Appeal and you will be helping to secure The Stables for future generations. 

Donations can be made online at through Just Giving or you can make a donation via credit card by calling the box office on 01908 280800 or posting a cheque payable to Wavendon Allmusic Plan and sending it to The Stables, Stockwell Lane, Wavendon, Milton Keynes, MK17 8LU.

With our very best wishes for 2020.  

Jim Rice                Monica Ferguson

Chair                      Chief Executive & Artistic Director



Planning Development Update: 02/08/19

We are pleased that last night Milton Keynes Council’s Development Control Committee decided that planning permission for new housing on our western boundary would be subject to a deed of easement, despite the site being carved up.  

Councillors on the committee talked about the value of The Stables to Milton Keynes and their desire to protect us into the future.  The chair stated that the public attendance was unprecedented with over 200 supporters squeezing into the public gallery in a statement of solidarity.  Support was also demonstrated through 875 letters of objection and a petition of more than 22,000 signatures.   

Members of the committee agreed that there remained a risk that residents would be subject to noise from the music venue or its site and insisted that the conditions be imposed on the new application.  

Thank you for all of your support.


Planning Development Update: 19/07/19

The new and revised planning application for housing to be built on our western boundary will now be considered by Milton Keynes Council's Development Control Committee on Thursday 1 August. The meeting starts at 7pm at the Civic Offices, 1 Saxon Gate, Milton Keynes, MK9 3EJ - if you are able to attend it really does help us to have your support in the room. 

BACKGROUND

We have today seen for the first time the officer’s recommendations in relation to the new Reserved Matters Planning Application  19/01357/REM, which was submitted by Abbey Homes subsequent to the planning approval in April which was granted with a range of noise mitigating conditions including a Deed of Easement for the whole site in perpetuity.

The full report has been uploaded for further information

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE REPORT

The report acknowledges that the applicant has provided no information in relation to noise and the impact of The Stables on future residents.

The report acknowledges 875 letters of objection and the petition of 21,000 signatures submitted in opposition to the application.  It summarises these objections as:

Concern that building houses in this location will cause complaints from future occupants, which will lead to the closure of The Stables; and

Concern that this application contains no supporting information regarding noise and proposes no suitable noise mitigation, including a deed of easement.

However, the report fails to acknowledge or deal with the technical noise report submitted by The Stables (at our cost) which alerts the decision makers to the likely impact of noise on future residents.

The report has no comments from MK Council’s Environmental Health Officer ‘given the lack of information regarding noise’

MK Council’s Cultural Strategy is not referenced, nor are there any comments from the Culture Team. 

The report does not list The Stables as a Main Issue.

The report details the planning guidance in relation to Noise in paragraphs 7.25 to 7.32.  It states that:

 “The applicant has provided no noise assessment in support of this application and suggested no noise mitigation measures to address these concerns.  It is therefore not clear what noise impact there would be on future residents of these 79 houses, given that there would only be an open field between them and The Stables building.  However, it is clear that if this application were to be permitted and built as submitted, without the eastern half of the site coming forward, there would be none of the noise mitigation that had been previously secured for the site, with just an open field between The Stables and the closest future occupants.  In contrast the houses within Wavendon to the south of The Stables and the permitted houses to the north have trees (17/03283) and mature hedgerow forming some separation between them and The Stables.”

The report goes on to say “given that this proposal could come forward without the eastern half of the site, it is considered appropriate to reapply conditions to require the physical noise mitigation measures on the eastern boundary, on land within the applicant’s control to secure some acoustic mitigation and avoid the completely open field between the houses and The Stables.  The previously approved landform/earthworks and acoustic fence on the eastern boundary will therefore be secured by condition.

The report goes on to say that the previous mitigation including the buffer zone and glazing is not appropriate and that “It is considered inappropriate to reapply this condition as part of this application because there are at least 70 other existing or proposed houses that are closer to The Stables which are not subject to this requirement.  The noise mitigation secured above, and distance between The Stables and these proposed dwellings are sufficient to not require any further noise mitigation.”

The report goes on to recommend approval.

OUR RESPONSE TO THE REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS

This application is clearly a deliberate attempt by the developers to circumvent the previously imposed noise conditions including the deed of easement.

There is no evidence presented by the developer or Milton Keynes Council that proves there is no risk to noise impact from The Stables operations on the new residents.  In fact, the report does not even acknowledge the technical report submitted by The Stables that demonstrates there is a risk.

The assertion that 70 or so existing and planned homes will be closer to The Stables than those under consideration is no justification for omitting the deed of easement. It is important to note that distance is not the sole factor in our concerns over potential noise complaints. The ‘Agent of Change Principle’ has only featured in National Planning Policy since 2019, so the emphasis in planning decisions on protecting music venues, which the new area of deeds of easements support, was not in the planning arena when the previous applications were granted.

A deed of easement reduces the likelihood of private legal action by residents.  It is a positive way of informing all future residents that there is a music venue close by reducing the risk of future private noise complaints.  Allowing half of the Abbey Homes site to exist without a deed of easement increases risk.

Furthermore, nothing has changed since the Local Planning Authority made the decision to impose the deed of easement condition on the whole site in perpetuity because any risk was a risk too far.  Nothing has changed since April – that decision was made in full awareness of the 70 or so existing houses / other planned development. 

In short, if there is a risk and an opportunity to mitigate that risk, why ignore it?  The future of one of the UK’s best loved music venues and local community assets is at stake.

We trust that members of the Development Control Committee will understand this and will ensure that the deed of easement condition is imposed on this application, despite the recommendation of its Officers to the contrary. 

WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP?

If you are able to attend the meeting on 1 August at 7pm at the Civic Offices, 1 Saxon Gate, Milton Keynes, MK9 3EJ it really does help us to have your support in the room.  Click here for information on the committee and the agenda 

In the meantime, please do sign the online petition by following the link at the top of this page if you have not already done so.  You can still send comments or objections to Milton Keynes Council at the above offices for consideration by the Development Control Committee until Wednesday 31 July.


Planning Development Update: 27/06/19

Further to our last post about the planning application 19/01357/REM we wanted to say a huge ‘thank you’ to everyone who has so far written letters to Milton Keynes Council and signed the petition.

Today we submitted to the planning department  a copy of the petition with 20,977 signatories gathered online and on paper in the venue.

In addition, we have submitted letters alongside a letter from our solicitor that you can read here:

Letter of objection from The Stables

Letter of objection from our solicitor

The petition will remain active until the outcome of the application is resolved and we urge you to sign and share this if you would like your voice to be heard.

We really do value your support and trust that our collective voices will help secure the future of The Stables.

Jim Rice, Chair of Trustees

Monica Ferguson, Chief Executive & Artistic Director


Planning Development Update: 06/06/19

Background

Our last update reported that Milton Keynes Council had approved planning permission for Abbey Homes to develop up to 134 homes on the site West of the Stables, providing a deed of easement was entered into that enabled The Stables to continue to make noise.  The deed would provide a way of informing all new residents of the presence of the venue and prevent any residents bringing a private prosecution for damages or to stop The Stables operation. This was an excellent outcome and all of us were very grateful for the Council's foresight, ensuring the protection of The Stables.

Recent Events

We are saddened to report that since then, the developers have not taken up our invitation to discuss the details of the deed of easement with our solicitor. Instead they have submitted a new Reserved Matters application for 79  houses due to built on the western half of the development site. 

Milton Keynes Council have notified us they have no intention of writing to the 3000 plus complainants who supported our previous campaign and won the right for the application to be determined at Development Control Committee. 

After consulting with our solicitors and noise consultants, we have concluded that this latest application puts The Stables at even greater risk than previously.

Why this is a new and greater risk

The new Reserved Matters Application no 19/01357/REM makes no reference to the existence of The Stables nor the previous pre-commencement condition for a deed of easement.  The plans show nothing to suggest that any protection will be afforded to The Stables of any sort as there is no detail shown with regard to boundary treatments to prevent noise travelling through the site nor any noise monitoring assessment in relation to this part of the site.  It's as if the developers have ignored the need to protect The Stables and everything that the Council asked of them under the previous Reserved Matters approval.

If this Reserved Matters application were to be approved as it stands, the previous Reserved Matters approval with conditions relating to acoustic fencing, glazing treatments and the deed of easement falls away.  Instead, it would be replaced by this new Reserved Matters, without any protection for The Stables. This is of grave concern and we are therefore asking Milton Keynes Council to reject this application which appears to be nothing more than an attempt to undermine the decisions of the planning authority to protect The Stables.

How you can help

It is vitally important therefore that you send in comments on the proposed Reserved Matters application as a matter of great urgency.  All comments must be submitted to the Council by Thursday 27 June. Without your support there is every likelihood that this application may be rubber-stamped by officers instead of going through the proper scrutiny of elected councillors at the Development Control Committee.

Online comments: the Council recommends any comments are submitted by using the on-line ‘public access’ system via this link www.milton-keynes.gov.uk/publicaccess.  This ensures comments are received and published as soon as possible. If you haven't used the system before, you will need to register first. The quickest way to find the relevant application is to enter 19/01357/REM at the bottom of the Simple Search form.

By post: you can also submit comments in writing to Elizabeth Verdegem, Senior Planning Officer, Planning Service, Growth Economy and Culture, 1 Saxon Gate East, Central Milton Keynes, MK9 3EJ. There's a suggested objection letter below but feel free to compose your own - this will actually carry more weight! Ensure you include the case ref number: APPLICATION 19/01357/REM at the top of your letter along with your name and address as any letters received without these will not be considered. No signature is required. 

Please note Elizabeth has requested no emails to be sent as this takes up valuable officer time. If you wish to ask further questions of the planning team you can call them on 01908 691691, although your written comments, however they are submitted, are required to be taken into consideration by the Council.


Read The Full Story

To read the full story about the proposed housing development on our western boundary please visit our Planning Updates page