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The Stables Needs Your Support

Tuesday 19 June 2018

Planning Development Update: 08/03/19

7 March 2019: Development Control Committee Outcome: Deferment 

The Development Control Committee of Milton Keynes Council met on 7 March 2019 to consider the planning application 18/01304/REM for 134 residential units to the West of The Stables in Wavendon, Milton Keynes.

At the start of the meeting, The Stables set out concerns with the recommended conditions, including the omission of window performance standards recommended for the whole scheme by the Council’s appointed acoustic consultants.  The Stables also reiterated its call for the Developer, Abbey Homes Limited to enter into a Deed of Easement for sound waves to be permitted over the adjoining land to ensure that all future residents were given sufficient robust notice of the rights of the neighbouring music venue to continue its existing level of operation.

Whilst not a planning matter, the Deed of Easement is a legal instrument which has been applied in several high profile cases including The Ministry of Sound and The George Tavern in London.

The Stables welcomed the range of measures which had been agreed as noise mitigation for the scheme including the introduction of a 30m buffer zone, acoustic fence and some remodelling of the scheme.  However, there remains a residual risk that the proposed measures will not work. 

There is a risk that a future resident complains to the Environmental Health Officer on the grounds that a statutory nuisance is ocurring.  The EHO has the power to take action if the noise “unreasonably and substantially interferes with the use and enjoyment of a home or other premises...”.  If upheld, the Council could take abatement action including a restriction of operating hours or requiring the venue to make suitable further noise adjustments to its site to prevent future disturbance.  For this reason robust mitigation measures are required as conditions – helping to reduce this risk, but with no guarantee they will be 100% successful.

A second risk is that one of the residents of the scheme seeks to claim that a private nuisance is occurring and claims either an injunction or damages.  The simplest way to ensure such a claim can’t succeed is for the Developer to enter into a Deed of Easement which would effectively allow The Stables to continue to create noise on its land in the normal course of its business.  Any future occupier buying a property in the Development would be made aware of this deed from the outset and go into the transaction with their eyes open.   

For clarity, the Deed of Easement is not a planning matter and can only be agreed between The Stables and the Developer.  To date, the Developer has not agreed to The Stables proposal to enter into such a deed. 

This places even greater emphasis on the need for high specification windows throughout the scheme. The Council omitted this from its condititions and noted it would appear as an informative for the Developer. This is a material matter as it means the specification is purely advisory and the Developer may opt not to install the higher specification windows.  Secondly, as it was not imposed as a condition, even if the Developer opted for these higher specification windows, it gives residents the option to replace windows in the future without putting adequate insulating windows into the property, thereby creating a risk that the noise insulating properties of the scheme will be degraded over time.  This creates further risk to The Stables operation over a longer period.

Accordingly the Development Control Committee determined that the decision should be deferred until its June meeting to allow time for the parties to agree further measures to mitigate the risk to The Stables and safeguard the residential amenity of future residents.  

We are grateful to the Committee for allowing more time to pursue these important discussions and to all those who continue to support our efforts to safeguard The Stables future.

Planning Development Update: 05/03/19

We have submitted the attached letter today (Tuesday 5 March) in response to Milton Keynes Council's final report and recommendations (also attached below) on the plans for the development to the west of The Stables site. 

We are meeting with the Council's planning officer on 6 March so there may be a further update, but until there are amendments to the report and conditions, we have no option but to set out our residual concerns in writing in the hope that they may yet be resolved in advance of the Development Control Committee meeting to be held on Thursday 7 March. This meeting will begin at 7pm at the Civic Offices, 1 Saxon Gate East, Central Milton Keynes, MK9 3EJ. Anyone can attend this meeting and would be welcome in the public gallery.

Planning Development Update: 25/01/19

Following the update posted on 20 December 2018 with regard to the application for housing development by Abbey Development on the Western boundary of The Stables we wanted to update everyone on further discussions and the time frame for the planning application decision.

We are advised that the date for the development control committee meeting is now likely to be Thursday 7 March 2019.  This has been moved from the original date of 6 February to allow time for further discussion and exploration of amendments to the scheme.  Once new information / documents are available to view we will pass on relevant information, however our focus has been to request that:

  1. the landscaping to the boundary area provides the maximum screening and noise retention through natural planting and sculpting of the landscape to retain the rural nature of the buffer zone (This may require the relocation of the Local Equipped Area of Play (LEAP) to another part of the scheme or the provision of access for the LEAP planned to the North of The Stables in a ‘joined-up approach’ which will be explored.)
  2. the location of the residual block of flats is moved or the height of the development is reduced (The developers have agreed to produce a cross-section of the development to assess the visual impact from The Stables site.  Their suggested response to this concern is to provide opaque windows / reduce the number of windows on the top floor of the flats overlooking The Stables site.)
  3. the development uses fixed closed windows to a recommended specification where required to mitigate any potential noise nuisance from The Stables into residential premises extending beyond the front line of the development if necessary (Milton Keynes Council will consider this in light of their consultant’s report and review how the planning condition can be worded to ensure this.)
  4. the planning conditions adequately state the requirements and that future changes to the specifications will be subject to planning approval (Milton Keynes Council will provide The Stables with a draft of the planning conditions for our legal team to review.)
  5. the Stables will not be held accountable if the noise mitigation measures approved by Milton Keynes Council do not adequately protect the residents of the development and in the light of no agreed noise monitoring policy (Milton Keynes Council will seek a further meeting with Environmental Health to explore what further reassurances can be given.)

Planning Development Update: 20/12/18

Below you will find an 'executive summary' of the current position - for a more detailed review please download the following document (we have also attached copies of MK Council's Noise Policy Statement and Noise Investigation Procedure for reference): 

Executive Summary

Following the application for housing development by Abbey Development on the Western boundary of The Stables site earlier this year, The Stables was grateful for the overwhelming level of support shown by our customers, artists and stakeholders with more than 3000 letters of objection received by Milton Keynes Council.

Since that time, The Stables has worked with Milton Keynes Council and the developers to encourage a revision to the plans that would ensure our activities are not compromised in the future.  The Stables has enjoyed 48 years of successful operation in line with its Premises Licence and is keen to ensure that it is not subject to restrictive licensing conditions that may be imposed subsequent to housing development on our border.

We are grateful to the developers for their efforts to improve the noise separation from The Stables to the proposed housing develoment, and had hoped that all of our concerns would have been resolved before the next round of public consultation. 

The developers have now submitted revised plans and Milton Keynes Council has sent out notification of the amended proposal for comment with a deadline of the 26th December 2018 (Boxing Day)Unfortunately, despite many improvements to the scheme, we still have a number of residual concerns – mostly relating to noise monitoring – that we hope can be addressed early in the New Year and before the Council’s Development Control Committee / Panel meet on the 6th February 2019.

Milton Keynes Council has advised that documents can be viewed on their planning portal, however we have found it very difficult to access the documents on the portal and accordingly, we are making public the key documents which have have been sent (available to view in the downloadable document at the top of this page).  We would advise however, that if you can access the portal to view the documents, please do so via  The Reference is 18/01304/REM. 

We agree with Milton Keynes Council that we have made significant progress thanks to the positive engagement by all of us.  We note that the council has offered more clarity and detail around the buffer zone and has also made reference to the potential for a high acoustic screening fence.  They have agreed to share further details of the wording of conditions which we hope will provide further reassurance.  We also require a clear statement of policy regarding the noise monitoring processes that will be used in the case of any challenges to our Premises Licence.

We will update this information if we have any further news on the matter prior to the Development Control Committee meeting on 6 February.  We understand comments can be made to Milton Keynes Council at any point before the meeting, however we are acutely aware that the public consultation letters that have been sent out contain a deadline of 26 December 2018 (Boxing Day).  The Development Control Committee meeting is a public meeting and interested parties are invited to attend.

We continue to urge Milton Keynes Council to work with the developers to ensure that the future of The Stables is protected by ensuring that future residents will co-exist with The Stables without fear of noise nuisance and that The Stables will not be subjected to noise conditions in the future that it cannot meet because the planning process failed to address our residual concerns.

To register your comments

Any comments must be made in writing to the Council by 26 December and should include your name and postal address in any e-mails or letters as anonymous comments cannot be taken into account.  Any comments received will be published on the Council’s website.

To register your comments please visit MK Council's planning application site – if you haven’t done so already you will need to register.

Alternatively please email your comments to FAO Chenge Taruvinga (the case officer at MK Council) and quoting Application 18/01304/REM 

Your continued support is much appreciated. 

with  best wishes for the Festive Season

Jim Rice (Chair) & Monica Ferguson (Chief Executive & Artistic Director)

Planning Development Update: 20/8/18

We want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has taken the time to submit comments to Milton Keynes Council on the proposed housing development by Abbey Development on the Western boundary of The Stables site.

We have taken a great deal of comfort from thousands of letters of objection and the petitions which have been drafted, signed and submitted by audiences, artists, volunteers and other supporters.

The collective outcry at the proposals has been the basis for detailed discussions with Milton Keynes Council.  Although there is still much to resolve, and no certainty of the outcome as yet, we remain committed to working with the council and the developer to find a solution that protects the future of The Stables.

We do hope that the meetings will result in revisions to the Design Code and the Reserved Matters planning application which have been submitted by the Developers.  In particular we are keen to see a) a landscaped green buffer with earth mounding and native trees which can provide a dense green barrier, b) a reduction in the height of properties facing the site and c) designs which ensure that sleeping / living areas face away from The Stables. 

We are advised that the time taken to revisit these submissions is likely to result in a delay to the Development Control Committee meeting (originally planned for September) where the final decision will be made, with the most likely scenario being a meeting in November or December. We will update this advice as soon as we have more information.

There is still time to make your voice heard!

Anyone who wishes to view and comment on the Reserved Matters Application and the Design Code can access these on the Milton Keynes Council Planning Portal: 

Please use the Planning Reference: 18/01304/REM for the Reserved Matters application and 18/01631/CONS for the proposed Design Code in the search bar. You can continue to submit comments until the Development Control Committee meets.
Please ensure that any comments to Milton Keynes Council include your name and postal address as anonymous comments cannot be taken into account.  Any comments received will be published on the Council’s website.

Update: 20/6/2018 There is more time to submit your objection

As a result of the tremendous response we have received to date to our request for support in opposing the planned housing development, we have been informed that the matter will now be taken to a full Planning Committee meeting at MK Council. The date of this meeting is still to be confirmed - this could be up to 6 weeks away - but it does mean there is MORE time to log your objection to the proposed scheme. Please do not delay in submitting this so that your objection can be 'officially' logged.  As and when we have news of the meeting date and time we will  update our website and social media channels. 

*** IMPORTANT - please do NOT email any more messages to Case Officer at MK Council - his Inbox has been overwhelmed and cannot cope with any more messages! 

You can put comments in writing (using one of the template letters at the bottom of this page, or one of your own) to the Council at the following address: Jeremy Lee, Senior Planning Officer, Milton Keynes Council, Civic Offices, 1 Saxon Gate East, Milton Keynes, MK9 3EJ 

Please note you MUST quote Planning Reference: 18/01304/REM.  

Alternatively, you can submit your comments via Use the above reference number in the Search bar.

Please include your name and postal address in any emails or letters as anonymous comments cannot be taken into account. Any comments received will be published on the Council’s website. 

Thank you again for your amazing support!

18/6/2018: A letter from Monica Ferguson, Chief Executive & Artistic Director, The Stables 


As a valued customer/supporter of The Stables I am writing to alert you to a concerning development which threatens the future viability of The Stables and its learning and participation activity.

For several years, The Stables has been trying to work with Milton Keynes Council to protect the environment around the site from encroaching development that may threaten our future viability.

I am sad to report that we have already lost the battle to retain a green buffer on the North side of the venue and the new housing development planned by Crest Nicholson on this site includes the provision of two permanent play parks on the field, previously used for our National Youth Music Camps, held every Summer since 1970.

Now we are faced with an even greater threat from development to the West of the Venue with a housing scheme planned by Abbey Developments that will see three-storey flats built directly opposite The Stables, overlooking the main entrance if it is allowed to proceed (you can download a copy of the plans below).

The implications of this for us are significant. Many of you may be aware of the news of music venues across the country being forced to close because housing developers have moved in to build adjacent to venues and then residents have subsequently complained about noise and nuisance. When this happens licensing constraints are put on the venues often making the operation unsustainable.

We anticipate future concerns would arise around the noise of vehicles coming to and from the site late into the evening, noise from the bands bleeding out of the two performance spaces and noise from any music making activity which we do with young people around the site during Summer months.

If any of the residents moving in to property just 12 metres from our boundary consider these to be a nuisance, you can only imagine the licensing constraints which will be applied simply making it impossible to continue both our extensive concert programme and our learning and participation programme on this site.

So, I am writing to ask you to join our campaign to make some noise and ensure Milton Keynes Council listen to our concerns.  Please write with your concerns in your own words, or using the relevant template letter which you can download at the bottom of this page.

You can put comments in writing to the Council at the following address: Jeremy Lee, Senior Planning Officer, Milton Keynes Council, Civic Offices, 1 Saxon Gate East, Milton Keynes, MK9 3EJ 

Please note you MUST quote Planning Reference: 18/01304/REM.  

Alternatively, you can submit your comments via Use the above reference number in the Search bar.

Please include your name and postal address in any emails or letters as anonymous comments cannot be taken into account. Any comments received will be published on the Council’s website. 

Thank you for your help!

Best wishes

Monica R. Ferguson Chief Executive & Artistic Director