We’ve been surprised and delighted at the public response to our planning application, with over 100 responses sent to the Council by its 31 January target date.
The responses have contained a balance of opposition and support and, while we accept that some people remain unhappy with some elements of the plans because of parking, tree loss and other factors, we’ve been heartened to read about your many reasons for supporting the scheme, including the quality of the design and the planned new shops.
We’ve tried to address people’s requests for a simpler explanation of the plans by making a short film, distributing summary leaflets to 1,700 homes closest to the site, and updating the FAQs section of the website. We hope these have been helpful.
If you haven’t commented on the application yet, it isn’t too late. Click here to find out how you can lend your support.
We’ve picked up a few additional queries from people who have been in touch directly or from comments made to Milton Keynes Council. We’ve answered these below and have added them to the FAQs.
Why not remove Block F at the east end of the site to allow some parking to be retained and more open views of the Church?
As we’ve explained from the outset, a certain amount of development has to be achieved for regeneration to be feasible, given the high cost of redeveloping this site.
Block F contains nine apartments and makes an important contribution to the overall scheme. Achieving this elsewhere on the site instead would require unwelcome and alien increases in height and massing that local people and statutory consultees have consistently told us are unacceptable. In urban design terms, leaving a small area of the car park undeveloped at the eastern end of the site would also make for a weak edge to the development and miss the opportunity to mark the beginning of Wolverton’s most important street with a four-storey building – as suggested by the Neighbourhood Plan.
In response to comments on previous designs, we’ve already reduced the massing of Block F, making it more clearly subservient to neighbouring listed buildings whilst ensuring it retains a scale appropriate to a ‘marker’ building.
Why not provide underground car parking?
Underground car parking is very costly to construct and would render redevelopment of the whole site unviable.
Could you amend the development to ensure that the trees on Buckingham Street are retained?
While one of the groups of plane trees on Buckingham Street will be retained and incorporated into a new pocket park, it is regrettable that the other group will be removed. The geometry of the western end of the site, the need to achieve a sufficient level of development for viability, and the requirement to ensure good urban design in line with the Agora Development Brief SPD, means that development blocks need to front onto the Square and the building line needs to continue along Buckingham Street, making it impossible to retain these trees without increases in height and massing elsewhere.
Marmalade Lane is referenced as an example of low-car ownership by TOWN, how successful has that been?
Marmalade Lane was built with one car parking space per dwelling and one per four dwellings for visitors. Much of the parking area provided is not used, and a planning application has now been submitted to allow the redeployment of some of the parking area for landscape, reducing the level of parking by 19%.
Will TOWN stay involved in the development after it’s built?
TOWN will remain involved in the development in a transitional capacity for at least a year after it is built. Further details will be given once planning permission is granted.
Why did the development grow from 105 homes to 115 homes since the Public Review?
The number of homes grew from 105 to 115 owing to the redesign of Block C from a mix of houses and flats to an all-flatted design to suit the requirements of Still Green Cohousing. The overall capacity of the development, and the number of residents expected to live there, is largely unchanged.
Will the site be derelict if TOWN are unable to rent the new homes or shops?
There is negligible risk of being unable to let the new homes or shops.
Why wasn’t I consulted on these plans?
Our Statement of Community Involvement describes our comprehensive programme of engagement and communications on the development. The Public Review held in 2019 was widely publicised – and attended by over 300 people – and the Love Wolverton website has regularly been updated with information, as well as providing a record of key events and documents and a facility to get in touch directly.
We recognise that people who are new to Wolverton in the past year missed the main consultation events, but the vast majority of local people have had good opportunities and have been involved in shaping the plans and their views have been invaluable in positively influencing the proposals.
We want to see more independent shops in Wolverton, can you make this happen?
We’re aiming to ensure the new shop units strengthen Wolverton’s independent retail offer. The units have been ‘soft’ marketed for some time and we remain open to expressions of interest. Further marketing will be undertaken once planning permission is granted with a view to agreeing pre-lets before construction is complete. In addition to a small convenience supermarket, discussions have taken or are taking place with a taproom operator, bike shop and workshop, butcher, and a number of restauranteurs and café operators.