Badminton centre hits housing row

The National Badmington Centre in Loughton
The National Badmington Centre in Loughton

A £12 million ‘enabling’ plan to entice Badminton England to stay in Milton Keynes has hit a wall of opposition.

The plan involves winning planning permission to build more than 100 houses on the National Badminton Centre’s current site at Loughton.

The money generated would help fund a new £25 million badminton centre at the council’s National Bowl.

It is feared Badminton England would take up offers to move elsewhere in the country if the scheme does not get planning consent on April 29.

But protesters, including Loughton Parish Council, have slammed the plan as unnecessary and unfair.

Some 70 per cent of the proposed 10 acre housing development will be on land owned by Milton Keynes Council on the outskirts of Loughton linear park, currently leased to the Parks Trust on a 99 year lease.

“We are losing parkland, helping the badminton centre make millions but gaining nothing,” said one objector.

But ward councillor, Andy Dransfield, said : “All the city is losing is scrubland at the side of a busy road. We are gaining the prestige of enabling Badminton England to stay in Milton Keynes.”

A spokesman for Milton Keynes Council said the application is one of a number of proposals being looked at as part of the re-development of the Bowl and associated sites.

He added: “It is hoped that this application will be heard at a special meeting of the Development Control Committee on April 29.

“Members will make their decision on the application at the meeting, taking into account all of the facts available to them.”