Destruction of part of ancient hedgerow in Milton Keynes may be unavoidable, meeting told

One-third of an ancient hedgerow could be destroyed if housebuilders can’t find a new way of laying out new homes on a city development site, a meeting heard.

Tuesday, 5th November 2019, 5:47 pm
The development site, with the ancient hedgerow running across the top

The issue was raised at a meeting on Monday where parish councillors and city design watchdogs took the chance to grill developers Taylor Wimpey over their early-stage plans for 73 new houses off Daubeney Gate, in Shenley Church End.

The 2.59-hectare site is held by the Milton Keynes Development Partnership, which is a council-owned company that is tasked with making a profit out of MK Council-owned public land.

Mike LeRoy, of the Milton Keynes Forum, told the Milton Keynes Development Review Forum that one-third of the hedgerow would be lost.

The forum, which gives developers the chance to consult with residents before any official planning applications are lodged, was told that Taylor Wimpey was drawing up a “biodiversity” plan which would replace wildlife provision.

But Mr LeRoy responded: “This is an ancient hedgerow, you can’t just replicate biodiversity. This is an asset to the site.”

And Cllr Amanda Marlow (Cons, Loughton & Shenley) said the loss would be “quite depressing” and asked the developers to consider minimising the loss of hedgerow.

Taylor Wimpey representatives said they would go back and consider again but because of the shape of the site, there may have to be a similar loss of hedgerow.

Houses cannot be built on the hedgerow because it is part of the route of the site’s drainage, but it can be covered over by a road, or parking, the meeting was told.

The meeting also heard concerns from local residents that the site is prone to flooding. The developers said they recognised that and their engineers were confident of finding a solution.

The issue of a perceived lack of parking in Daubeney Gate was also raised, with residents saying there was hardly enough room for two buses to pass each other. This is made worse by on-street parking, they said.

The meeting was told that plenty of parking spaces would be provided on the new site, to make sure residents had enough space for their cars.

The developers are working on the plans which will be lodged as a planning application with MK Council at some stage in the future. This will then be opened for publication before a decision is made on accepting the proposals, or rejecting them.