Plans for a national badminton centre to be built next to The Bowl look set to be given the green light next Monday.
In a rare move, council officers are recommending planning permission is granted for Badminton England’s two part scheme – despite the fact that one part contravenes several planning regulations.
It will also cost the council millions in lost Section 106 revenue – money it should receive towards providing affordable housing.
But officers are confident the financial benefit of having a world standard badminton centre will more than outweigh the planning losses.
Crucial to the plan’s success was cash generated by a proposed development of 104 quality houses on Badminton’s England’s current site at Loughton.
This land is owned by the council, designated as recreational open space and within the linear park and wildlife corridor.
Officers admit the housing bid would probably be refused if it were a standalone application.
But as an ‘enabling’ method to secure the new centre – on land also owned by the council – and to retain Badminton England in Milton Keynes, it is virtually guaranteed approval.
The officers’ report states the application, “clearly meets the council’s aspirations to establish Milton Keynes as an international sporting city”.
Councillors at Monday’s development control meeting will consider a petition from 184 objectors, who are furious at the loss of public land and money.
Head of Badminton England Adrian Christie has promised to make the city proud if the National Badminton Centre is built.
“We will produce Olmpians and bring world medal success to Milton Keynes,” he told the Citizen.
Mr Christie also revealed Badminton England had three other offers from towns desperate to host the new centre.
“We wanted to stay in Milton Keynes. We know this is the right place for us,” he said.
The new centre will have 17 badminton courts, six tennis courts, a fitness cente and swimming pool.