Aerial photo shows the shocking state of historic and once-glorious railway works in Milton Keynes

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An aerial photo has shown how the famous Wolverton railway works has been allowed to crumble away beyond repair.

The historic buildings where thousands of local people once worked are reduced to shells after years of no repair or upkeep.

A planning application to demolish the sheds for housing has now expired, while a battle by Historic England to save the site has ended in defeat.

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Meanwhile, with no plan in place for either their future or their preservation, the buildings are deteriorating by the day – despite the fact that they fall within the Wolverton Conservation Area, a designated heritage asset.

The historic Wolverton Works buildings are in a state of derelictionThe historic Wolverton Works buildings are in a state of dereliction
The historic Wolverton Works buildings are in a state of dereliction

The photo showing the state them was posted this week by Ben Clark on the popular Facebook site Milton Keynes Past and Present, and it has prompted almost 200 comments.

On reader summed up the public view by saying: “They should never have been allowed to get into this state. All of the men and women who worked in these buildings , including my dad and lots of our old neighbours would be so disappointed.

"Wolverton was so important to the history of our railway. Building and repairs, and of course the Royal Train.”

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The business was established in 1838, and by 1907 had become the largest railway building and repair works in Britain. Wolverton was one of the first ‘railway towns’ and most local families had at least one member working at ‘The Works’. Many had generations working there.

This photo of Wolverton Works was taken three years agoThis photo of Wolverton Works was taken three years ago
This photo of Wolverton Works was taken three years ago

After the business closed, developers St Modwen battled to obtain outline planning permission to bulldoze the works’ buildings build 375 new homes on the land surrounding the site.

But the developers made no move to put in a full planning application and by the end of December 2021, their outline permission had expired.

No fresh application has since been made but in the meantime St Modwen has sold out to for £1.27 billion to Blackstone Investments, an American fund manager.

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Wolverton Works expert Phil Marsh wrote for Heritage Railway magazine: "St Modwen shareholders’ shares were purchased, and so they lost the right to attend annual general meetings and ask Wolverton-related questions.”

Wolverton Works was the heart of the community in its heydayWolverton Works was the heart of the community in its heyday
Wolverton Works was the heart of the community in its heyday

There are now two new businesses working on the site, one a rail industry supply company and the other a local distribution company, said Phil.

He added: A local objector contacted Wolverton ward councillor and Milton Keynes Council leader Peter Marland, who responded that he and a fellow member had met St Modwen and were, in the main, “unimpressed and underwhelmed” with the lack of thinking on the site..

National Railway Museum curator Andrew McLean, in a document sent to council planners in 2016, outlined how the works was connected to some of the most significant figures in 19th-century Britain, including Robert Stephenson and Lord Wolverton, of Glyn’s Bank fame.

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“It is the place most closely connected to the Royal Train... A number of these carriages – among the most significant and influential rail vehicles in the world – are now in the National Collection based at the NRM. Wolverton played a significant role in building, maintaining, and repairing military vehicles in the Second World War,” he said.

“Taken together, the site presents significant evidential, historical, and communal value, all recognised core conservation principles. As an ensemble, the remaining Wolverton Works buildings are an incredibly important survival.”