Petition launched to stop new grid road being built close to homes and 'ripping up' woodlands in Milton Keynes
Residents who bought homes overlooking countryside were not warned a grid road would be built outside their gardens, it has been claimed.
Labour Cabinet member and councillor Zoe Nolan has this week confirmed MK Council's legal department is investigating the alleged lack of information to buyers on the Grange Farm estate.
Residents say the local searches they paid for as part of the conveyancing process did not show there were plans to build the V2 extension.
In fact, the road has been planned for decades an outline planning permission was granted in 2007 as part of the Whitehouse development in the Western Expansion Area of MK.
Grange Farm residents say the first they knew of it was when when metal fences were put up earlier this month and diggers started ploughing up woodland bordering the estate.
Families living in Moorland Drive and Garwood Crescent say the road will be right next to their garden fences.
"The local searches did not bring up anything about this. We currently look out of beautiful woodland - now it will be ruined," said one resident.
Cllr Nolan has now asked any house buyers who had a local search completed to email it to the council at [email protected] .
"The head of legal has assured me this is being investigated," she said.
Many residents are distressed to see their scenic woodland ruined by diggers preparing the site for the new road, which will run from Hazeley Roundabout to Whitehouse.
"They are ripping it up with no thought for the environment," said one.
Developers L & Q have given their "sincere apologies" for the lack of notice, but say the works are fully compliant with with both planning and wildlife preservation legislation. They are currently redirecting the wood's population of Great Crested Newts, which are a protected species.
Residents have put up signs of protest around the area and one householder has launched a petition, which has already gathered more than 700 signatures.
The peition states: "Hazeley Woods is being party demolished..T his work has been started with NO notification to local residents and no signage to prepare them for it.
"No plans have ever been made known to anyone who has brought a property in the area in solicitors' searches. Many people, residents and locals use these access points and have done for over 20 years to access Greenland and the Bucks Walk Way for exercise, dog walking, rambling and general peace and quiet.2
It adds: "This is devastating for our area, especially during lockdown when many local people have used this area. This is also devastating for us as homeowners to have this 20 metres away from our properties front and rear. The noise, pollution and general volume of traffic should not be allowed this close to a school and a residential area. The new grid road will run along the back of Garwood Drive onto residents' back gardens. The noise will be awful and the road will ruin the outlook that they have.
"All of these plans have been put in motion without giving advance warning to anyone, a clerical error. Residents should not have to go looking every week for any new notices or planning that MK Council sign off on - we should be notified of work that is in the planning for something that will be metres away from our properties."
Residents are also worried the new road will be dangerous for the 1,5000 pupils going to and from the Hazeley Academy school.
"This area is extremely busy and dangerous already at school drop off and pick up times. Accidents are waiting to happen with drop offs on the roundabouts, parking on the grass verges with no due care to the surroundings. The sheer volume of traffic is very dangerous. We do not need to add a travel corridor to this area without considering all of the above," it states,
"The developers 'propose' to build in a Pelican Crossing to access the School but this will not be fixed straight away, it could be years later and these crossings are not a fast way for children to get to school on time."
The petition will be handed to MK Council and the developers. You can view it here .
Because the scheme already has outline planning permission, it would be virtually impossible to stop the actual road being built. However, residents can be given some say over the final details, which will be submitted in a full planning application later this year. There will be a four week consultation period before this happened,
Cllr Nolan said: "This final application will not be to approve the principle of the road. I have been challenging hard on that and the lack of previous consultation and communication with Grange Farm residents but all my investigations have not shown any way the decision to extend the V2 can be reversed. I believe the last opportunity to do this was back in 2011."
She told residents: "What is to be consulted on is issues which include aspects about the road such as speed limits and crossings but not whether it should be built. I know this is not what you want to hear and is incredibly frustrating to say the least but I do not want to mislead you about what I understand is the present position."
Meanwhile local Conservative councillors Amanda Marlow and Daniel Gilbert are asking that all works be halted by the developer before the four week consultation happens.
"We are calling for the brakes to be put on the V2 extension while procedures are followed and we fully identify exactly what’s gone wrong," they said,
"Given the huge implications of this construction work, we think there should be a full Grange Farm wide consultation so each local resident understands what’s going on and can ask questions."
Finally the Tory councillors are asking for a full apology from Milton Keynes Council and the developer for "the way they have both acted towards local residents".