Plans to build more homes in the heart of a town will cause parking chaos, say protestors in Milton Keynes

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A development aiming to deprioritise cars is causing controversy in an historic MK town.

The 'Love Wolverton' project aims to demolish the Agora Centre in Wolverton and build 115 new homes complete with shops and community space.

But some residents are definitely not feeling the love for the project - because it will also remove the town's only public car park, which currently has 120 spaces.

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And to make matters worse, they say the proposed development is lacking in parking spaces for the new residents, and this will create an even bigger parking overflow.

Artists' impression of the Love Wolvetton schemeArtists' impression of the Love Wolvetton scheme
Artists' impression of the Love Wolvetton scheme

The developer leading the Love Wolverton project, Town, plans to supply 88 parking spaces to serve the 115 homes. In their planning application, which is due to be considered shortly by MK Council, they say they will incorporate a bike share scheme to encourage the new householders to use bicycles instead of cars.

Their Architects URBED say the scheme will "prioritise play and nature over cars" and its car free streets and shared courtyard gardens could be a shining example of a pleasant a safe place to live.

But critics complain such a scheme is out of place in Wolverton, where parking is at a premium because most of the Victorian houses have no driveways and have to vie for spaces on the streets.

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One protestor used MK Council's own planning guide to calculate the ideal parking provision for the 115 proposed dwellings, which range from from one-bedroom apartments to four-bedroom terraced houses.

Artists' impression of the proposed developmentArtists' impression of the proposed development
Artists' impression of the proposed development

The guide recommends there should be around 185 spaces, she claims. But the Love Wolverton developers plan to supply 88 spaces.

"Only 80 of these are available to residents for parking as it includes eight electric spaces for charging only...

This is a deficit of 105 spaces," said the critic.

She added: "The development fails to meet the minimum required parking provision and will need to provide more parking spaces and/or reduce the number of homes. The impact to the local community will be that the overspill will park on the adjoining streets and there isn’t capacity to absorb this.

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Protestors say the parking problem is already so great that cars are frequently parked in the town's back alleys and blocking access, or on double yellow lines or on pavements of some residential streets.

One said: "I would truly love to believe that we can incentivise people to use less cars and that it would be successful but removing car parking altogether from the outset is not incentivising, there is no choice there and if the scheme fails Wolverton is left with a housing development that won’t meet its tenants or community’s needs."

Love Wolverton say many of the homes will be rented and research shows more people renting properties do not have cars. The bike share scheme, couple with Wolverton's public transport links, will further negate the need for cars, they state.

The Love Wolverton website describes the development as a "new sustainable mobility hub, with improved bus-stopping facilities, better cycle links towards Wolverton railway station, and on-site bike hire and electric car club facilities available to all local residents, alongside permit-controlled car parking."

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It will be a safe environment for children’s play and "neighbourly living" and a place that enables more sustainable ways of living, with exceptional access to local facilities, a wide mix of transport choices, and on-site renewable energy production, it states.

The Love Wolverton planning application, which includes a 76 page long parking assessment, is due to be considered shortly by Milton Keynes Council. Public comment is welcome up until January 31, and can be made hereor emailed to [email protected] .

You can view more details about the Love Wolverton plan here .

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