Residents protest about new grid road being built inches away from their homes in Milton Keynes
Householders on an MK estate say they were never warned a grid road would be built on their doorstep.
The first residents of Grange Farm knew of plans to build an extension to the V2 road was when metal fences were put up 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 - something they were never warned about when they bought their houses.
"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.
Another said: "Developers have cut back trees on the bank behind our garden, and turned it into an unofficial path - meaning anyone walking along there can now see clearly into our gardens."
Residents claim MK Council have failed to engage with residents and the work will cause significant damage to the estate's much-loved green space - a reason many of them chose to live there.
The developer L&Q has apologised for the council not notifying the estate's local parish council the work was starting so they could warn residents.
They said: "Please accept my sincere apologies for what I believe is genuine human error in not notifying Shenley Grounds Parish of the imminent start of works along the V2 Grid Road Corridor."
But the new road has had outline planning permission since 2007 as part of the Whitehouse development and has been in discussion for nearly two decades.
"The road will be delivered in 2022. It will be a single carriageway with a 30 or 40 mile an hour speed limit. There will be better access for the (Hazeley Academy) school. Please rest assured that the works are fully compliant with any relevant legislation along with our obligations pursuant to the approved Outline and Reserved Matters planning consents," said L&Q.
They said Hazeley Wood would not be "disappearing" into the new road.
"The wood has been cordoned off for now so the newts can be removed and all the other ecological and archaeological work carried out safely... As part of the road building there has had to be lots of￼￼￼￼ woodland and hedges reinstated."
Householders are far from happy though, and have formed a Facebook page called Grange Farm Objections - V2 Grid Road Extension, where they are posting pictures of the devastated woodland.
"The work that's already started has caused significant damage to the green space - it is supposed to be for 'sensitive ecological work'. It is far from sensitive," said one.
Labour ward councillor Zoe Nolan has spent the day finding out what is happening. "I've had this checked. L& Q have permission to carry the current ecological and archeoligal works. They should have notified people - they got that wrong and they have apologised.
"There is no full application passed yet to build the road but outline permission was granted many years ago.. There is a full application expected in the next few months and technical drawings are currently being worked up by the developer.
"When that is received, I'm told there will be an eight week consultation period and I will make sure all residents are made aware so they can make their comments known."
Now local opposition Tories have jumped on the matter and are fiercely defending the residents, saying it’s "not clear" if all planning processes have been followed.
"Shenley Church End Parish Council were not informed while MK Highways gave residents the incorrect information that the road was proposed, rather than fact. It has since become clear that the developer failed to inform the correct parish council, meaning that Grange Farm residents were not informed, when they should have been," said Cllr Amanda Marlow, the Conservative’s Loughton and Shenley Ward Councillor.
She added: "Local residents are concerned not only about the loss of their green space. There is also unease that putting a new grid road where there isn’t yet a final plan that will show where a pedestrian crossing is located, or what the unspecified speed limit will be which could cause safety issues for the 1500 children that attend the nearby Hazeley Academy."
The Tories claim the new transport corridor also seals the fate of the protected Great Crested Newt, with the development destroying their local habitat at the start of their breeding season.
"Despite so-called attempts by the developer to be sensitive to the ecological work, the pictures show the significant damage and devastation to the green space," said Cllr Marlow.
She added: “I was extremely surprised to see the fencing going up in front of the woodland walk, and over the last week residents have been contacting both myself and the Shenley Church End Parish Council to find out what was going on. Residents quite rightly feel that there wasn’t any active Community Engagement about this.
“We will be trying to get better information for Grange Farm residents and to get to the bottom of exactly what on earth went wrong, as quite frankly, it shouldn’t have.”
The Highway infrastructure plan comprises a new access into Hazeley Academy, a new section of grid road heading northwards and a new roundabout just to the east of the North Bucks Way.
The roundabout will be futureproofed to facilitate a connection to Dansteed Way by others. There is a new redway proposed to the north of the new V2 Highway along with a pedestrian crossing to route students to and from the school. The new highway connects to Barrosa Way via an extension which will be constructed at the same time.
They developers say: "Ultimately, the highway brings about vastly improved connectivity for those in the Shenley Parish to the new facilities in Whitehouse. These include health centres, community use facilities, park spaces, sports pitches and schools."