Applicant gearing up for battle over Milton Keynes flats plan

A developer who wants to demolish a former pub manager’s home and replace it with a block of eight flats even though it is against council planners’ initial advice has gone ahead and lodged a planning application.

The home sits behind the closed Netherfield Tavern at the local centre in Farthing Grove, and Wildview Ltd want to use the disused home and pub garden to provide new housing.

MK Council

MK Council

Samuel Dix, principal planner at Wildview’s agent, Smith Jenkins, says there are good policy reasons for the council to change its mind.

They have looked at the council’s preferred option of putting flats above the shops but say “the current buildings are unlikely to be able to structurally support the addition of upper floors and extensions.”

They add that Plan:MK and the neighbourhood plan say different things about the site, with Plan:MK saying it is a “development parcel adjoining the local centre, rather than being part of the centre itself.”

And Mr Dix points out that Wildview is acting after receiving “frequent feedback” from commercial tenants that their staff struggle to find appropriate local housing.

“It is therefore extremely likely that the prospective occupiers of the dwellings will be working either at the local centre or at other nearby locations,” he adds.

And they also do not agree that the character of Netherfield is something that should be “rigidly adhered to”, saying that the large amount of green space in the area “mitigates the impacts of any in-fill development within it.”

In conclusion he says it represents an opportunity to provide low-cost windfall housing that will be deliverable and provide a boost to the council’s marginal housing land supply.

“Other benefits of the development include enhancing the vibrancy and natural surveillance of Netherfield Local Centre and setting an exemplar of how new development can regenerate the wider grid square in accordance with the council’s own regeneration program.”

No separate parking has been proposed for the flats, but the local centre’s owners say residents could be given some of the 110 underused spaces in the local centre’s car park. It is controlled by automatic number plate recognition.

The application is open for public comment on MK Council’s planning portal.