Church parapet in Milton Keynes found to be ‘leaning badly’ after stone falls out

An investigation was launched after a ‘substantial’ block of stone fell out of an historic Milton Keynes church’s crumbling tower.

The investigation at St Michaels Church, near the Open University at Walton Hall was carried out by Shaun Collins, of Northamptonshire stonemasons Boden and Ward.

St Michael's Church, Walton

St Michael's Church, Walton

He found that one of the parapets on the 15m tall tower was leaning badly and the stone was eroded in many places.

Now the Open University has been granted consent by Milton Keynes Council to carry out work at the Grade II* listed building. It was built in around 1340 on the site of a much older church.

The church, the hall, and a handful of other dwellings are all that remain of the former village of Walton, says a report to the council by planning agent Prosper, of Eversholt.

Prosper says that The Open University took over the lease of the building in 1970 and it is now used for musical recitals and a range of OU club activities. In 1975, the church was deconsecrated, however, the eastern half of the churchyard containing graves remains sacred ground.

The university refurbished the building around 1977, installing a gallery with store rooms below, in the base of the tower.

But now it seems that the walls have weathered to such an extent that the thickness of the stone has been reduced, and is undercutting the crenellated upper parts of the walls.

Other planning decisions made by Milton Keynes Council include:

Notification of a proposed installation of a telementry kiosk. STREET RECORD Redway Wo06 Wolverton. Application not proceeded with.

Notification of intention to dismantle the large Wellingtonia’s (ID# 1,2 and 3) and Eucalyptus (ID# 4).Prune Apple (ID# 6), reduce whole tree height and spread by 20 per cent to produce a smaller compact size by pruning limbs back to suitable secondary growth points. Ivy House, 31 High Street, North Crawley, Newport Pagnell, MK16 9HN. No objections.

Demolition of existing walling and metal entrance gates and replacement with new brick piers, walling, sliding timber gate and fence panels. The Manor Barn, 1 Great Pasture, Milton Keynes Village, Milton Keynes, MK10 9BZ. Permitted.

Sub-Division of 78 Kenilworth Drive resulting in two independent dwellings – 3 bed and 1 bed. 78 Kenilworth Drive, Bletchley, Milton Keynes, MK3 6AQ. Permitted.

Details submitted pursuant to discharge of condition 3 (Schedule of Materials) attached to planning permission 18/01356/FUL. Milton Keynes Art Gallery, 900 Midsummer Boulevard, Central Milton Keynes, Milton Keynes, MK9 3QA. Conditions discharged.

Listed building consent for change of use from residential (C3) to guest house (C1). School House, Old Wolverton Road, Old Wolverton, Milton Keynes, MK12 5NH. Permitted.

Demolition of barns and rebuilding to create 2 dwellings. Manor Farm, Newport Road, Hardmead, Newport Pagnell, MK16 9JR. Permitted.

Advertisement consent for the replacement signage to new corporate Branding, Halo Illuminated built up letters set off fascia panel. 578 – 580 Silbury Boulevard, Central Milton Keynes, Milton Keynes, MK9 3AF. Permitted.

New patio slabs, posts with festoon lighting, pergola, section of fencing, booth with seating and heat lamps, fixed seating bay, neon sign, signwriting to boundary wall, external decorations and relocated private yard gates. The Eight Belles, 28 Buckingham Road, Bletchley, Milton Keynes, MK3 5HL. Permitted.

Part retrospective application for the change of use from agricultural land to dog kennels (retrospective) and use of land as a site for a temporary rural workers dwelling including associated works to the existing access, and the construction of a turning head and car parking. Site At Walkers Bridge Field, Lavendon Road, Olney. Permitted.

Listed building consent for the refurbishment and fit out of existing empty retail unit in a shopping centre to provide accommodation for a travel agents. 19 Eagle Walk, Central Milton Keynes, Milton Keynes, MK9 3AJ. Permitted.

Details submitted pursuant to the discharge of conditions 7 (hard and soft landscape works) and 8 (existing trees) attached to planning permission 18/01239/FUL. Land At Corner of Lavendon Road And Warrington Road, Olney. Conditions discharged.

Demolish outbuildings and garage and erect a new bungalow in the garden, retaining the existing dwelling. 54 Hartwell Road, Hanslope, Milton Keynes, MK19 7BZ. Permitted.

External works including insertion of windows and doors; removal of some windows and doors and roof replacement. Desmond J Smail, 15 East Street, Olney, MK46 4DH. Permitted.

Reserved matters application for the appearance of 49 plots with associated amendments to prior approved parking; landscaping and boundary treatment plans following grant of planning permission 15/02768/OUT. Site South East of Elmswell Gate, Towergate, Milton Keynes. Permitted.

Notification of intention to reduce crown of three Yew trees (T1-3) by 2m in height and 4m in width (2m per side); and to remove one dead Silver Birch tree to ground level. Friends Meeting House, Hardwick Road, Woburn Sands, Milton Keynes, MK17 8QH. Permitted.

Erection of two dwellings with associated parking and landscaping. Wavendon Manor, 18 Cross End, Wavendon, Milton Keynes, MK17 8AQ. Permitted.