‘Don’t put the homeless bus near us’ say Milton Keynes plan objectors

Plans for a new temporary base for a bus that helps homeless people get back on their feet is facing determined opposition from a town council, residents and borough councillors.

Tuesday, 26th November 2019, 10:48 am

The Bus Shelter MK uses a bus to provide a home for people in Milton Keynes but it needs to find a new place for its accommodation, which includes a kennel for pets and a smoking shelter.

Campbell Park and Old Woughton councillor, Paul Trendall (Lib Dem), says in his submission to the planners: “We are seeking the rejection of this application, so that a more suitable location can be found.

“This project, whilst noble in its aims, should not have reached this stage without consultation with the residents, and that they have been ignored throughout this process in the hope that the application can go through without their input.”

The Bus Shelter MK project was launched in 2017

Now, a meeting of MK Council’s development control committee on Thursday, December 5, is set to decide whether the bus will be allowed to use 12 parking spaces at a free car park in Avebury Boulevard, near Campbell Park.

Furious residents and three ward councillors have raised objections, including two members of the development control committee who are not supposed to come to a conclusion before a decision is made.

Central MK Town Council has objected to noise and smells from a dog kennel proposed for residents’ pets and a smoking area.

David Brock, who chairs Campbell Heights Management Company, says there will be “unacceptable levels of noise and air pollution and reduce the quality of daily life for our residents.”

A dismayed Pam Williams, who chairs the Bus Shelter MK charity, says the bus is having to move from Colgrain Street because of housing development in North Campbell Park.

She said: “We have not been approached by the people objecting to this planning application for information about our well respected charity and its work.

“We are disappointed with their comments, which seem to be stereotyping homeless people as troublemakers and are not based on the reality of how our service works.

“We observed potential illegal activity on the proposed site when visiting and in recent weeks there has been a freezer dumped there, so we believe we will actually improve the condition of the site for local residents.”

Since being based at the Colgrain Street site since March 2018 the bus has provided one-to-one support for 48 people who would otherwise have no option but to sleep on the streets. They help eight people at any one time.

Their clients have included a former F1 racing engineer and a former bank manager, and Pam adds: “We have reason to believe our service has saved lives.

“We have kennels so that a place for a much loved pet is not a barrier to someone accepting help, but to date these facilities have been rarely used.”

The Bus Shelter MK is supported by a local volunteers.