New McDonald's and Costa Coffee drive-throughs coming to a car park in Milton Keynes

A burger restaurant and a coffee shop have been approved for a car park near a school campus despite fears over children’s health.

Monday, 27th January 2020, 12:25 pm
Updated Monday, 27th January 2020, 12:26 pm

Council planners have used their delegated powers to give the go-ahead for a new McDonald’s restaurant and a Costa Coffee on land at the corner of Monks Way, Breckland, in Linford Wood.

The site is 250 metres as the crow flies from Stantonbury Campus, which goes against a council policy to ban hot food takeaways closer than 400m to schools.

But they have now measured the distance along the redways and conclude that it is in fact 700m walking distance away.

The site is off Monks Way

A member of the public had objected to the plan, saying it would be “Bad for the health of our school students, bad for littering in Linford Wood, and the loss of a car park well used by runners of Linford Wood parkrun on a Saturday morning.

“The last thing Milton Keynes needs are more chain food and drink outlets! The nearby, independent Ora Cafe will also likely suffer as a result of these mega-brands appearing nearby. This plan was thrown out once, please throw it out again!”

But the agents, Rapleys, on behalf of applicant, The Parks Trust, said “it is considered “highly unlikely” that students would put in the effort to cross Monks Way when there is a convenience store a lot closer.

“Monks Way effectively acts as a barrier between the site and the school campus,” they said.

The car park belongs to the city’s beauty spot guardians, the Parks Trust, who claimed it was being used by business employees.

It had been used by people visiting Linford Wood, was also the location of antisocial behaviour and littering, said planning agent Rapleys.

The application had been withdrawn in January 2019 after planners said neither a drive through fast food restaurant nor a drive through café constituted “outdoor leisure and recreation use’.

They had said that acceptable uses were ‘play areas; allotments; indoor and outdoor recreation facilities; arts and entertainment facilities; and tourist attractions and accommodation’.

But the resubmitted application said the site itself is a car park and not a local park.

They also said the application was in line with both local and national policies, and would also provide car parking spaces for people who just want to visit Linford Wood.

In his decision, planning officer Luke Gledhill said officers agreed that the original earmarking of the car park as a district park had been an error.

They also agreed that if measured along the redway network the site is 700 metres away.

“In conclusion,” he said. “It is considered that the proposal accords with national and local planning policies and should be approved.”

Rapleys and the Parks Trust were notified of the planning decision by a letter from the council dated January 24.