Video footage shows enormous warehouse that Milton Keynes residents now fear could be ‘lit up like a football stadium”

Residents living close to a massive warehouse say their lives have been further blighted by the council granting permission for it to be lit up “like a football stadium”.

Thursday, 16th May 2019, 12:07 pm
An aerial picture of the warehouse in Blakelands

The warehouse, in Blakelands, was the subject of a planning application process that councillors admitted was the worst planning decision they have ever made.

It allowed for the demolition of one warehouse in Yeomans Drive and its replacement by a much bigger one, placed closer to residents, and with a different layout.

The process that Milton Keynes Council went through to make its decision is the subject of an independent inquiry that is understood to be starting in June.

An aerial picture of the warehouse in Blakelands

In the meantime, owner GUPI 6 Ltd, which is based in St Helier, on the island of Jersey, have to abide by a series of conditions imposed by the council. These include over lighting.

On April 26, more than two weeks before the end of the lighting condition’s consultation date of May 14, the council decided to approve plans to place 41 lights around the warehouse.

Blakelands Residents Association has responded angrily to the council allowing the exterior lighting.

They said: “It is beyond comprehension how this council has acted and continues to act over the warehouse. We now fear that it will be like living next to a football stadium with the lights permanently on throughout the night.

“We were very concerned about the potential impact of the lighting on the locality given there are 41 high powered external lights that will be on every night, 365 days a year.

“For reasons unknown, the council decided to approve this lighting plan only seven working days after receiving it. They knew we had concerns even before they received the new lighting plan and they decided to ignore those concerns.”

The residents claimed that “it would appear that no one within the council has any qualifications to actually assess and approve a lighting plan.”

In the consultation papers available on the council’s planning portal, Matthew Barnes, from Environmental Health, said his department had not requested a lighting condition, which has been “imposed by officers/members when granted” at the planning committee.

He added that lighting matters are out of the council’s hands: “However, as outlined in the case officer committee report, new lighting schemes are subject to guidance set out by the Institute of Lighting Professionals.”

He explained that the warehouse was considered to be in a “suburban” zone for lighting, which required that “light intrusion” does not exceed two Lux into windows after 11pm.

“The submitted details show LUX levels at all residential windows to be 0 LUX or 1 LUX in other cases, at all times.”

The Local Democracy Reporting Service understands one LUX to be more than the light of a full moon but less than twilight.

Mr Barnes added that Environmental Health does not normally comment on proposed lighting schemes and they have “limited internal expertise on the matter”.

However, he added that if the lighting condition is fully complied with it is “considered unlikely that the scheme will lead to adverse amenity impacts on neighbouring residents or property.

He added that it could be enforced if the warehouse operators broke the conditions.

Milton Keynes Council was repeatedly asked over a two and a half day period whether it would like to respond but had not taken the opportunity by 4pm on Wednesday.