Decision deferred over new homes noise threat to The Stables in Milton Keynes

The Stables Wavendon
The Stables Wavendon

Councillors have deferred a decision on a plan for 134 new homes that objectors fear could lead to the closure of a much loved music venue.

Members of the Milton Keynes Council Development Control Committee say the objectors to the development site near The Stables, in Wavendon, and the developers, just need a bit more time to make sure that noise can be controlled.

“Music and cultural venues across the UK are closing due to inadequate planning conditions for new housing developments, which fail to safeguard residents from noise,” said ward councillor, David Hopkins, who is not a member of the committee.

The fear is that residents will move in and then object to the noise of cars in the car park and from events at the much vaunted venue. The council and the venue would then have to take potentially costly action.

Cllr Hopkins, who also chairs Wavendon Parish Council, thanked Abbey Developments for their willingness to meet, and added: “We believe a further meeting of the parties and a little more time for the respective legal teams is required to resolve this to the benefit of all concerned.”

The developers have made a number of amendments to the plans, including proposing an ‘acoustic fence’, landscaping, and moving the proposed homes further away from the site boundary. The homes would also have fixed windows made of high specification glass.

Mike LeRoy, a Milton Keynes resident who had worked in the planning department at Westminster, said the changes made were not sufficient. “We can compromise, but noise can not,” he said.

Monica Ferguson, the chief executive of The Stables, wanted the council to ‘enshrine a right to make noise.’

John Brindley, the planning director at St Albans-based architects CMYK, said his clients had gone “above and beyond” what they needed to do on a site that had already achieved outline planning consent.

Council professional officer, Tracy Darke, the service director of growth, economy and culture, said that a condition could be worded to make potential occupiers aware that there is a music venue nearby.

Cllr Andrew Geary proposed deferring a decision until June. He said it would not be unprecedented for people to move in and then object to the noise. He cited a noise objection to a church’s bells, which forced it to install an expensive acoustic floor.

Committee chairman Keith McLean presented an alternative of saying that the committee approved the plan but that the final agreement should be delegated to officers.

But the committee decided to defer a decision to their meeting in June.