Milton Keynes councillors vote to get tough on developers if they ignore The Stables noise condition

Councillors vote to keep supporting The Stables
Councillors vote to keep supporting The Stables

Councillors have voted to crack down on developers if they attempt to start building houses near a music venue without agreeing to tell new residents about the possibility of noise.

Housebuilder Abbey Developments had applied to Milton Keynes Council to remove a condition that says they must inform future residents “in perpetuity” of noise from The Stables, in Wavendon.

“I am amazed, perplexed and angered by the attitude of the developers,” said objector Cllr David Hopkins (Con, Danesborough & Walton) and the chairman of Wavendon Parish Council.

“It is an unacceptable attempt by a powerful developer to get their own way.” He urged them to sign a deed of easement and “allow yourself to start building.”

Even though residents at up to 134 new homes off Ortensia Drive, in Wavendon Gate, still have a statutory right to complain about noise, campaigners are convinced that so-called “condition 14” will protect The Stables from the threat of closure.

The charity says it has spent £100,000 on planning related matters.

A barrister for Abbey Developments, who trade as Abbey Homes, told Thursday’s development control committee in written papers that condition 14 had been made illegally.

The committee was told that no-one from Abbey Developments was in the chamber to give their side of the story.

Because the council, they argued, had behaved “ultra vires”, or beyond their powers, the developers had a right to say they had complied with all the legal conditions, and could go ahead.

But councillors, objectors, and council planning officers disagreed. They also have legal advice that says the condition was made perfectly reasonably to defend The Stables.

Stables’ planning lawyer Tim Taylor said: “This repackaged argument has failed twice before. I am sure they will appeal.”

He urged the council to use the “nuclear option” and threaten legal action against the developers if they start work without complying with condition 14.

Cllr Keith McLean (Cons, Olney) said: “I don’t like it when developers want to turn the council over. They are trying very hard to use the law, rather than common sense.”

After voting to stick with condition 14, the development control committee unanimously voted to take action if it is established that work has already started.

There had been some debate about whether work on road improvements qualified as development. Council planners believed it does not, but Mr Taylor insisted it does.

Any action will be determined by planning officers in consultation with committee chairman, Cllr John Bint (Cons, Broughton).