A housebuilder will be returning to traditional designs in an area of Milton Keynes that has become known as “Lego Land”.
Milton Keynes Council’s planning officers have used their delegated power to approve the Taylor Wimpey plan for 23 new homes on 0.87 hectares of land south of Milland Way, in Oxley Park.
Although 122 futuristic flat-roofed, panel-built homes in the first phase of the Oxley Woods development won awards for their distinctive panel built, flat-roofed appearance, there have been costly issues with design and quality.
A report compiled by council senior planning officer David Buckley said: “Since that earlier phase was completed, there have been a number of issues with the design of Phase 1 of the Oxley Woods development in terms of the design and quality of the building.
“This has resulted in considerable expense in repairing those buildings and concerns about the deliverability of future dwellinghouses of this specific type, in terms of design and materials. These issues have been reported widely and are considered to be in the public domain.”
Now the housebuilder has proposed a range of two and three-storey homes, as detached, semi-detached small terraces. But in contrast to phase one of the development, they are “all essentially traditional style dwellinghouses” and not the modern housing styles on the northern side of Milland Way.
The return to traditional design posed a problem for the planning department, because planning policies mean that the second phase should “complement the existing development.”
Mr Buckley said: “The proposal for the northern part of the site does not relate particularly well to the existing houses on Milland Way and appears of a very different character, particularly due to the lack of continuous frontage.”
Previous attempts to meet the “Design Code” were rejected by a government planning inspector.
However, Mr Buckley’s report says “the circumstances surrounding the application are relevant in this case,” and also there have been no objections from the neighbours.
“There is also the context of issues and problems with the construction and maintenance of the housing immediately to the north and concerns over deliverability of housing on this plot at all, if the requirements of the Design Code were required to be fully met.”
He concludes: “Overall it is considered that on balance the scheme would bring forward a residential scheme that is acceptable in all other regards and does relate to an acceptable degree to the surrounding area.”
Taylor Wimpey, in its application to the council, said it has taken a “new approach to the scheme where the parcel now stands alone as a new development rather than the remainder of an older, built-out phase.”
They continued that the new homes would be built from “sustainably sourced timber, with high levels of insulations, low air leakage rates”. Each property will, they say, comfortably exceed the requirements of the Building Regulations. The homes will be built off-site and include solar panels.