Plan for 18-storey block of flats in Central Milton Keynes gets green light despite shortfall of 233 car parking spaces

Aubrey Place, next to The Hub
Aubrey Place, next to The Hub

A scheme for nearly 300 new rented flats and an apartment hotel has been given the go ahead by planners despite a shortfall of 233 car parking spaces.

The developers Palmer Capital and Packaged Living say their ‘build to rent’ scheme – called Aubrey Place – on waste ground next to The Hub, in Central Milton Keynes, will attract people who don’t use cars.

Planners at Milton Keynes Council made the decision to grant permission for two buildings by using delegated powers.

One building has a series of five blocks, one is 18 storeys tall, one 14-storey tall, one 12 storeys and two 10 storeys to house a total of 294 flats. Another 10 storey building would be for an apartment hotel.

The scheme has also been allowed to break a local plan policy that limits buildings to being eight storeys tall. The planners say that the policy is “flexible” because, in this case, the scheme gives “extensive economic and social benefits.”

The council’s parking policies would normally require such a development to provide a total of 303 spaces.

But the developers have come up with only 136 spaces, and 51 of those subject to commercial lease arrangements, which the council does not include in its calculation.

Council planners believe the public car parks can take up the slack.

In his report, senior planning officer Duncan Law says: “Whilst not ideal, it is evident that sufficient public car parking in the vicinity of the site is able to accommodate any shortfall provided on site.”

The developers have been allowed to break the rules because “all local amenities” are within two kilometres, there are good footways and crossings and the site South East of Cresswell Lane and north of Avebury Boulevard is a 14 minute walk from MK Central rail station.

The planners also accept that the build to rent scheme is “relatively new concept in housing provision and something that is completely new in Milton Keynes.”

It will be aimed at people aged 25-35 who are earning a salary lower than people who are looking to buy a home, and for them cars are unaffordable.

Additionally, the development would “make a sizeable contribution” towards the council’s target for providing 26,500 new homes in the borough before 2031.

“There is a pressing need for housing in the borough,” the planners say.