Planners in Milton Keynes dig their heels in over Stables noise row plan

The Stables in Milton Keynes
The Stables in Milton Keynes

Planning officers have dug their heels in against last minute pleas for help from a much-loved music venue that fears for its future.

The Stables is worried that when 134 new homes are built off Ortensia Drive, in Wavendon Gate, the new residents will inevitably complain about the noise from the popular venue.

Other music venues around the country have closed following residents’ noise complaints.

A meeting tonight (Thursday) of Milton Keynes Council’s Development Control Committee is set to finally decide the issue after months of negotiations. Councillors have been recommended to go ahead with approving the design matters.

The site has already been given outline planning permission for the homes, retail and a convenience store, so the principle of development has already been set.

Senior planning officer Elizabeth Verdegem, in a late report to tonight’s meeting, says that the Stables request for legal protection against noise complaints, called a Deed of Easement, are not necessary. She says the developer, Abbey Development, has already gone over and above what it needs to.

“The application is considered acceptable in planning terms with the mitigation measures that have been agreed and will be put in place,” she says.

“These mitigation measures have gone beyond the requirements of the applicant’s and the council’s acoustic consultant’s recommendations and therefore it is not considered necessary to require the applicant to enter into a Deed of Easement as an additional mitigation measure.”

She adds that the applicant has indicated that it is not prepared to enter into such a Deed of Easement, and it is considered that a decision to apply one could be open to legal challenge.

The Stables this week submitted its own noise report, claiming that mitigation measures, such as fences, landscaping and windows, would not be enough to stop noise from the site. But the planners have rejected that, too.

Jim Rice, Chair of Trustees at The Stables, and chief executive Monica Ferguson, have written to council planners to make a last-ditch appeal. They say councillors do have the power to include a Deed of Easement in legal conditions if they grant the application.

Their letter states: “On behalf of the Stables, the 3,000 people who wrote in support of protecting the venue, the 50 people who work here, and the hundreds of thousands of people who enjoy our events each year, we would urge you to do the lawful things, do the right thing, and ensure a deed of easement is required as part of any approval of the application. The Stables can be saved, and it is within your power to do so.”

The meeting is open to the public and starts at 7pm this evening at the Civic Offices, 1 Saxon Gate East, Central Milton Keynes, MK9 3EJ.