The hedge of reason prevails at Milton Keynes planning meeting

Peace can return to the genteel streets of Olney after a resident agreed not to plant a hedge on his property.

One of the neighbours in West Street feared that the roots of the ‘fast growing hedge’ proposed by Lee Wood would undermine the foundations of her 18th century property.

West Street, in Olney

West Street, in Olney

Mr Wood proposed planting a hedge as a part of his plan to demolish part of his home, and build extensions and a replacement garage in its place.

Neighbour Miss Margaret Sherwood told Thursday’s meeting of Milton Keynes Council’s Development Control Panel that Mr Wood’s proposals would have a ‘enormous impact on Olney’.

“The size of the hedge would take away my peaceful enjoyment of my property,” she said. “It would have to be cut throughout the year.”

Another neighbour, Miss Jackie Jackson, said she lived in an 18th century property, and was worried that the hedge would cause damage to her home.

She appealed for the four-strong panel of councillors to “protect what we have got left of rural England” and claimed that the proposed development would “deviate away from the character of the town.”

The objectors were supported by two councillors, David Hosking, and Peter Geary. Cllr Geary said he had some sympathy with Mr Wood, who had received advice from the council before submitting his plan.

Cllr Geary appealed for his colleagues to “make sure that the plan was in line with policies” because “it is a significant decision.”

On the other side of the fence, Mr Wood said his proposals were not out of keeping in the area. “Our house and extension would take up 20.4 per cent of the plot size, which is comparable with the others,” he said.

“We do not accept that it is enormous or an exceptionally large house,” he said. “There is also no uniformity of buildings in the area, there is a real mix of old and new and this will not set a precedent.”

The house site just outside the boundary of the Olney Conservation Area.

But Mr Wood said he would be happy not to set a hedge.

The committee voted by three votes to one to remove a condition requiring the planning of a hedge, and by the same number of votes to approve Mr and Mrs Wood’s planning application.