Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Update on the Planning Application at Linford Lakes


The Planning Inspectors Inquiry into the appeal by the Developer against MKCs Refusal of Planning Permission concluded on the 2nd February and the Planning Inspectors decision is expected some time in March.

For those of us who attended and on occasion spoke at this enquiry it was in general a fairly soul destroying experience.

To misquote Mr Churchill I felt it was a case of

Never in the history of Milton Keynes, have so few, who know so little, contrived so hard to spoil the natural environment for so many.

For what it was worth I came away from the enquiry feeling the decision was very much in the balance but with a (less than confident) probability that the Council may have successfully defended their case.

I can also report that on the 8th February at the DCC meeting the Council voted in favour of the following motion:



Members Motion

Councillor A Geary to propose the following motion; 

That the Development Control Committee:


      a. Note the following:
  1. The current agreed status of Plan:MK as our strategic document for the growth and expansion of Milton Keynes
  2. The willingness of many of our Parishes to embrace and bring forward pro-growth Neighbourhood Plans
  3. The vision and ambition expressed with the MK2050 report from the Futures Commission and the current internal and external discussions around its implementation
  4. The ongoing discussion regarding a potential "Buffer" to help deliver housing and affordable housing targets
  5. The recently published National Infrastructure Commission Report and the way in which Milton Keynes is embracing and championing many of the proposals contained within it.

    b. Agrees that, given the above points and the level of discussion with neighbours, partners and government about strategic growth on a major level within Milton Keynes, the issue of speculative development in the open countryside and attempts at developer lead sporadic planning are both unhelpful and unwarranted.

    c. Requests the chair and vice chairs to write to the Planning Minister and the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government requesting them to act urgently to assist us in our discussions and deliberations by:

1. Agreeing for the Secretary of State to reserve judgment on all speculative decisions within the Open Countryside over a threshold of 50 dwellings.

2. Granting Milton Keynes an immediate exemption on the rulings around 5 year land supply until a clear and concise way forward is established.

3. Requests the assistance of both of our MPs in helping to enact point C above. 


What effect this may have on the current Inspectors Report is unclear - but it can do no harm and should, if successful, help defend the Open Countryside at Linford Lakes from speculative planning applications such as we have seen from Templeview.

Tony Bedford
Chair FoLLNR

Monday, 29 January 2018

2018 Species List Up and Running

Our 2018 list has got off to a cracking start thanks to Martin Kincaid who since the start of the new year has managed to spot not only a Short-eared Owl, but also the much rarer Long-eared Owl as well as our now regular winter visitor the Bittern.

Please do keep an eye on our annual species list and if we have missed something please let us know - I tend to update it about twice a month.




Our first Open Sunday of the year was blessed with foul weather including snow, rain and freezing temperatures. Despite the weather many of you braved the elements to enjoy the hospitality in the Centre Building and a few lucky souls witnessed a Weasel catching it's lunch in the front garden and a Bank Vole turn from Ice Skater to Swimmer, as it attempted to cross the pond outside the back window.

Thanks to all of you who attended the January Quiz Night. Everyone I spoke to seemed to have really enjoyed the event and special thanks must go to Keith and Jane for such an excellent job in organising the quiz and the fish and chip supper.


Monday, 23 October 2017

FoLLNR 2018 Calendar Now on Sale

The all new FoLLNR Wildlife of Britain Calendar 
is now on Sale 

Great Value at only £5.00.


12 glorious A3 full colour pages featuring high quality images 
of stunning British wildlife.

All proceeds go to helping FoLLNR look 
after the Nature Reserve.

All photographs by Tony Bedford

You can obtain your copy at the Centre on any Open Sunday (3rd Sunday each Month) or on Task Sundays (first Sunday each Month). 

Copies can also be purchased at Great Linford Parish Council Offices (Linford Centre off St Leger Drive)

Opening of the "Warbler Hide"


Sunday 15th October saw the official opening of the new "Warbler Hide" which has been built by members of the Friends Group using materials mainly donated by Barretts of Aspley. 

Tony Bedford Chairman of FoLLNR and Andy Harding

The new hide which is primarily designed to allow easy access with close proximity to the car park and centre gives a full length view of the main lake.

The wooded area in which it stands is a favourite spot in the spring for a variety of warblers - hence it's name.

Andy Harding unveils the plaque on the new hide

The hide was opened by Andy Harding (County Bird Recorder) who praised the work of FoLLNR volunteers and thanked the Parks Trust for the work they were doing. 

Inside the "Warbler Hide"

Andy went on to state the importance of Linford Lakes Nature Reserve which he recognises as the most important and valuable site in Milton Keynes for both birds and a variety of other species and one of the top sites in Buckinghamshire.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Saving Linford Lakes

If you have or are thinking about writing in objection to the proposed development at Linford Lakes then a massive THANK YOU.

If you are not sure or wonder if it will really do any good, then please gird up your loins (what on earth does that mean?) and have a go.

Predatory developers and ill-informed planners rely on apathy to get away with - what to some wild life - will literally be murder.

We have tried to help by adding the new tag to the top of this blog - Fighting Development at Linford Lakes -  just click on it and you will find some suggested letters you can cut and paste or alter to suit your own points of view.


Please also do email your local councillors and ask them to support your objection - their e mail addresses can be found on the MK Council website 

http://milton-keynes.cmis.uk.com/milton-keynes/Councillors.aspx

you may be surprised how helpful some of them can be.

You can either lodge your objections to the new planning applications by e mail to 
paul.keen@milton-keynes.gov.uk 
or via the Council website 
www.milton-keynes.gov.uk/publicaccess

Please put your name and address on any letter or correspondence otherwise it may not be accepted.

Kindest regards

Tony

Friday, 28 July 2017

Important Information relating to the future of Linford Lakes Nature Reserve

Many of you may be aware that in March this year a planning application to build up to 250 houses on the land adjacent to the nature reserve was unanimously refused by MK Development Control Committee following the planning officer’s recommendation:

That the application be refused as the proposed development,  would represent an intrusive form of development in the open countryside which is identified as an Area of Attractive Landscape in the Milton Keynes Local Plan 2001-2011 (adopted 2005), which would be detrimental to the open, rural character of the locality. The proposal would result in the loss of a substantial area of varied habitat and appearance and would harm the special landscape character of the area..... No evidence has been presented to demonstrate that the proposed housing is essential for agriculture, forestry, countryside recreation, and is not considered to be an appropriate form of development in a rural area. The proposal is therefore contrary to Saved Policies S10 (Open Countryside) and S11 (Areas of Attractive Landscape) of the Milton Keynes Local Plan 2001-2011 (adopted 2005), Policy CS9 (Strategy for the Rural Area) of the Core Strategy (adopted 2013), and the aims and objectives of the National Planning Policy Framework 2012.

The applicant Templeview Developments subsequently appealed this decision on the grounds MK Council was not able to ‘Demonstrate Clearly’ that it had a 5 year Housing Land Supply as required by the NPPF. This appeal is still in progress and we have written to all our members encouraging them to write to the Planning Inspectorate supporting MKCs decision to refuse planning permission.


The New Position

We must now advise that as well as the appeal, Templeview via their agents DLP Consulting have submitted another identical planning application (No 17/01937/OUT) which can be viewed online at www.milton-keynes.gov.uk/publicaccess or at the Civic Offices 1 Saxon Gate, Central Milton Keynes.


Despite the absolute assurance given at the DCC meeting on 30th March 2017 that they could defend any appeal based on the lack of a 5 year Housing Land Supply, it would appear that the applicant now feels that MK Planning Officers may not be so confidant they can do so and may not be prepared to defend the unanimously reached decision, which met with huge public approval, back in March.


We are concerned therefore, that the planning officers may be pressurised into recommending approval of this new planning application, rather than defending their original decision at a public hearing of the appeal.


Planning Officers, can of course, only recommend approval or refusal of an application based on the facts presented and the appropriate local and national policy and it will be the DCC that makes the final decision. Whilst we wonder why the applicant would have submitted another planning application, unless, for some reason, they felt confident of success, we believe we may yet be able to influence the Councils decision.


The independent Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) that the Applicant was obliged to have carried out concludes that:


"There would be an irreversible loss of habitat and fragmentation of habitat within Linford Lakes Biological Notification Site and Wildlife Corridor during construction". A significant negative effect at COUNTY level was classified as certain. 


The survey also suggests that the Zone of Impact that construction work could have, could be up to 2Km which of course covers the Nature Reserve itself.

The EIA assessment also drew attention to the probable disturbance of waterbirds during construction and operation, the likely predation by cats during operation and loss of habitat for many creatures including birds, bats, otters and reptiles.


The EIA was only conducted in the proposed development area and did not encompass the flora and fauna to be found on LLNR or Stanton Low Park, it is highly unlikely that the planning department or for that matter any other part of the Council or MK Councillors have any idea just how important LLNR is, with its unique habitat and huge diversity of wildlife.


The planning application makes no mention of how access to the site could be maintained during building which would take place on both sides of the access road to the reserve.


Please, Please, Please - if you value Linford Lakes Nature Reserve, if you value the British countryside, if you want to protect important and beautiful habitat, if you wish to see local policies upheld and developers being prevented from building wherever and whenever they wish, then please get involved and encourage others to also get involved.


We must insist that our Council stands up for its own policies for its own community and for the protection of valuable wildlife habitat that we have the right to preserve and enjoy.


It’s easy, you can either lodge your objections to the new planning applications for the same reasons that the Council gave back in March along with your concerns regarding the effects on LLNR and surrounding countryside by e mail to paul.keen@milton-keynes.gov.uk or via the Council website www.milton-keynes.gov.uk/publicaccess


You will need to include your name and address but this information will be kept secure and will not be available for others to see.

The absolute deadline for lodging comments and objections is August 15th.


If you want to have a better understanding of the wildlife to be found at LLNR just have a look at the species list on this blog site.


Thank you for taking time to read this and for your support.


Kindest regards

Tony Bedford

Chairman FoLLNR

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Annual General Meeting

 


Annual General Meeting
of Friends of Linford Lakes Nature Reserve
Wednesday 17th May, 2017
Start time 19:30hrs at the Centre at Linford Lakes Nature Reserve.
The Committee of the Friends Group would like to thank you for attending the 6th AGM. Please find the agenda below. The formal section will be followed by a short presentation from Phil Bowsher, Head of Environment, Volunteers and Education for the Parks Trust. There will then be an opportunity to mingle and enjoy some light refreshments. The evening is expected to conclude about 21:30hrs.
Agenda
1) Welcome from Tony Bedford, Chairman.
2) Chairman’s Report.
3) Treasurer’s Report.
4) Election of officers.  The current officers have expressed their willingness to stand for election for another year:- Tony Bedford (Chairman), Pauline Studman (Treasurer), Janice Robertson (Secretary).

New committee members are needed and we would like to invite interested persons to make themselves known to committee members prior to meeting.

5) Phil Bowsher’s presentation,
6) Questions from floor, as submitted prior to meeting.

Followed by drinks and light refreshments.