Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Planning Application Linford Lakes - Result of Appeal

Dear All

I am delighted to inform you that the appeal against the refusal of planning permission at Linford Lakes has failed and the appeal has been rejected.

I have copied the Planning Inspectors summary below - but in short he has found that although MKC have failed to demonstrate a 5 year housing supply - in this case the considerations of Landscape and Ecology (Biodiversity) outweigh the NPPFs presumption in favour of development.

I believe this decision has been significantly influenced by the evidence and submissions of those who attended the enquiry and spoke against the appeal and all those who wrote in to oppose the appeal on grounds of ecology.

It is a tremendous validation of the power of persuasion by people who truly deeply care about our environment and local resources.

I congratulate all of you why took the time and effort to get involved.

Tony Bedford
Chair FoLLNR

Inspector’s Conclusions

Compliance with the development plan
  1. The appeal proposal would conflict with MKLP Policy S10 by being located in the countryside. It would also conflict with Policy S11 by failing to protect or enhance the Area of Attractive Landscape, and with Policy NE1 by adversely affecting the Wildlife Corridor’s biodiversity.
  2. In relation to Policies S12 and KS3, the scheme would to some extent advance the aims of those policies in respect of public access to the Ouse Valley Linear Park and Linford Lakes areas. But it would conflict with S12’s requirements as to landscape and nature conservation matters.
  3. Looking at all of these relevant policies together, I find that the appeal proposal is in clear conflict with the development plan as a whole.

Other material considerations

98. The Council has been unable to demonstrate a 5-year supply of land for housing, and the development plan is silent as to how this shortfall is to be made up. Consequently, even though none of the policies directly affecting the appeal site are concerned with housing, the ‘tilted balance’ in NPPF paragraph 14 is engaged.
  1. On the positive side, the appeal proposal would provide 250 dwellings towards the Borough’s housing shortfall, and 30 per cent of these would be for affordable housing. In the light of the evidence, these dwellings are required to meet housing needs that would otherwise be unmet, and this carries significant weight. The economic benefits carry moderate weight. For the reasons already explained, the provision of public access to the ‘blue’ land also carries moderate weight; but any proposed landscaping or new habitat creation, either on- or off-site, would be essentially mitigatory or compensatory, and these therefore carry no more than neutral weight.
  2. But on the other hand, the development would intrude into the countryside, and into a designated AAL and Wildlife Corridor. It would cause substantial and irreversible harm to the Ouse Valley’s valued landscape. It wouldpermanently destroy priority habitats, threaten important wildlife, and weaken ecological networks. It would also take 15 ha of land from the Linear Park, reducing the scope for informal and passive recreation uses in the future.
  3. Cumulatively, it seems to me that these adverse impacts would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits that have been identified. The scheme therefore does not benefit from the NPPF’s presumption in favour of sustainable development.

Overall conclusion

102. Having regard to the requirements of section 38(6) of the 1990 Act, these other material considerations do not indicate a decision contrary to the development plan. I have taken account of all the other matters raised, but none changes this conclusion. The appeal therefore fails.

John Felgate

Monday, 26 March 2018

Bird Ringing at LLNR - Sunday 25th March

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.