Milton Keynes Refusal of Employment Scheme on 57 Hectare Allocated Site Overturned by Planning Inspector

By Akeem Iginla

Milton Keynes Council’s refusal for a proposed 241,500 square meter warehousing and industrial scheme on a 57 hectare allocated employment site, has been overturned by the Planning Inspector. The scheme was originally refused due to concerns of negative impact on archaeology, the historic environment, transport and biodiversity.

The proposed scheme on land at South Caldecotte on the eastern edge of the Buckinghamshire new town comprises of; 192,200 square metres of B8 Use Class warehousing and distribution with ancillary B1a office space; 48,000 square metres of B2 general industrial; 999 square metres of B1 office space B1 Office space and 350 square metres of A3 café space.

The Developer, South Caldecotte Ltd had appealed the decision of Milton Keynes Council of its outline planning application which was refused in February 2020.

According to the Inspector’s Report, the reasons for the refusal of the planning application by the Council included concerns about negative impacts on archaeology and historic environment, transport and biodiversity. The Report advised that, following agreements between the Council and South Caldecotte Ltd (developer) on these issues, the Council had dropped its objections to the scheme.

The Planning Inspector noted that the appeal site has been identified as a strategic employment allocation in the Council’s adopted Local Plan Policy SD14.

The Inspector further noted that the site lies to the north east of remains of the Roman town of Magiovinium, a scheduled monument, evidence of late Iron Age and Roman period archaeology at various locations within the appeal site, including ridge and furrow earthworks that provides evidence of medieval farming system.

The Inspector stated in his report that the proposed employment scheme would not impact negatively to the setting or significance of the Roman town (Magiovinium) and the archaeological remains within the appeal site would be preserved in situ.

However, the Inspector added that the proposal would result in the loss of archaeological remains of lower significance in other parts of the site and the loss of ridge and furrow earthworks, but found that such loss would be outweighed  by the substantial weight that he attached to the economic benefits of the development.

Concerning biodiversity, the Planning Inspector noted that offsetting and mitigation measures have been agreed by the Council and the developer via section 106 conditions. Consequently, he concluded that there would be no negative impacts on protected species and that the proposed employment scheme would maintain and protect biodiversity.

The Planning Inspector also found that the development would not result in harm to the transport network, but rather would support the objective of promoting sustainable transport.

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