By Phil Marsh
THE demolition of Wolverton Works – the world’s oldest, longest continually open standard gauge railway works – was sanctioned at a Milton Keynes Council planning meeting on November 17.
The council’s development control committee approved the controversial outline planning application of the property developer and owners of the Works, St Modwen’s.
There were four main areas of debate among some of the Development Control Committee members.
Firstly, following a Wolverton planning referendum in 2015, Wolverton’s residents overwhelmingly voted to retain the buildings in any redevelopment, which then became the local planning policy.
Secondly, the railway works forms part of the Wolverton Conservation area, thought to be one of the UK’s largest as it also includes the nearby LNWR-built housing estate, created for works’ employees.
Also, the agreed Section 106 grant of
£3 million benefits for the community falls about 25% short of nationally recognised levels.
Furthermore, the affordable housing numbers in the redevelopment scheme were well short of nationally recognised targets and could be just 10% of dwellings as opposed to the target of 30%.
Read more in Issue 223 of Heritage Railway