Minister may decide on Wolverton Works demolition

By Phil Marsh

The Government may be asked to rule on the fate of historic Wolverton Works.

A repeat of a court case concerning demolition at Wolverton is looming after Milton Keynes Council’s development control committee held a third hearing to decide the future of the LNWR works in September.

This hearing was required because ‘irregularities’ in the way Milton Keynes’ planners dealt with the application uncovered by Historic England during two previous hearings.

An aerial view of the Wolverton Conservation Area on September 12, 2016. PHIL MARSH

Both hearings had considered and approved the controversial plans to demolish the works, put forward by works owners St Modwen, despite being contained within a Conservation Area.

In addition, an objector submitted a Freedom of Information request following the first planning hearing held in November 2016, after discovering that a key objection had been struck from the public record by the council. This request revealed that this had been removed at the specific request of works operators Knorr-Bremse in August 2016.

Dr Andy Brown, Historic England’s south east planning director told the latest hearing that he regarded Wolverton Works’ buildings and Conservation Area so important that he had been compelled to attend, and it was only the second time he had appeared before any planning committee in 13 years.

The application’s potential to set off a legal process triggered by Historic England was so likely that a special hearing was convened to debate the application, with the previous decisions annulled. Dr Brown joined local objectors, including several Wolverton and Greenleys town councillors speaking against the outline planning application.

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