UPDATED: Future Looks Uncertain for Iconic Music Venue

    The Stables Theatre in Milton Keynes is urging supporters to attend a meeting of Milton Keynes Council’s Development Control Committee next week to show their opposition to a planning application for new housing on its western boundary.

    Planning officers at Milton Keynes Council are recommending that the application – submitted by Abbey Homes – should be approved without the need for a vital legal protection for The Stables to be included, despite the fact that the same legal protection had already been required by councillors in a previous application, also by Abbey Homes, for the same site.

    An application submitted in April for 134 houses to be built adjacent to The Stables had been approved by the Council on the proviso that a range of noise mitigating conditions for the whole site were included, including a Deed of Easement. The Deed would have protected The Stables against potential noise complaints from residents by allowing current noise levels to continue to be emitted across the Abbey Homes site in perpetuity. The recommendation to approve this new application ignores this protection. 

    The Officers’ recommendation also fails to appreciate the residual risk of noise from The Stables impacting on residents on the western part of the site. Abbey Homes didn’t submit any noise assessments of its own with the latest application.  In contrast, The Stables has submitted revised noise assessments demonstrating that there remains a risk of noise impacting on new residents and requesting the condition for the Deed of Easement required at the April committee meeting is imposed on this application, as none of the risk factors have changed since the April meeting.   

    In a report prepared by MK Council’s Planning Department and issued last week, planning officers are recommending the new application should be accepted – without the need for a Deed of Easement to be included.

    875 letters of objection and a petition of more than 21,000 signatures in opposition to the latest planning application were recently submitted to the Council.

    Monica Ferguson, Chief Executive and Artistic Director of The Stables, commented: “This new application is clearly a deliberate attempt by the developers to circumvent the previously imposed noise conditions, including the Deed of Easement. The future of one of the UK’s best loved music venues and local community assets is at stake. We trust that members of the Development Control Committee will understand the risk remains and will ensure that the Deed of Easement condition is imposed on this application, despite the recommendation of its Officers to the contrary. Enough is enough.”

    MKFM broadcasted a news special focussing on this issue - you can download the podcast now at https://www.mkfm.com/on-air/podcasts/mkfm-news-special/episode/the-stables-wavendon-under-threat-from-planners/

    In response to our show, Pam Gosal, Head of Economy and Culture at Milton Keynes Council said "Milton Keynes Council’s Economy and Culture team are fully supportive of The Stables and the vital and important contribution that they make to the city’s cultural offer. We are also significant supporters of IF: Milton Keynes International Festival, delivered by The Stables and have recently increased their grant funding by 50% for 2020.  In respect of this planning matter, we are of course in dialogue with our colleagues in the Planning team, who we work with closely on a day to day basis, as well as at a strategic level. We hope that this matter can be amicably resolved and offer our support to The Stables and our Planning colleagues throughout this process. "

    The Milton Keynes Council’s Development Control Committee meeting takes place at 7pm on
    Thursday 1 August at the Civic Offices, 1 Saxon Gate, Milton Keynes, MK9 3EJ
    and is open to the public.

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