Designs evolve following purchase and 90% support for regeneration proposals at public consultation
Following initial public consultation last year St. Modwen, the UK’s leading regeneration specialist, has announced it has purchased the vacant car showroom site which borders its ownership of the Wolverton Railway Works site to the west of Stratford Road. The vacant site, which will be marketed for short-term lease, will now become part of the long-term major regeneration proposals being developed by St. Modwen to support railway jobs in Wolverton.
The Railway Works are currently home to the multi-national rail company Knorr-Bremse, which inherited a site containing a number of derelict and aging buildings. In order to ensure that new, modern and fit-for-purpose premises can be delivered on site, supporting the 300 (approximately) jobs currently located here, St. Modwen is developing plans for a comprehensive mixed-use redevelopment.
Gary Morris, Senior Development Manager at St. Modwen said: “Throughout the successful public consultation period, including the public exhibition and our various stakeholder meetings, it was clear that the local community wanted something to happen on this prominent corner site. Rather than falling into further disrepair, we are delighted to confirm that the site will now be incorporated into our overall masterplan to safeguard rail related jobs on site and deliver a new foodstore, new homes, new public open spaces and heritage features.”
The purchase follows the public consultation held in winter 2014, when meetings were held with a number of community representatives, over 3,500 consultation newsletters were distributed to residents and businesses, online consultation was undertaken and over 120 people attended a public exhibition at St George the Martyr Church.
Almost 170 people provided feedback either at the exhibition, online, or via the postal consultation. Some key headline results are as follows:
- Almost 90% of respondents were either supportive or strongly supportive of the principle of regenerating the Railway Works with only 4% in opposition.
- Just over 80% of respondents felt that the proposals for the new Knorr-Bremse premises on the site were either good or excellent with only 4% in opposition.
- Just over half of respondents (58%) were supportive of the proposals for a new foodstore on the site whilst 23% of respondents were not.
- 62% of respondents were supportive of the proposed new homes (including affordable housing – social rent and shared ownership) on the western part of the site, with 14% not supporting this.
- Almost 90% of respondents felt the landscape and open space proposals were excellent or good with only 2% thinking this was quite bad or very bad.
- The Heritage Centre and heritage features across the site were well-received with 84% saying they were excellent or good. 3% of respondents felt the approach was very bad.
Gary Morris, Senior Development Manager at St. Modwen concludes: “We are still reviewing all feedback received during our public consultation over the last few months as we progress our designs and discussions with Milton Keynes Council. However we want to take this opportunity to thank the people of Wolverton for getting involved in this very important project for the town. We still have a lot more work to do to incorporate the car showroom into our designs but the team is excited to be moving towards the submission of a planning application within a couple of months.”
When the planning application is submitted in spring, Milton Keynes Council will undertake its own statutory public consultation. It is anticipated that the Council’s planning committee will make a decision on the application in or around late summer this year.
If the planning application is successful, the development is proposed to be delivered in phases with the foodstore being brought forward first in 2016. Redevelopment of the site for Knorr-Bremse will then be followed by new homes during 2017 to 2020.