Comments now open on proposals for better business space at Milton Park
People are being invited to comment on a planning review that could increase space for more business investment and improve the quality and sustainability of buildings at Milton Park.
The revised plans are part of the council’s review of an existing Local Development Order (LDO), which is a way for local planning authorities to create an area that can help encourage businesses to move into or grow. They can also support the local economy and speed up the construction of the right type of buildings and infrastructure in the right location without the need for planning permission.
To help find out more about the proposals, residents and those working on site are invited to attend one of two open events at the Bee House, 140 Eastern Avenue on Milton Park, on 20 September at 10am-2pm and 22 September at 3pm-7pm. People can also join an online event planned for 15 September at 6pm-7.30pm.
The proposed changes to the existing LDO could allow an increase of six per cent in floorspace (an extra 20,000 square metres over what’s allowed in the existing LDO) and the option for some taller buildings to be built on the Park, as well as reducing the height of new buildings near the Milton conservation area.
The types of buildings could include more offices, laboratories and storage and industrial units at Milton Park. Proposals also include options for a new hotel with conference facilities, shops, cafes, outdoor sports equipment, and a creche or day nursery to support people and businesses at the Park and nearby. New developments would need to be designed in a way that reduces their carbon footprint and incorporates solar panels or other low or zero carbon energy, where possible.
Extra facilities could include more charging points for electric vehicles and Ebikes and improved cycling and walking routes could be provided. New open and green spaces are also part of the proposed plans, with existing areas such as Moor Ditch and Kelaart’s Field remaining unchanged from the existing LDO.
The review could also help the Park to achieve Biodiversity Net Gain, which means the land and new developments would be designed to be able to support wildlife more easily.
Since the original LDO was adopted in 2012 by the council, it has helped bring in new investment and jobs to Milton Park supported by good public transport links, pedestrian and cycle routes, and provided green open spaces in the area.
Cllr Debby Hallett, Cabinet Member for Corporate Services and Transformation at Vale of White Horse District Council said: “It’s important to us that while we support local investment and job opportunities that it doesn’t come at the cost of the environment or the wellbeing of our residents. We want to hear from people that live nearby and work at the Park on what they think about the proposed changes.”
Philip Campbell, Commercial Director at MEPC Milton Park, said: “Thanks to the Vale of White Horse District Council’s proactive approach, the refreshed LDO would enable Milton Park to continue supporting the region’s science and innovation engine post-Covid and ensure future development can provide a positive response to the challenges posed by climate change.
“At the same time, the refreshed LDO would cover the same area as under the existing adopted LDO, while the total permitted floor space would increase by only 6 per cent over what is permitted under the current LDO.
“The launch of the statutory consultation marks a significant milestone in the refresh of the Milton Park LDO and we’re really looking forward to engaging with residents and the business community over the coming weeks.”
More details on the events and to complete the survey, please visit www.whitehorsedc.gov.uk/miltonparkldoreview. The survey is open until 11.59pm on 30 September.
Once the consultation has closed the feedback, all technical studies and information on the proposed changes to the current LDO will be considered before any decision is made at a full Council meeting. If approved the LDO could last until 2041.