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Protest over decision to extend Milton Park
VILLAGERS are protesting against a decision to allow Milton Business Park to expand by 20 per cent.
The scheme would create an additional 54,000 square metres of floor space and could generate an extra £10.5m a year by 2020.
However, residents in Sutton Courtenay and Milton are worried about the planned building on Kelaart’s Field in Sutton Courtenay.
The site neighbours a Sutton Courtenay primary school playing field and is popular with dog walkers.
Sarah Keogh, who lives in School Lane in Milton, says that villagers were informed about the plan for the first time in September, giving them just months to raise their concerns.
“We are all trying to play catch up,” she said, “but we are wading through treacle.”
A number – but not all – of residents living near the site received a leaflet informing them of the application. They were directed to the Vale of White Horse District Council website where they could view the proposal.
Villagers have now formed a campaign group Stamp – Stand Against Milton Park Expansion.
Campaign group leader John Wattam said: “There is particular resentment from residents about the poor consultation process. “It is important to take into account the knock-on effect: more jobs means more people and more traffic, and this area needs more infrastructure.”
Vale district councillor for Sutton Courtenay and Appleford Gervase Duffield questioned why the park could not expand onto the brownfield site that will be left when Didcot Power station A site is decommissioned next year.
This week the council gave permission for the 15-year Land Development Order (LDO) over the whole area of Milton Park. However, council leader Matthew Barber said he would try and agree with developers on restrictions to limit the interference to life at the school.
Milton Business Park is part of the Science Vale Enterprise Zone along with Harwell. The enterprise zone allows Milton Park to apply for an LDO that allows a limited amount of development over a defined time period.
Milton Park currently has around 250,000 square metres of employment and other floor space use and there is extant permissions for another 56,000 square metres.
The LDO enables the additional 54,000 square metres of floor space.
Vale officials estimate the benefit could be worth £10.5m a year by 2020.
Milton Park spokesman Stephen Forster said: “In preparing the LDO, the council has worked closely with Milton Park to examine the form of developments likely to be attracted to Milton Park.
“It has considered the planning issues such investment will raise, including the effects on the local environment, highway network and adjoining communities.
“Extensive consultation has been undertaken with statutory consultees, interest groups and parish councils as the LDO was prepared.”
The proposals will now be passed to planning minister Nick Boles for his formal approval.