People are 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 allows 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 correct type of buildings and infrastructure in the right location without 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 from 10.00am to 2.00pm and 22 September from 3.00pm to 7.00pm. People can also join an online event planned for 15 September at 6.00pm to 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 buildings types could include more offices, laboratories , storage and industrial units at Milton Park. The proposals also contain 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 will need to be designed to reduce their carbon footprint and incorporate 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 achieve Biodiversity Net Gain, which means the land and new developments would be designed to support wildlife more easily.
Since the original LDO was adopted in 2012 by the council, it has helped attract 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.
Councillor 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 under the existing adopted LDO, while the total permitted floor space would increase by only 6 per cent over what is allowed 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.”
Visit www.whitehorsedc.gov.uk/miltonparkldoreview for more details on the events and to complete the survey. 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.