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News in Brief: Woodcote Neighbourhood Plan, Milton Keynes mixed-use development approved

Words: Laura Edgar
Mixed-use theatre district in Milton Keynes

A round-up of planning news: Tuesday 17 March, 2015

Neighbourhood Plan receives first planning approval

Woodcote (South Oxfordshire) Neighbourhood Plan was approved in April 2014 and has recently received its first planning approval for a range of 14 affordable homes on the site of a bus depot, which will be developed by Millgate. Nick Jackson, land and planning director at Millgate, explained: “We have owned the old bus depot site since 2000 and in recent years it had become a real eyesore. We had tried unsuccessfully to get planning permission, but when Woodcote Parish Council decided to prepare a Neighbourhood Plan we engaged with them and, happily, the site was ultimately chosen as its most popular housing site. The details of the scheme were also agreed with the parish at an early stage to include a high proportion of affordable housing badly needed by the local community. It just demonstrates that NPs can be a very powerful asset in enabling the right kind of development.”

£20m mixed-use development ratified in Milton Keynes

Permission for a £20 million hotel-led, mixed-use development in Milton Keynes town centre has been granted. It is the final phase of the Theatre District to be built and UGS MK, a subsidiary of Bursha Holdings, will develop it. The scheme includes a seven-story, 130-room Premier Inn hotel, 234 square metres of retail space and 994sq m of leisure space, including restaurants and bars. Construction begins in summer. Jack Paravicini of Bursha Holdings said: “We recognise significant investment is needed to stimulate a lasting change and are thrilled that Milton Keynes Council shares our vision. We’re keen to create a ‘family friendly’ area with a vibrant daytime and evening economy that increases footfall and supports the adjacent gallery and theatre.”

Scottish Government to fight Longannet closure

Scottish government deputy first minister John Swinney has pledged that the government will do everything in its power to prevent the early closure of Longannet power station. The facility in Fife will closed in March 2016 unless a short-term contract can be secured with the National Grid.

£21m fund for Scottish energy projects

Five projects across Scotland will benefit from £21 million in funding. The allocation from the Local Energy Challenge Fund will help to reshape how energy is delivered. Community Energy Scotland will receive £1.8 million to develop grid connections for small-scale generators in areas of constrained network on Mull, while £6 million will go to Insch Renewable Energy Consortium to develop a community energy system linking local energy demand with local renewable generation in a rural area of Aberdeen. Bright Green Hydrogen, Castle Rock Edinvar and Highland Council will also receive funding allocations.