Green light for demolition of historic Wolverton works

THE Victorian buildings at Wolverton works are set to be demolished, in spite of a legal bid to save them.

The works might continue to exist but in a modern form, a High Court judge has ruled.

The judgment follows a case brought by Historic England on 23 May this year, in which it was argued that the buildings themselves were important and in a conservation area, even though some are no longer used and are becoming derelict.

Milton Keynes Borough Council had already granted planning permission to developers St Modwen for 375 new houses on the works site. Houses were built alongside the works by the London & North Western Railway in the nineteenth century for Wolverton employees.

The judge, Mr Justice Dove, said Historic England had ‘not demonstrated any illegality in the council's decision’, and that jobs were more important than the present buildings.

The council admitted it had made a ‘technical error’ by not telling objectors they had a right to seek a judicial review, but the judge said this was not enough to justify overturning the planning permission.

Nothing in his ruling prevented the continuing use of a modernised Wolverton, which has been used for railway purposes since 1838. He did not feel that the old buildings made a sufficiently important contribution to the character of the Buckinghamshire town, which is now on the northern fringes of Milton Keynes.

Wolverton was also well known as the home of the various vehicles which make up Royal Trains, many of which were built at the works.

The fate of Wolverton has been uncertain for years and became the subject of a fierce and prolonged debate, which included three planning hearings. The first two were declared void on the grounds that they contained ‘irregularities’.

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