AGORA REDEVELOPMENT PARKING AND TRANSPORT WORKING GROUP
The Agora car park is in the freehold ownership of Milton Keynes Council, and has been since the Development Corporation sold the Agora building into private ownership in 1988. The (various) private owners of the Agora building have had use of the car park by virtue of a lease agreement with the Council.
In December 2017 the Council agreed agreed to transfer the Agora car park to developers TOWN subject to a number of stringent conditions:
- that Town obtain planning permission for the site with a scheme which meets local planning policy, including the Wolverton Neighbourhood Plan and Agora Development Brief – this includes ensuring access to the garages at the rear of Buckingham Street, and meeting parking standards required by MK Council
- that a working group is established to address concerns over parking provision in the Town Centre – this group will include representatives from the Town Council, Future Wolverton, local businesses, and local faith groups
- that Town engage in a comprehensive community consultation process to devise a regeneration scheme for the Agora site which meets community aspirations and is financially viable
Parking and Transport Group updates
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The second meeting of the Agora Redevelopment Parking and Transport Working Group took place on 14th May 2018.
Feedback on the actions of the last meeting were given:
- Milton Keynes Council had assessed the potential of neighbouring sites to the Agora Car Park to accommodate increased car parking, and the options were discussed.
- Tesco have the right to restrict their car park to use by shoppers at the store.
- There is no requirement in the Lidl planning application for them to provide town centre parking, but they have indicated their willingness to consider various options to support the wider town centre.
Regarding public transport requirements, TOWN reported that their engineers had considered bus stopping and standing arrangements, additional on-street parking and public realm improvements, and come up with some initial ideas. These ideas were discussed and various observations made.
A number of actions were agreed:
- Kings Church Community Centre to clarify parking requirements associated with the centre
- Wolverton Business Association to discuss parking requirements of staff at businesses in the town.
TOWN to discuss improved bus facilities with officers at MK Council
The first meeting of the Agora Redevelopment Parking and Transport Working Group took place on the 5th February. The meeting was Chaired by Cllr Rob Middleton (a Wolverton Ward Member) and attended by representatives from the Town Council, Wolverton Business Association, Wolverton Mosque, Churches Together in Wolverton and Future Wolverton.
The meeting considered the complex issues surrounding parking and transport in Wolverton Town Centre, and the likely impact of the redevelopment of the Agora and associated car park. Views of the different stakeholders were gathered and discussed.
The agreed outcomes of the meeting included:
- Producing an ownership plan for the land in the Town Centre in order to explore other potential locations for town centre parking
- Clarifying public transport requirements
- Checking the agreed parking conditions for the Tesco Car Park
- Checking the planning permission for Lidl to see if there was any allowance made for general Town centre parking
The key facts
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The purpose of the group
• To achieve a shared, evidence-based understanding among stakeholders of transport, movement and parking issues relevant to the regeneration of the Wolverton Agora;
• To provide a forum for considering information provided by and views/concerns of local residents, businesses and organisations regarding such issues, taking account of available evidence; and
• To act as a steering group for parking surveys and other transport-related analysis in support of a future planning application for the redevelopment of the Agora centre and car park.
The core membership of the group
- Milton Keynes Council – Cllr Rob Middleton (Chair), Ed Palmeria
- Wolverton & Greenleys Town Council: Cllr Hilary Saunders and Cllr Amanda Webster
- Future Wolverton: Marie Osborne and David Beattie
- TOWN (developer): Neil Murphy and Jonny Anstead
- [Two] representatives of faith organisations; Andy Forbes (Churches Together in Wolverton) and Kaleem Rehman (Wolverton Mosque)
- [Two] local business representatives: Allan Nall (Chair Wolverton Business Association), Taj Raja (MK Pakistani and Kashmiri Association)
Other individuals and organisations may be invited as required by the business of a meeting at the discretion of the chair.
The key resources and references available to the group
- Wolverton Town Centre Neighbourhood Development Plan 2015-2025
- Agora Development Brief SPD
- Emerging plans, drawings, surveys and analysis prepared by TOWN and its professional team in support of a planning application for regeneration of the Agora
The following working methods will guide the group
- The working group will meet in February 2018 when a schedule of future meetings will be agreed. It will meet on at least two further occasions prior to the submission of a planning application by TOWN.
- A meeting is quorate when TOWN has at least one representative present and three of the other core members has at least one representative present.
- The chair may determine an agenda for meetings and a time and method for consideration of each agenda item.
- Meetings will be minuted. The chair may nominate a member to take minutes, which will be circulated to all members in draft not later than five working days following the date of the meeting with a further five working days allowed for members’ comments. The chair will have sole discretion to approve minutes; and the approved minutes will be published via the Town Council and Future Wolverton websites.
- Between meetings, information may be exchanged by email. The chair will establish a contracts and distribution list for this purpose.
- The working group may elect to appoint an expert facilitator or advisor with relevant experience in transport, movement and parking issues.
Outputs and Review
- At a time and in a format to be determined by the chair in consultation with members (for example related to the timing of a planning application), the group may produce a final report drawing together its proceedings.
- Any outputs produced by the working group should not contradict or be deemed to supplant existing examined and/or adopted planning policy, particularly those referred to above; or to prejudice future planning applications or decisions.
- Once a planning application has been submitted, the working group will review the need for further meetings and ongoing work.