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Threat of housing development at historic site

Laurence ConisbeeGalleon Wharf at Old Wolverton is under threat of development. The historic site could make way for housing if the landlord’s plan to demolish all the existing buildings and replace them with luxury canalside homes is approved.

Adjacent to the Grand Union Canal, Galleon Wharf has a varied history from being the home to boat builders, to rail freight depot, to timber yard, to its current use as home to eight independent local businesses supporting in excess of 30 jobs.

Laurence Conisbee, owner of Virtual Orchard, Milton Keynes’ first cidery, voiced his concerns about the plans on his website: “Suisse Property Holdings, who took over ownership of the site from Jewsons, now wish to build a number executive canalside dwellings displacing the eight businesses which have now become firmly established over the past four years. Although planning permission has not yet been sought, pre-planning consultation with Milton Keynes’ Planning Authority as well as with the Canal & Rivers Trust has taken place and proposals are at an advanced stage with a planning application imminent.

“If planning is approved there will be a massive impact on the local businesses who will have to seek new homes. There will also be an impact on the ecology of the area as the site sits within the canal conservation zone, and then there is the visual impact that any development will bring. This is of particular significance as in addition to the proximity to the canal, the wharf is also adjacent to several scheduled ancient monuments, the Ouse Valley Country Park and several Grade II listed buildings. Above all, yet another piece of our precious heritage could be resigned to a street name.”

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