Posted 31st July 2018 | 6 Comments

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’.

Reader Comments:

Views expressed in submitted comments are that of the author, and not necessarily shared by Railnews.

  • Andy Ganley, Sutton

    Industrial vandalism another hollow victory for big business! once an historic working works soon to be yet another housing estate.

  • Roger Capel, Sheffield

    As a former "Wolvertonian", this has been death by a thousand cuts. In the late 90s coming back from holidays meant seeing which bit had been either sold or fenced off ready for sale. The only laugh was when a veteran employee went up to the works manager, pointed to the latest demolition site and said "you do know that used to be accumulator shop, don't you?"
    Turned out that the ground underneath was contaminated to a considerable depth!

  • Andrew Gwilt , Basildon Essex

    Suppose it’s goodbye to Wolverton Works as new houses will be built on. Very sad.

  • Peter Phillips, Milton Keynes

    It's is the railway works that is important, not the "heritage" of the buildings. The former foundry behind Tesco is a derelict eyesore, it's, apparently, a listed building but desperately needs to be demolished and the land put to good use. Yes, redevelop the site but please ensure that the railway works continues to operate, it is an essential part of Wolverton and should not suffer the fate of those at Ashford and Swindon.

  • Melvyn Windebank, Canvey Island, Essex

    Rather pointless leaving disused buildings to rot well unless we build on green fields instead !

    The world moves on .....

  • king arthur, Buckley

    You don't get that heritage back once you've bulldozed it. This is quite obviously a result of one of those closed doors deals that local governments are so infamous for (and often results in them sticking one to the railways).