Change could be underfoot for us as landlords consider development of the historic Galleon Wharf site for luxury housing. So what does the future hold?
The site, adjacent to the Grand Union Canal, has a varied history from being the home to boat builders to rail freight depot, from timber yard to it’s current use as home to 8 independent local businesses supporting in excess of 30 jobs. The site also protects the remains of the original line of the Grand Junction canal which, via a series of locks, descended to the River Ouse years before the Irontrunk aquaduct was successfully built.
Suisse Property Holdings, who took over ownership of the site from Jewsons, now wish to build a number executive canalside dwellings displacing the 8 businesses which have now become firmly established over the past 4 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.
At Virtual Orchard and Wharf Distillery we are already anticipating the worst possible outcome and have already begun researching options for relocating to a similar historic site within Milton Keynes. Unfortunately sites of this nature are very few and far between with many already converted to offices or dwellings. Our search therefore may take us outside of MK and into the Buckinghamshire, or even Northamptonshire countryside. It would be a sad day if Milton Keynes’ (and indeed Buckinghamshire’s) first cidery and distillery are forced to relocate over the border.
We’ll keep you posted on developments so watch this space…