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Campaigners’ mood of celebration after Primark and Midsummer Place planning victories

Demonstrators in the council chamber picture by Anne-Louise Mellor

Demonstrators in the council chamber picture by Anne-Louise Mellor

Campaigners were in celebratory mood in Central Milton Keynes last night (Thursday) after a dramatic week of planning victories.

First thecentre:mk shelved a proposal to build a Primark, blocking off Secklow Gate Bridge, at the 11th hour in advance of Thursday’s would-be decision by Milton Keynes Council.

Despite the collapse of the Primark plans, which included moving the market from its current position, residents and market traders turned up in force to Milton Keynes Council offices, in Saxon Gate East, to hear what councillors thought of a set of plans to extend Midsummer Place Shopping Centre.

Campaigners gathered with placards at least one hour before the development control committee sat to deliberate.

Linda Inoki, of the Xplain grassroots campaign, received a bouquet and thanks from her supporters. One said: “We just wanted to come along and say thank you to Linda for all the hard work she has done.” A petition with 20,000 signatures was collected against the plan after opposition mobilised.

Other residents and market stallholders in the crowd of about 80 objectors were there to “send a signal” to companies that they would seek to defend what they saw as the best parts of Milton Keynes.

There was a huge cheer in the council chamber as committee chairman Brian White announced there was “no plan to consider” in respect of Primark.

A range of speakers lined up to blast the Midsummer Place plan, which would have meant the loss of a much-prized protected transport route. Theo Chamlmers, of the Urban Eden campaign group, called rejecting the plan a “no brainer” while others lambasted the proposed design.

Speakers on behalf of applicants Legal and General said the plans were needed to make sure shops in Central Milton Keynes remained attractive but they fell on deaf ears as councillors threw out the scheme.

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