Drawbridge is down for DIY planning bids

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A government ruling has opened the floodgates for new homes to be built in fields, backyards and countryside all over Milton Keynes, councillors have warned.

The planning bombshell comes in the form of a single appeal granted this week, against the wishes of the council, for 53 new homes to be built at Wavendon.

In granting the application for Frosts Family LLP, the Secretary of State ruled there was an “unmet” local housing need and insufficient evidence that the council was doing enough to tackle it.

This, according to many councillors, leaves MK “totally exposed” to speculative planning applications that would also be granted on appeal.

The applications could come from builders, developers or people hoping to make cash out of the current housing shortage.

It is feared they could be on sites outside of the council’s core strategy and local neighbourhood plans.

“The Secretary of State’s decision has thrown the drawbridge down – and the council must now go into overdrive to protect Milton Keynes,” said Wavendon’s Conservative councillor David Hopkins.

The council’s strategic plan, launched a couple of years ago, vowed to see 1,750 new homes built within the borough every year until 2026.

Already this is considerably behind schedule – partly due to the recession in the construction industry.

A ‘top up’ Site Allocation Plan, highlighting land for 1,050 more houses, is also due to be finalised by the end of this month.

Said Mr Hopkins: “Basically the council hasn’t acted quickly enough.

“There has been prevarication from officers as well as councillors and the result is that we are not meeting our housing targets.”