Rural fury over plans to build ‘satellite towns’

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Council plans to double the size of Milton Keynes have already been called in for reconsideration by hundreds of protesters.

Within days of the draft Plan:MK being officially launched for public consultation, a string of parish councils used their democratic powers to demand it be scrapped.

They are joined by angry members of the public objecting to the plan’s proposals to build several satellite towns - each the size of Wolverton – in their rural areas.

“This must be the biggest call-in Milton Keynes has ever seen and it demonstrates the huge extent of concern that people have,” said Olney’s Tory councillor Peter Geary.

The parishes involved include Olney, Sherington, Moulsoe, Castlethorpe, North Crawley and Ravenstone.

As revealed exclusively in the Citizen last month, these are all named in Plan:MK as suggested sites for “mini garden city” developments of 10,000 homes apiece.

The mass call-in action means councillors will be forced to scrutinise and possibly re-think the plan’s rural development section, which is one of four options to prove MK with the 87,500 new homes it needs before 2065.

Many of the rural councillors are Conservatives, meaning the Labour-run council’s balance of power would lie with the Liberal Democrats.

Already leading Lib Dem Sam Crooks has urged protesters to keep calm and described thecall-ins as premature.

“I would much prefer this issue to go out to consultation in the proper manner first,” he said.

“People must realise that we need to look to the future and these homes need to be built somewhere. If we do not find an agreed solution ourselves, the government will simply force us into it.”

The council must finalise its proposals by the autumn of next year and produce a Final Local Plan by 2017.

Other options in the plan are an arc of urban extension across the south and south west of MK or a huge ‘mirror image’ city to be built in the east, across the M! into Central Beds.

The third option is high density develop within the designated area, converting unused office blocks and building skywards with flats.

To view Plan:MK visit www.milton-keynes.gov.uk/planning-and-building/planning-policy/plan-mk=