Rural protest over plans to build eight mini cities in Milton Keynes

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Proposals to build up to eight mini cities in Milton Keynes’ most scenic areas are being hotly contested by residents and councillors alike.

The ‘satellite towns’ suggestion, revealed exclusively by the Citizen last week, is part of the new draft Plan:MK.

It could mean developments of around 10,000 homes apiece – almost the size of Wolverton – in country areas including Olney, Sherington, North Crawley, Moulsoe, Hanslope and Castlethorpe.

Each mini town would have its own schools, leisure and employment facilities.

Councillor Peter Geary, whose Olney ward encompasses the first four of these areas, said: “Residents are worried – really worried. Many families have lived in these areas for generations and the thought of change is extremely upsetting.”

Mr Geary has joined forces with his Tory ward colleagues David Hosking and Keith McLean, who is currently Mayor of Milton Keynes, to “hotly defend” the villages from development.

“The draft plan shows these areas could be changed catastrophically. We cannot allow that to happen,” he said.

Plan:MK aims to almost double the size of MK by building 87,500 new homes on 5,000 hectares of land over the next 50 years.

The rural settlements scheme is one of four options it suggests. Others include building a “mirror image” city eastwards across the MI into Central Beds, or a western arc of urban extension across Bletchley, Whaddon and into Aylesbury Vale.

Already the latter option could hit a snag as Aylesbury Vale District Council is set to release its own expansion plan for 31,000 future homes – with an option involving the same area.

Plan:MK’s final suggestion is cramming more homes into the city’s designated area. This would involve converting office buildings to housing and building skywards with blocks of flats.

Council leader Pete Marland has assured all residents there will be full public consultations about all options.

“We will listen to everybody and respect their opinions,” he said.