Councillors in Milton Keynes eagerly await elusive warehouse report as owners appeal to open it 24 hours a day

Owners of a giant warehouse close to homes in Milton Keynes have appealed to a Government inspector to be allowed to operate heavy lorries on the site 24 hours a day.
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The appeal, officially lodged with the Planning Inspectorate on Tuesday (May 12), comes as councillors await the outcome of an elusive report into how the council gave permission to the warehouse in Blakelands.

Report author, planning consultant Marc Dorfman, has told the council and interested parties that he expects to complete the report by the end of this month, or early in June.

The report is already six months later than originally hoped, and this provoked one councillor at last week’s development control committee to compare the author to the Scarlet Pimpernel.

A warehouse dominates the landscape in BlakelandsA warehouse dominates the landscape in Blakelands
A warehouse dominates the landscape in Blakelands

But Mr Dorfman, in a letter seen by the Local Democracy Reporting Service, has apologised for time it has taken.

“Progress has been slow because of my own speed,” he writes.

“I have also come across some bits of information which I have needed to follow up, and am still doing this to ensure a thorough report is prepared.”

He’s planning a further series of interviews but adds: “I aim for the report to be completed by or before the end of May/early June and I will, of course, continue to keep you updated on my progress.”

Meanwhile, in another development this week in the long-running saga, the developer GUPI 6 has officially appealed to a Government inspector over hours of operation at the warehouse.

Although the warehouse was controversially allowed to double in height to 18 metres in April 2019, the council refused permission for heavy lorries to operate there 24 hours a day from a limited number of docking bays.

It said that the owner’s plans would lead to “unacceptable noise and disturbance” to residents, and be detrimental to their amenity.

Residents who have been fighting the development since plans were lodged in September 2018 now want the issues to be fought out at a public inquiry.

A spokesperson for Blakelands Residents Association said: “Material facts and expert opinions are both in dispute, meaning that cross-examination will be required.

“Given the number of local people it is anticipated will likely want to attend and, most importantly, participate, an inquiry is most appropriate.”

The Planning Inspectorate will decide how to deal with the appeal.

It handles appeals in a number of ways, including by a public inquiry or by written representations.