Groundbreaking £32 million transfer gives more power to the council

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The government has agreed the transfer of land, assets and responsibilities from the Homes and Communities Agency to Milton Keynes Council in a groundbreaking deal worth £32m.

The move will put Milton Keynes in control of its own growth agenda, with planning powers in the hands of locally-elected representatives for the first time.

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) today gave its seal of approval to the transfer, which will make the council the sole planning authority in Milton Keynes, instead of sharing responsibility with an arm of central government.

The council will receive land assets from the HCA which include sites for new homes, offices and commercial premises in central Milton Keynes and across the borough. This includes around 20 main sites including the Milton Keynes Bowl and Coachway, and hundreds of smaller parcels of land.

Today’s announcement signals that the council, HCA and DCLG have agreed details of the settlement. A period of consultation with local stakeholders now takes place on the transfer of planning functions.

Thereafter, a ‘negative resolution statutory instrument’ will be laid before Parliament which would formally transfer planning powers from the HCA to the council, potentially at the end of the year. The transfer has been promoted and supported by all three political groups on the Council, and was provisionally agreed by Milton Keynes Council’s Cabinet on June 20.

Council Leader Councillor Andrew Geary said: “This is an important new chapter for Milton Keynes. For the first time, local democratically elected people are in a position to control the destiny of Milton Keynes, and in turn, residents will have a much fuller say on the development of their city.

“Being the sole planning authority, and having control of additional land assets gives the council greater flexibility to manage the whole package efficiently and effectively; we can deliver the right conditions for growth, attracting investors and creating more jobs. It’s truly localism in action.”