Council planners have been accused of undermining an historic referendum – by saying yes to a development that “ignores” its core values.
Last week intu Milton Keynes was granted planning permission to build a new dining area, additional shops, and a five-screen boutique cinema in Midsummer Boulevard.
But it’s claimed the proposal ‘breaks rules’ set out in the country’s first business neighbourhood plan – a mere 100 days after it was voted for by the public.
The council has slammed the accusations as “simply untrue” while intu celebrate the result, which will bring jobs and prosperity to the city.
Now Rebecca Kurth, chairman of the CMK Town Council, has formally requested the Secretary of State reviews the decision.
Ms Kurth said: “There is a principle at stake here; we were told the plan would give local people and businesses power over the future of development in their area – and the council has just turned round and ignored it.
“The plan prohibits development on specific public open spaces, including Midsummer Place, and states the grid network of roads and parking should be respected.It is a breach of the public’s trust.”
Veteran Tory John Bint was one of two councillors on the planning committee to vote against giving intu planning permission.
Despite 10 voting in favour, Mr Bint claims council officers were “pushing” for a ‘yes’ vote because the development will bring “economic benefit” to Milton Keynes.
He said: “I am absolutely convinced this application contravenes our policies.
“The report from officers seemed to say that the economic benefit of the application – in general – is sufficient to outweigh the fact it breaks the rules. I do not do getting ‘pushed’.
“I am very happy if the whole world is against me – I will stick to my beliefs.
“If officers’ advice to the committee is correct then the entire concept of the neighbourhood plan is pointless.”
More than 90,000 people voted in May’s referendum after two years of full-time work by unpaid volunteers.
Councillor Mick Legg said: “Not agreeing is not the same as being ignored. I strongly believe it is unfair and misleading to state that the committee did not consider all the facts when they made the decision.
“The final vote highlights that the vast majority of the committee believed that the application did comply with the neighbourhood plan.”