Cabinet member snubbed in Milton Keynes planning row

One of Milton Keynes Council’s leading members was snubbed by fellow councillors over a planning application for house extensions in Bletchley.

Cllr Nigel Long (Bletchley West) is the council’s cabinet member for adult care and housing and on Thursday spoke against a Bletchley resident’s rear and front extensions.

MK Council

MK Council

Such matters can be dealt with by planning officials using delegated powers but Cllr Long had specifically asked that the Thursday’s Development Control Panel decide the issue.

The house, in Highland Close, is detached and Raymond Buckingham had applied to build a new reception room, bedroom, and a link between a detached garage and the house.

Cllr Long called the application ‘poor’ and that it would “stick out like a sore thumb”. The road was also busy, narrow, and additional cars on the road would cause a problem on the route to a school.

“It will dominate the road, be an eyesore, cut out the light dramatically and be a real dog’s dinner,” he said.

The applicant declined his right to reply and did not speak to the committee.

But the council’s professional planners said the application met parking standards, and they recommended it be approved, subject to conditions.

Cllr Paul Williams made the point that an objection on parking grounds could not be sustained, as the application met official standards.

But he believed that the application could have been refused based on the scale of the development to the rear of the property. He voted against approval on that basis.

And Paul Keen, the council’s deputy development management manager, said: “In terms of the character of the area, there are other extensions in the road. Extensions form a part of the character of the area.”

The committee discussed deferring to consider the application in the light of the West Bletchley Neighbourhood Plan, which was approved in a local referendum on February 14. It is due to be ratified by full council on March 20.

But committee chairman, Cllr Keith McLean, said: “Neighbourhood plans don’t say that you cannot have an extension.” And the panel of four rejected putting off a decision.

The application was granted after a vote where two voted in favour. One councillor voted against, and the fourth abstained.