Controversial delayed review of giant Blakelands warehouse in Milton Keynes has new publication date

A controversial review of how a warehouse was given planning permission to double in height in Milton Keynes is due to be finally published on Friday… or Monday.
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Planning specialist Marc Dorfman has told Milton Keynes Council in a letter dated May 11 that he now aims “to publish my review report” on May 21 or 24 this year.

The Blakelands Residents Association, in a statement issued this morning (Monday) said that they “do have concerns about whether the new deadline will now be met given the number of previously missed deadlines.

“There have been more than 18 missed deadlines and the report is more than 20 months delayed.

Blakelands warehouse from the airBlakelands warehouse from the air
Blakelands warehouse from the air

“We also remain concerned that some elements of the original scope remain unfulfilled.”

And Tory group leader Cllr Alex Walker (Stantonbury) doubted that the latest line in the sand would be met. “I don’t think anyone believes we will see the report anytime soon,” he said.

Mr Dorfman had been due to issue his report in the week of May 10, following the local elections which saw the Lib Dems lose one of their prized seats in Newport Pagnell South.

The ward covers the Blakelands area, where council planners supported proposals to increase the size of the warehouse in Yeomans Drive to 18m.

But the latest delay was for Mr Dorfman to consider the outcome of an appeal with the planning inspectorate.

The inspector had decided to side with MK Council and the residents over the use of the site for lorry deliveries 24 hours a day.

The residents’ group says the decision supports their case that an original MK Council officer assessment and report had been “flawed and misleading”.

“We have made the same point for several years now and the appeal decision shows we were right all along,” the residents group says.

Mr Dorfman, in his interim findings published in the autumn, had found that the council’s development control committee at its meeting in 2017 had made a “bona fide decision”.

Residents have repeatedly called for the Dorfman Review to be scrapped, in favour of a new review by specialist auditors who can probe all aspects of the decision. Mr Dorfman is a specialist planner.