Date set for council to receive long-awaited Milton Keynes warehouse report

A long awaited report into a council decision to allow a warehouse next to homes to double in height is now anticipated ‘no later than’ next Monday (November 16).
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Milton Keynes Council’s audit committee is this week (Thursday, November 12) due to hear an update on the publication of the report put together by independent planning consultant Marc Dorfman.

Duncan Wilkinson, the council’s chief internal auditor, says: “It is anticipated that the report will be published no later than November 16.”

A special meeting of the council’s audit committee has been arranged for Tuesday, December 1, for councillors to consider it’s findings and hear responses from residents.

The warehouse looms over nearby residents' homesThe warehouse looms over nearby residents' homes
The warehouse looms over nearby residents' homes

Members of the public are due to receive the report at the same time as the council.

Mr Wilkinson adds: “The issue is expected to attract some community and media attention upon publication of the report and then at the meeting. The publication of the report provides for the public’s confidence in the independence of the report.”

At last week’s meeting of the development control committee, which was instrumental in calling for the Dorfman review as early as February 2019, a top officer said the council did not want to set out what its best hopes were before publication.

“It would be inappropriate for us to second guess what the review would say,” said Tracy Darke, the council’s director of planning, strategic transport and placemaking.

“It’s an independent review so I think we will just have to wait and receive the report and I am sure committee members will be keen to see what those recommendations are.”

She added: “Any improvement to the service that comes from the report, we will take forward. We will add those to the improvement plan that we already have in place.”

Residents living close to the warehouse, which was allowed to double in height to 18 metres, identified a range of issues with the planning process, including a late change of council officer, and the removal of 14 planning conditions.

Because of delays, and what they say is a lack of in-depth questioning, Blakelands Residents Association has called for another external report to be compiled as they have “no confidence” in the report.

A petition calling for the council to act has so far been signed by 381 residents and led to a Facebook exchange of views with Newport Pagnell South ward councillor Douglas McCall.

Cllr McCall, the Lib-Dem group leader, has resisted residents’ calls for a brand new review.

In a Facebook exchange of views with the Blakelands Residents Association he posted: “The council’s position has been that they can’t interfere in what is an independent report as it then ceases to be independent.”

When the Dorfman report is published it will come more than one year after the council had been aiming to receive it, in October 2019. But the cost has been capped at £20,000.