Exasperated residents in Milton Keynes make plea to Government to end warehouse review saga after 20th delay

Residents are today (Monday) appealing to the Government to intervene after a review into a giant warehouse was delayed for the 20th time.
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Planning consultant Marc Dorfman has told Milton Keynes Council and Blakelands residents that his review won’t be complete for about another week.

Mr Dorfman is waiting to see a review of a “daylight, sunlight and shadowing” report that formed a part of council planners’ recommendation to approve the Yeoman’s Drive warehouse doubling in height to 18m.

This complimentary review aims to check whether two planning officer reports to the council’s development control committee were right to conclude that the application met industry standard guidelines.

The Blakelands warehouseThe Blakelands warehouse
The Blakelands warehouse

This issue gets to the heart of the residents’ central concern that the development control committee may have been misled.

Mr Dorfman’s interim findings concluded that the committee had made a bona fide decision.

Blakelands Residents Association, in a statement today, said: “This whole saga is deeply embarrassing for Mr Dorfman, Milton Keynes Council and the new Labour/Liberal Democrat administration.

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

“The whole review has been nothing short of a total disaster that has failed to deliver what was promised to the residents of Blakelands in February 2019.”

Residents started a petition in July 2020 to relaunch a review but the council’s audit committee has twice rejected this approach.

The residents association adds: “We are therefore going to write today to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, The Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP, to ask that he intervenes and organises his own review.

“The council has failed too many times and we cannot allow this ridiculous situation to continue.”

Some Conservative observers saw the loss of one of the Liberal Democrats’ prized Newport Pagnell South seats in the local election on May 6 as being a sign of local disapproval. Blakelands is in the ward.

But any hopes that residents might have the new Progressive Alliance of Labour and the Liberal Democrats will take a different approach have been dashed.

Council leader Cllr Pete Marland (Lab, Wolverton) today confirmed the council will be seeing the Dorfman review through to its publication.

“The brief delay is disappointing,” said Cllr Marland, “but it is understandable given Mr Dorfman is seeking to answer additional questions put to him by the residents in the last few weeks and for a specific piece of work requested by residents.

“Like everyone else I am waiting to see what Mr Dorfman says before making any further comment.”

Conservative leader Cllr Alex Walker (Stantonbury) lost patience long ago and this week supported the residents’ letter to the Secretary of State.

“The Dorfman report has lost any inkling of credibility that was left and after nearly two years of delays, regardless of the outcome, the value of this investigation has been damaged beyond repair,” he said.

He accused the Labour and Liberal Democrat council of failing Blakelands residents.