A leading councillor brushed aside a senior opponent’s objections as “silly” before agreeing to start a consultation exercise on the next big expansion of Milton Keynes.
The far-from-snappily titled “Milton Keynes East Strategic Urban Extension Development Framework Supplementary Planning Document Revised Consultation Draft” will set the ground rules for development into land on the eastern side of the M1.
Conservative councillors have fought tooth and nail against launching the document, saying it should include closely defined plans for MK-style wide grid roads, and oppose so-called city style streets.
A delegated decision taken on June 18 was called in for another committee to scrutinise on July 11. It was passed back to yesterday’s meeting for a fresh decision to be made.
At a Delegated Decisions meeting on Tuesday, Conservative opponents-in-chief Cllr John Bint (Broughton) and Cllr Keith McLean (Olney) set out the grounds for their continued opposition.
Cllr Bint, the current chairman of the council’s Development Control Committee, said the revised document was “deeply disappointing”, and contained “cut and paste” paragraphs saying why council officers could not make certain changes.
“In other words you ain’t done the changes we asked for,” said Cllr Bint. “On high streets, you are not going to do that and on 80m wide grid roads, you’re not going to do that either.
“Please do not do this, this is bad.”
Cllr McLean said the council should wait for the Government’s decision on the infrastructure funding, which is expected in the autumn.
The council’s Cabinet member for transport and planning, Cllr Martin Gowans (Lab, Bletchley East), said: “I feel very sorry for John Bint in many ways. There is very little that you are satisfied with, which says more about you. It is silly.”
He called Cllr Bint’s comments “unpersuasive” and added that the document was going to consultation to gather comments and opinions which would then be considered.
Cllr Gowans considered Cllr McLean’s to be “more persuasive” but decided on balance to launch a consultation exercise that would end on October 16 to give parish councils enough time to have their say.
After the consultation finishes, a final document will be presented to the council’s Cabinet for a decision.