PlanMK allows ‘defence against speculative development' in Milton Keynes

A plan that sets aside land for 31,000 more homes in the borough is now just one meeting away from being fully adopted by Milton Keynes Council.

The council’s cabinet on Tuesday (March 5) rejected calls to look again at specific aspects of the document, saying they needed to get so-called Plan:MK in place quickly to stop speculative developments.

Google Maps picture of Milton Keynes

Google Maps picture of Milton Keynes

“All objections have been considered by the planning inspector,” said Cllr Mick Legg, the cabinet member for customer services.

“It will mean we have an identified five-year land supply that will allow us to defend against speculative applications.”

Cllr Pete Marland, the Labour council leader, said: “The time is passed for discussion of specific areas. We are not able to amend the plan unless we go through the entire process again.

“The question is just whether we send to council, or not. The inspector has found it to be sound.”

But that didn’t stop councillors and members of the public making their points about specific areas.

Cllr Alice Jenkins said there were “grave concerns” about the late inclusion of the South East Expansion Area, at the insistence of the inspector, which shifted housing sites from the north to the south of the city.

“It is breaching the railway line and joining the urban and rural areas,” she said. But she added that her Danesborough and Walton ward had seen speculative developments.

Cllr Rebecca Kurth, who chairs CMK Town Council, and Tim Skelton, of Milton Keynes Forum, are concerned at the loss of a site near Campbell Park as a site reserved for a major employer.

Mr Skelton said: “If the city is only half-complete we need sites for major employers. If another Network Rail came to us now, where would we put them?”

Cllr Legg responded, saying having the plan in place would protect areas such as Hanslope, from speculative development. And in Campbell Park Northside, a site had been reserved with outline planning permission for 10 years, “and nobody came forward.”

Cllr Marland said he thought there was a “lack of planning” in the national planning system. which meant that projects like East West Rail and the planned Oxford and Cambridge Expressway would come later.

“It’s a bit bonkers,” he said, but he added that the inspector wanted new sites included.

Plan:MK will now be considered for full adoption by the full council on March 20.