REFERENDUM: ‘Milton Keynes loves to be first - let’s make history’

MK Dons chairman Pete Winkelman
MK Dons chairman Pete Winkelman

Milton Keynes will make history on May 7 as it becomes the first place in the UK to vote on its future.

But in a major blow to the referendum, voters are admitting they do not know anything about the business neighbourhood plan - despite there being just one week to go until the big day.

Fears that the city could be left embarrassed at a low turn out, Pete Winkelman, chairman of MK Dons, is encouraging voters to get involved.

Mr Winkelman said: “It is a unique chance to create a more lively town centre with real heart and soul, and that’s why I’m backing it.

“It’s brilliant that everyone in MK gets to vote in the referendum. MK loves to be first and we can make history on May 7.”

CMK’s Business Neighbourhood Plan is a blueprint to guide the development of the centre over the next decade. Its ambition is to make CMK a confident, prestigious and more inclusive city centre – the proud flagship for everyone who lives and works in Milton Keynes.

“It is a unique chance to create a more lively town centre with real heart and soul, and that’s why I’m backing it.”

Pete Winkelman, MK Dons chairman

After more than two years in the making, this is Britain’s first ever plan to go to the vote. However, although MK Council is responsible for organising the referendum, it did not produce the plan, and has limited obligation to publicise it.

Rebecca Kurth, Chair of CMK Town Council said: “The Plan has hit a perfect storm.

“Voters are focusing on the general and local elections, not realising that there is a borough-wide referendum happening as well.

“This is also the first time where the whole borough can vote on a neighbourhood plan, not just the parish or ‘neighbourhood.’

“With only 3,000 residents in the CMK parish, it is way beyond our limited resources to publicise the Plan to 180,000 voters.

“It’s very worrying because it’s so important that everyone knows about it and makes an informed decision on 7th May.”

The plan was ​prepared ​by an alliance of local ​people, businesses ​and voluntary organisations under the umbrella of CMK Town Council, the parish for the city centre.

CMK Town Council has produced four-page summary of the CMK Business Neighbourhood Plan which MK Council is helping distribute to local libraries.

The voluntary ‘Vote Yes for CMK’ campaign has produced a short video, available on the website www.voteyescmk or on their Facebook page.