“This is another proud first for Milton Keynes”: Referendum organisers reflect on historic night

Milton Keynes count
Milton Keynes count

Milton Keynes made history last week when the electorate voted “overwhelmingly” in favour of adopting the country’s first ever Business Neighbourhood Plan.

A pioneering plan to adopt a fresh vision for CMK was voted for by almost 90,000 people.

After five hours of counting up the votes, it was announced at stadium:mk on Friday evening that 89,801 people (84 per cent) voted yes in the residential referendum in comparison to 17,133 no votes (16 per cent).

While the electorate for the business referendum was much smaller, 88.3 per cent voted yes (356 businesses) and 11.7% voted no (47).

Dr Rebecca Kurth, chair of the CMK Town Council, said: “This is another proud first for Milton Keynes.

“It has been a marathon followed by a sprint, but neighbourhood planning is all about giving more power to local people and they’ve certainly risen to the challenge.

“As a small parish council we could not have achieved this without the commitment of local people and businesses, freely given, over two years.

“The late decision to hold borough-wide referendums was also a challenge but we now have a clear vote of confidence in the plan itself and the future of CMK.”

The plan will now be adopted by Milton Keynes Council to ensure that new developments are built in line with the needs and wishes of local people.

This includes the provision of more small, local shops, a new CMK public transport shuttle and more parking for commercial development.

The new plan also protects the city’s unique infrastructure, including its grid roads and open space.

Paul Hunt, Head of Branch, at John Lewis Milton Keynes, who co-chairs the Central Milton Keynes Alliance (CMK) steering group, said “This is a great result for the whole of Milton Keynes.

“Now we can move forward with clarity and confidence and create a more prosperous flagship for the regional economy.”