Bucks councils concerned by Milton Keynes' strategy of 'substantial housing growth' across border
In July 2016, the MK Futures 2050 Commission published its report ‘Making a Great City Greater’. The report, unanimously supported by Milton Keynes Council, included a recommendation to prepare a Strategy for 2050 which would take a long term view of the future of the city.
Milton Keynes Council has now published its engagement draft of the Milton Keynes Strategy for 2050 which sets the way forward. Milton Keynes Council states that people are at the heart of what this strategy is trying to achieve: "It is a strategy for everyone living in Milton Keynes today and all those that wish to live there in future".
Aylesbury Vale District Council (AVDC) and Buckinghamshire County Council (BCC) are very concerned at the decision by Milton Keynes Council to begin consultation on its ‘Milton Keynes 2050’ proposal at this time. This strategy identifies options for substantial housing growth over the Milton Keynes border into north Buckinghamshire. This proposal is not supported by either AVDC or Buckinghamshire County Council. Both councils believe that Milton Keynes growth aspirations could, and should, look first to be accommodated within the existing Milton Keynes Borough boundaries.
Angela Macpherson, Leader of AVDC, said:
“I am disappointed that Milton Keynes council is reaching into Buckinghamshire to realise its growth ambitions. AVDC already has its own ambitious plans for substantial new housing growth. This has been carefully planned within the ‘Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan’, after detailed consultation with residents and is currently going through the final stages of its examination by a Government Inspector. AVDC has not been involved in the conclusions of the David Lock Associates study which underpins the MK Growth Strategy for 2050 and the proposals are unhelpful. It will be for the new Local Plan for Buckinghamshire to produce and draw on evidence to inform the patterns and nature of future housing and economic growth across the county."
Martin Tett, Leader of Buckinghamshire County Council, supported Angela Macpherson’s views.
“It is important that the new Buckinghamshire Council, on behalf of its residents, challenges unwanted overspill from other councils. We are ambitious for Buckinghamshire, but any growth should be where we decide. We will do this in partnership with local communities. I’m sure it’s coincidental that MK Council plan to start their consultation period just as local Buckinghamshire councillors enter what is known as ‘purdah’, a period before elections when they are legally prohibited from most public comment. We therefore want our residents to know that this is not a proposal we will be supporting and indeed, believe should be firmly rejected.”