A council leader implored objectors to work together to improve plans for 5,000 new homes to the east of the M1
Pete Marland, the Labour leader of Milton Keynes Council, formally confirmed a decision to accept a £94.6 million pot of Government money to pay for infrastructure at MK East.
A series of objectors lined up at a meeting on Tuesday (28 July 2020), including the chairman of a parish council who raised the possibility of taking their opposition to the courts.
Cllr Steve Walters, who chairs Moulsoe Parish Council, said: “The rural parishes do not trust you any more. If appropriate we still have the option of a judicial review.”
But Cllr Marland (Wolverton) said: “One of the things that annoys me as leader of the council is when people say ‘you haven’t engaged with us’.
“Actually we have but we don’t agree, or sometimes it takes longer to persuade people that what we want to do is the right thing.
“The council has engaged, we have learned lessons. Because people don’t agree doesn’t mean we haven’t listened, or made modifications.”
Cllr Marland said when people are given the “straight facts that this is inevitable, it will happen” then the choice was whether to make it a good development or a bad one.
He added that the council has been told by the Government that it expects the homes to be built, if possible before 2031. “The principle has gone, this scheme will be delivered,” he said.
“I implore Moulsoe Parish Council and others to work with the council because this scheme will happen.”
But Cllr Keith McLean (Cons, Olney) said he thought Moulsoe was a “sacrificial lamb” and the borough’s reputation was at risk by not listening to the people.
Cllr Sam Crooks (Lib Dem, Broughton) spoke about creating homes for the children and grandchildren of residents.
“If we are to create a city for our children and our grandchildren this is the first of a whole number of developments that we are going to embark on over the next 10 to 15 years,” he said.
“Not to do that is not going to create a legacy but something terrible for future generations who will have nowhere to live because we were not active in their interests.”
The plans include changes to roads in the Willen area and a new bridge over the M1 to link to the new community.
Government money means that the developers won’t have to pay for the infrastructure, so they can built 1,000 affordable homes and make greater payments for other projects across the city.
Central Beds Councillor John Baker (Ind, Aspley & Woburn) suggested that a potential housing site south west of Cranfield could form part of MK East.
He said the site, called NLP 190, had not been included in the Central Beds local plan because of a lack of infrastructure. Cllr Marland agreed to approach Central Beds Council over the site, which straddles the boundaries.