Government paves way for huge Milton Keynes regeneration (UK)

The government has announced plans to create a new planning authority to oversee the regeneration of Milton Keynes, in what could become the biggest urban expansion in the UK for over 50 years. Around 70,000 new homes are planned for Milton Keynes, which would see the population of the new town double in size, overtaking cities such as Nottingham, Leicester and possibly even Liverpool.

The expansion would take the town eastwards, towards Aylesbury. The housing stock would be built at a far higher density than that currently seen in the city, which is considered to be an inefficient use of space as it draws its inspiration from a Los Angeles-style grid system.

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister unveiled proposals to create a new urban development area in Milton Keynes, and to hand planning power for that area over to a committee led by English Partnerships.

The proposals were outlined in a consultation paper, issued yesterday. The UDA will encompass a number of greenfield sites, some of which are already owned by English Partnerships. This includes land in the Oxley Park, Tattenhoe Park and Kingsmead areas of Milton Keynes.

The remainder of the land within the UDA is owned by four developers, who will have to work closely with the new committee. The board will have powers to compulsorily purchase land if necessary.

The committee will be known as the Milton Keynes Partnership Committee and will be responsible for “all major planning applications” within the development area. This includes commercial developments of over 10,750 sq ft, residential schemes involving 10 or more homes, and any application on a site of more than 2.5 acres. The local authority will retain all other planning powers.

On the committee will be two board members from English Partnerships, plus two independent private sector property experts, three representatives from Milton Keynes Council and three local strategic partnership members.

Isobel Wilson, Leader of Milton Keynes Council, commented: “A strong level of representation by Milton Keynes Council and local partners on the committee will ensure that sufficient focus is placed on building communities in Milton Keynes and not just putting up a lot of new housing estates.”

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