Planning development in Milton Keynes

How will the physical development of Milton Keynes be planned and managed over the next, say, thirty, forty or fifty years? It is quite complicated as there are three plans and one programme which which will determine where development takes place, what sort of development it is (houses, shops, employment areas, green spaces), how many houses are built and so on. CA:MK asked the MKC Officer who manages the development of the overall plan to explain the different plans and how they link together.  The four are Plan:MK, the Site Allocation Plan, Neighbourhood Planning and the Regeneration programme. They all play a part and below is an explanation of what part they play and how they relate to one another.

“Plan:MK will be the new local plan for Milton Keynes, and is prepared by Milton Keynes Council.  It will guide the future of the borough over the next 15 or 20 years, in terms of how big Milton Keynes will grow in that time, and what shape it will take, including new homes, shops, employment areas, schools, parks and other facilities should be built. Our last local plan made decisions in this same way about the big development area in the east of the city (Broughton Gate and Brooklands) and the development just starting in the west (on the west side of the V4 Watling Street between Crownhill and Stony Stratford).  We also have a document called the Core Strategy which is the document that currently guides the big decisions for where development happens in the Borough. Plan:MK will replace the old local plan and the Core Strategy, when it is finished, which should be in 2017.


We are still at the early stages of writing that new plan, and at every stage of the process we will talk to local residents, businesses, community groups, and lots of other organisations and partners, to help shape it.


During the Autumn, we will be asking all of these groups and individuals about the options we think there are for the growth of Milton Keynes, which they think are the best ways for the city to grow in the future, and what the overall vision for Milton Keynes should be.  The feedback we get from that consultation and engagement will help us to write the next stage of the plan, where we will ask for thoughts on the other policies that the plan will contain, including those that will be used when the Council decides on planning applications.  


The Site Allocations Plan is another document being prepared by the Council, which will decide on housing sites for the next 5 to 10 years.  These sites will be smaller than the big development areas that Plan:MK will allocate, as each be for between 10 to 500 homes, and are needed to make sure there is a steady supply of sites ready to be developed.


Neighbourhood Plans are prepared by local communities, through their local Town or Parish Council.  They are optional, but in Milton Keynes many parishes have decided to write a Neighbourhood Plan.  Neighbourhood Plans have to comply with the policies in the Core Strategy (and in the future, the policies in Plan:MK), but they are an opportunity for local communities to shape the development of their area. For example, the plan could determine where housing sites should be found in their area as is being done in Olney and Newport Pagnell.  Or the plan could include policies to guide the development of specific sites, for example the Wolverton plan.


Neighbourhood Plans have to go through public consultation, and then are examined by an independent person to make sure they meet certain basic conditions. If the plan is successful at that stage, it will then be subject to a referendum and if the local population voting on the plan agree, it must then be used in determining planning applications in the area.


RegenerationMK is the Council’s regeneration programme.  The Council is setting up a partnership with a private sector organisation who will take over the repairs and maintenance of Council housing and work with the Council to regenerate seven priority areas within the city. No decisions have been made yet about which order those areas will be looked at, or what the plans for those areas will be. However the Regeneration team and the private sector partner, when appointed, will work very closely with the local communities on the plans with lots of opportunities for everyone in the area to contribute and influence what happens.”