Labour-led Milton Keynes Council have made a renewed bid to Government to properly fund housing growth after a similar deal was blocked last year by the two Conservative MPs.
The Council is asking for the cash to be allocated as part of the Conservative Government’s upcoming budget, and for the Council to be given greater controls of strategic planning powers.
MK Labour would like to do a deal with Government to secure the unique character of Milton Keynes and take back control of planning from fat-cat developers, seeking to make sure the city benefits from growth by securing funding for vital infrastructure including grid roads, hospital capacity and schools.
The Council would also like funding and powers to build more social and affordable housing and reserve them for families with local connections.
The bid includes:
- A return of the MK Tariff that forward funded infrastructure, scrapped by the Conservatives in 2011;
- Powers to agree a long-term plan that stops speculative developments and protects the unique character of Milton Keynes, protects green space and tackles climate change;
- Guaranteed funding for extra hospital capacity, grid roads and schools to meet growth;
- Funding for the first stage of a Mass Transport system to take pressure off roads and parking spaces;
- Delivery of more social and truly affordable housing for local families.
The deal comes as the Conservative Government are pushing all local authorities in the area to agree how they will deliver up to a million new homes in the Oxford-MK-Cambridge corridor by 2050. MK are offering to build around 250 extra houses a year in that time, in exchange for the powers and cash to do it properly. The number of houses is around those currently being delivered in the Fairfields expansion area each year.
Cllr Peter Marland, Leader of MK Council, said: “We are making a bid to take back control of the future of Milton Keynes from developers and agree a deal that properly funds our hospital, schools and grid roads. MK Labour wants growth to benefit local families and deliver truly affordable homes for local people, not give powers and all the profits to fat-cat developers.”
He continued: “The Conservative Government wants a million new homes across our region by 2050 so the reality is the vast majority of this growth is already going to happen. It will be a disaster if people look back in 2050 and say ‘if only we had grown in a planned way and developed the infrastructure when we could have done, rather than having developers make all the decisions based on profit.’
The risk if we don’t agree this deal now is that when Conservative heartlands like Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire refuse to take housing it will be pushed onto Milton Keynes, forcing existing estates to be built up. I want a deal now to protect the unique character of MK into the future and deliver for local people today. I believe that trading a relatively small amount of extra growth will protect us in the long term, while delivering huge benefits for our population today.”
He concluded: “We had already agreed a similar deal last year but our two Conservative MPs blocked it at the last minute. The question now is; are they willing to swallow their pride and help us get a deal which protects MK’s unique character? Their rhetoric is all about ensuring funding for doing this, but ten years of a Conservative Government has seen funding and local planning powers eroded. Our deal reverses that. Will the Conservative Government allow us to take back control of our growth?”