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First business-based neighbourhood plan poll success

by on May 13, 2015

England’s first part business-based neighbourhood plan passed muster last week following a referendum organised on the same day as the general and local elections.

The neighbourhood strategy – known as the Central Milton Keynes Alliance Plan 2026 – had taken two years to organise by a voluntary alliance of local businesses and community groups.

A core policy for the 50-hectare area is to retain the original, successful layout of Central Milton Keynes (CMK) with its tree-lined boulevards, open spaces, safe pedestrian routes and a presumption that new buildings over eight storeys high will need to be considered against very strict criteria.

Other policies support a major university, new community and sports facilities, new public transport shuttle service, market hall, civic square and a new boating marina.

In related but separate moves, outgoing Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has decided not to contest legal challenges to two decisions he made in appeal cases relating to areas with emerging neighbourhood plans.

Last year Pickles refused permission for a 350-home development to the north east of the Wiltshire town of Devizes and 100 homes on the edge of the Staffordshire village of Rolleston on Dove.

Both appeals involved proposals which had been recommended for approval by a planning inspector in a neighbourhood planning area without a demonstrable five-year supply of housing land. In both cases, Pickles had decided that allowing the appeals would undermine the neighbourhood planning process.

Both appeals will be remitted for re-determination by Pickles’ successor as Communities Secretary Greg Clark.

Also last week a High Court judge decided that Pickles acted contrary to national planning policy by allowing an emerging neighbourhood plan to become the determining factor in his decision over a 120-home scheme proposed by developer Woodcock Holdings in the mid-Sussex village of Sayers Common. The appeal will now be re-determined.

View ‘The CMK Business Neighbourhood Plan’

Roger Milne

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