Contracts to be used to bolster economy against 'deepest recession we have ever seen'

    Council contracts will be used to help support local businesses and people as Milton Keynes heads into a deep recession, a meeting was told.

    Milton Keynes Council spends tens of millions of pounds every year on various projects and this week councillors agreed to make progress on two big housing projects.

    “It’s really important as we enter a recession to use opportunities for spending to support the local economy,” said Cllr Emily Darlington (Lab, Bletchley East) at a delegated decisions meeting on Tuesday.

    “We are likely to see the deepest recession we have ever seen.”

    The system of delegated decisions at MK Council is used so members of the Labour cabinet can decide issues in public.

    And on Tuesday, Cllr Darlington, the elected head of public realm in the city, decided to start the process of appointing a contractor to built houses on a site at Cripps Lodge.

    A proposal to build 66 houses on the former mental health and social care site is due to made in the summer and the council has not yet approved spending £15 million on the project.

    But Cllr Darlington said she wants to be ready to go as and when a planning application is approved, and after approval is given to spending the money. If spending is not approved, they will update their plans.

    The council has a policy of building 500 new council homes and they want to make sure decisions are made in advance.

    Cllr Darlington added that the idea is to not only achieve value for money but to make sure that as much as possible is spent on improving the skills of local resdidents, and on putting as much as possible back into local suppliers.

    On the same evening, Cllr Carole Baume (Lab, Woughton & Fishermead) the elected head of economy and culture, agreed a £1.4 million plan to find a design team for the regeneration of the Fullers Slade estate.

    The council says it needs a design team to make progress on a planning application for the multi-million pound regeneration plan. The application is due to be submitted next year.

    In December 2019, residents overwhelmingly voted for a proposed scheme to build 369 new homes and demolish 58 existing homes.

    A separate decision is due to be made next month on releasing the money. It is due to use cash from the council’s housing revenue account.

    Cllr Baume said the aim was to “where possible” to appoint consultants who would give the council not only value for money but to growing skills in the regeneration estates through apprenticeships.

    “And through a supply chain that adds value to the Milton Keynes economy,” she added.

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