Milton Keynes Council in quagmire over warehouse approval

    MK Council is set to call in an independent investigator to get to the bottom of how it made potentially costly errors in a decision to allow a bigger replacement warehouse to be built in Blakelands.

    Not only have the developers, GUPI 6 Limited, launched an application for a Judicial Review in connection with the case but residents in the Yeomans Drive area are up in arms over how permission was given for the 18 metre high, 20,522 sq-metre building.

    Now this week, two committees have been updated on a council error that meant 13 planning conditions were left off a legal letter giving permission.

    The Development Control Committee had decided in January 2018 that it couldn’t refuse permission for a warehouse but wanted to impose conditions on things like hours of operation and lighting.

    A report to Thursday’s Development Control Committee will hear that councillors have requested that a review be undertaken in respect of the decision making process of the planning application. Now officers are looking at starting this review.

    At the same time the council has ordered that the developers turn off all external lights at night times. But the applicant has objected and there will be a hearing set and held by a “person appointed by the Secretary of State.”

    Councillors have been provided with confidential information relating to the costs of all the options, including of revoking the planning permission.

    In his report to councillors planning case officer Paul Keen says, “Councillors should note that officers are seeking a further counsel opinion on options available to the council, a copy of which will be provided to members by way of a confidential report in advance of the March 7 Development Control Committee meeting.”

    Tonight’s meeting of Milton Keynes Council’s Audit Committee has also been told, by Duncan Wilkinson, the chief internal auditor, that the council has identified “recent issues” that mean that an external review may be necessary led by a planning professional in order to address a wider scope.”

    Blakelands Residents Association, in a statement on its Facebook page says, “It is quite clear that MK Council have found something which is significant enough to request an independent investigation by an external planning expert.

    “This is good news for residents of Blakelands as we might finally get answers to the many questions that we have been asking!”

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