Plans for two giant warehouses near Newport Pagnell rejected by Milton Keynes councillors

    Developers failed in a dramatic late bid to persuade councillors to let them build two giant warehouses on the outskirts of Milton Keynes.

    Milton Keynes Council’s development control committee decided not to allow SEGRO (Newport Pagnell) to build on an area of land bigger than 11 football pitches (81,293 sq metres) bordering MK and Newport Pagnell.

    Graham Pardoe, of Newlands Developments, wrote to council leader Pete Marland, in no uncertain terms in advance of Thursday’s meeting.

    He said: “It would be a great shame and telling indictment of Milton Keynes’s attitude to economic development and alignment with central Government’s endeavours to drag the nation out of the impending recession, if a rigid policy interpretation were to result in the refusal of a perfectly acceptable employment scheme, which will come forward anyway.

    “We have made it very clear to officers that if our application is delayed any further or refused, we will be appealing the application immediately. We sincerely hope that this will not be necessary and that the council will come to a favourable decision.”

    Cllr Marland (Lab, Wolverton) told a meeting on Wednesday that the application was not in line with the council’s policies, but the decision was for the development control committee.

    Thursday’s meeting of the development control committee heard that the planning department’s main case against the warehouses is that it is not ready just yet.

    The 19.3 hectare Trivial Pursuit-shaped wedge of land is part of a 105 hectare site that is earmarked for employment land.

    Set perpendicular to one another, one warehouse would be about 21 metres (68 ft) in height. The other would be 18 metres (59 ft) in height.

    MK Council is waiting for Government money to build the infrastructure, and doesn’t yet have a masterplan in place. Planning officers therefore recommended the application for refusal.

    The developers are frustrated over the time it has taken and fear the red tape will lose jobs and investment.

    A range of objectors spoke at Thursday’s (June 18) meeting, including Newport Pagnell resident Chris Wardle who said the development would lead to longer journeys into work.

    And Cllr Nigel Richards, the deputy chair of Moulsoe Parish Council, said the application was “premature” and that the infrastructure should come first.  He said there is plenty of land available in nearby towns.

    “There is no sound basis for a development that would be poorly integrated,” he said.

    Two Conservative councillors for Olney ward, David Hosking and Peter Geary also spoke against the plan.

    Cllr Geary claimed that “very large sheds employ few people” and that the council should be using the land to attract more employment.

    The developers declined their right of reply.

    Councillors from across the political divide were united in rejecting the application.

    “We are in violent agreement with each other and the officers and in violent disagreement with the developers,” said Cllr John Bint (Cons, Broughton).

    The councillors voted unanimously to reject the scheme.

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