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Milton Keynes plans need time to grow

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I refer to your article 'Milton Keynes plan is garbage' (AJ 29.7.04) that contains a number of inaccuracies.

The Milton Keynes Partnership Committee (MKPC) came into being on 7 June 2004 as the body charged by government with overseeing and driving forward the sustainable growth of Milton Keynes. Its first task has been to determine its targets for the next five years and to progress and implement the growth plan already initiated by English Partnerships.

Under the Sustainable Communities Plan, English Partnerships secured more than £500,000 of funding for growth-related studies. Consultant Halcrow is currently reporting on the strategic infrastructure required to support growth in the expansion areas allocated in the Local Plan and on the appropriate land use of these areas. Following this work, the MKPC is about to commission a study into the future direction of growth that will lead to a long-term spatial development framework for the city.

Your article describes this action as a 'U-turn', which is untrue.

Plans to undertake this work were in place last autumn.

MK Forum chairman Mike O'Sullivan (who is quoted in your article) questions how the MKPC will be able to deliver growth without owning the land.

It is well recognised that the cost of acquiring all the land necessary to support the growth of Milton Keynes, either through negotiation or compulsory purchase, is beyond the public purse.

We are, therefore, working with the private sector and government on options to fund strategic infrastructure and these options are not simply based on Section 106 agreements.

The successful and sustainable growth of Milton Keynes depends on the work we have commissioned, both in planning for growth and working with developers and government on the funding of strategic infrastructure and community benefits. I believe the MKPC will be judged on the results achieved in its early years and have, therefore, commissioned a five-year business plan that will address the issues, some of which have been raised. This plan will be available in December this year, and it is then that I would welcome an informed debate regarding the initial work of the MKPC.

Bob Reid, chairman, Milton Keynes Partnership Committee

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