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Milton Keynes growth quango in demolition U-turn

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The agency behind controversial proposals to double the size of Milton Keynes has turned its back on an 'insensitive' housing demolition programme.

The Milton Keynes Partnership Committee (MKPC), which is headed by former British Rail boss Bob Reid, had originally suggested a number of 'housing removals' as part of its plans to build around 13,000 new homes.

However, the MKPC has agreed to abandon its bulldozer policy following demands from a number of concerned city councillors. This amended 'vision for growth' is now expected to form the basis of the partnership's final submission to the government's consultation on the overarching South East Plan.

The move has been hailed a 'victory for common sense' by long-term MKPC critic Mike O'Sullivan, a former town planner who worked on the original Milton Keynes masterplan from 1974 to 1992.

O'Sullivan has been vocal in his condemnation of the MKPC's proposed expansion programme ever since it was first unveiled two years ago ( Milton Keynes plan is 'garbage'). He admits the 'bulldozer' u-turn has not come as a surprise.

O' Sullivan said: 'Why did it take so long for local councillors to squash the idea?

'[I] get the strong impression that Milton Keynes' expansion is being advised by people who need help tying their shoelaces.

'Why do highly paid consultants come up with such barmy ideas?

'Bob Reid should have told his consultants at the very outset to think again. The great concern and hurt that many residents have been put through thanks to him would have been avoided.'

Yet Reid believes the submitted growth proposals should be welcomed. He said: 'This is an important step forward for the city.

'This new vision for Milton Keynes presents an exciting plan for the future through the creation of a one-speed city where all citizens, not just those in areas of growth and change, can reap the benefits of major investment in infrastructure, educational facilities and the environment.'

by Richard Waite

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