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Housing & MKSM

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MKSM (Milton Keynes and South Midlands Sub-Regional Strategy)

 

Background  (see table of proposed housing numbers)

The theory behind this strategy appears to be that the treasury has decided that the future success of the British economy is dependent upon the South East.  Therefore all energies must be concentrated here. In February 2003 John Prescott published the Sustainable Communities Plan which called for an extra 200,000 homes in the SE in addition to the existing plans for growth areas; Ashford in Kent, Thames Gateway, Milton Keynes & South Midlands, Peterborough, Stansted, M11 Corridor and Cambridge. England is now divided into different regions.  These new homes are supposed to be sustainable communities; “that are well designed attractive places where people will want to live and work now, and in the future”.  We are in the East of England Regional Assembly, Milton Keynes is in the South East and Northampton is in the East Midlands.  The three regional assemblies, with John Prescott’s office (office of the Deputy Prime Minister, which is called ODPM for short), produced a plan for this Sub-region which covers from Northampton and Corby to Milton Keynes, Aylesbury, Leighton-Linslade, Luton, Dunstable, Houghton Regis and Bedford.   This was open to consultation last summer (2003). There were 1,600 responses and then the plans went before the Planning Inspectorate for a five week examination.  People such as councillors, developers, the Environment Agency and local groups were invited to discuss the issues.  Friends of the Earth managed to gain seats for most of the examination. The Panel then produced a report in August which was read by ODPM and then a new draft version was produced and this is what we have a chance to comment on by 23rd December.  The final draft, which will set in stone the plans for the whole area, will then be produced and the council will follow this by producing local plans to show the exact locations for the growth.

The rest of the East of England plan has only just come out in its first draft. The MKSM plan was rushed through so that they would not have to do a proper environmental assessment which is a new European directive.

The original draft had only the following comment on the environment; “there are no environmental constraints in Bedfordshire”.  The new version says that there should be much better public transport and plenty of green space but the only targets are for houses.  As for affordable housing and infrastructure such as schools and doctors, training and skills, there are serious uncertainties as to whether there will be anything near enough money from central government to cope with the demands of the new development. Also the whole project is focused on building airports and roads making it an unpleasant prospect as a place to live.

 

Where are the Jobs coming from?

Knowledge/science based industries or the expansion of Luton airport

 

Affordable Housing

 

Water

 

Transport

 

Greenspace & Wildlife

 

Sustainable Design

 

End of Local Democracy

 

 

National

Friends of the Earth

 

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