Snapdragon at PLMR recently held its latest ‘In Conversation With…’ event, an exciting series where we speak with key figures in local government about planning and development in their areas. Account Director, Natasha Kendall, spoke to Councillor Peter Marland, Leader of Milton Keynes Council and Portfolio Holder for Planning about the new Local Plan, designing sustainably and future growth for the city.
Milton Keynes has been recently awarded city status for the Queen’s Jubilee. Milton Keynes was originally created in 1967 as a ‘New Town’, to relieve housing pressures on London. Now, however, Councillor Marland argues that there is a sense that people who move to Milton Keynes want a better life for themselves and their family.
The Milton Keynes City area is likely to grow to 500,000 residents according to Cllr Marland, based on the current demand, but he expects that number to grow even further. Cllr Marland stated that Milton Keynes is a ‘pro-growth’ city, explaining that the Council want growth, and embrace growth, whilst carefully planning for it.
Cllr Marland began by discussing how Milton Keynes was the first Council to undertake a long term look at the future of the city, and put significant resources and funding into working with the community and developers, to develop a growth strategy to take them up to 2050.
Milton Keynes commissioned a study for their growth strategy and in order to combat the low levels of engagement that Local Plans usually face, the commission was chaired by all the political parties, as well as a young person’s representative.
The study received over 20,000 responses and was advertised within the local shopping centre and on social media. It was important that the study received a significant response from residents and therefore the Council used different methods to get residents involved.
Milton Keynes Council has put aside £60 million in funding in order to combat the cost of living crisis and help residents. Cllr Marland also discussed their council tax relief scheme for people on low income, pension credit or working tax credits.
One of Milton Keynes’ key goals is to become carbon neutral by 2030. The Council have set aside £500,000 to help with the cost of fuel bills, with Cllr Marland outlining how a substantial amount of this funding will go towards insulating homes in Milton Keynes, in order to ensure a consistent reduction in energy costs for residents.
Within Milton Keynes’ Sustainability Strategy, the Council outlines that moving forward the city will be looking to design with sustainability at the forefront. Cllr Marland spoke of the materials used on building sites, whether they can be re-used, and whether some materials can be replaced by other, more sustainable materials, as standard.
The webinar provided important insight into the future growth of Milton Keynes as it takes its first steps as a new city, as well as the key elements to bear in mind when considering developing in Milton Keynes. We are very grateful to Cllr Marland for his time and for sharing his thoughts.
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