Milton Keynes business neighbourhood plan faces referenda funding hurdle

Proposals to adopt a business neighbourhood plan for central Milton Keynes have been supported by an independent examiner and could go out to referendum next year - if agreement can be reached about referenda funding.

Milton Keynes (pic Anders Sandberg via flickr)
Milton Keynes (pic Anders Sandberg via flickr)

A just-published report on the CMK Alliance Plan 2026 by independent examiner Jeremy Edge supports the plan proposals, with minor amendments.

But one area of disagreement is the exact catchment area for the householder referendum and business referendum that would be required for the neighbourhood plan's adoption.

Edge points out that the footprint for both votes must be identical and that while it woud be acceptable to limit their scope to the central area the plan would apply to, the importance of the central business area is such that the whole borough should get a say.

Milton Keynes Council, however, is worried about the cost and implications on running parallel borough-wide votes and is keen to limit the scope of the non-domestic ratepayer referendum but give all households a say.

In a report to councillors, it said that while grants from the Department for Communities and Local Government were available to support the cost of local referenda, the figures involved were around £30,000, while a borough-wide dual vote was estimated to cost in the region of £200,000.

A council spokeswoman said the authoritiy’s business lead had written to planning minister Nick Boles to highlight the borough’s concerns and request additional referendum funding.

"We are currently in the process of submitting additional information to them about this in order for them to make a decision on the funding," she said.

The examiner’s draft report can be read here.


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