09 January 2004
Regeneration minister Jeff Rooker is to take control of planning in the Milton Keynes area as the government proposes to double the size of the town as part of its communities plan.
In what could be the largest urban expansion for 50 years, the government plans to build 70,000 homes in the area over the next 20 years. The town's population could increase from 210,000 to 400,000.
Rooker is to chair an 'interregional' committee to 'encourage sustainable growth' and push through the proposals, launched for consultation this week. The committee will also ensure that the local agencies, such as councils and chambers of commerce, work together in the Milton Keynes and south Midlands area, which also includes parts of Northamptonshire.
The committee will subsume the planning powers of English Partnerships and take over all major planning applications.
'One of the aims of the growth area is to prevent urban sprawl through managed and considered development, and the partnership committee will help make that possible,' said Rooker.