MK Referendum to make History

MK Dons Chairman Pete Winkelman – photo courtesy of MK Citizen

Milton Keynes could make history on May 7th when 180,000 people and over 1,000 businesses across the entire Borough get to vote on the future of Central Milton Keynes. After more than two years in the making, this is Britain’s first ever Business Neighbourhood Plan to go to a ‘yes/no’ vote. If the Plan passes at referendum it will act as the blueprint for developing CMK over the next decade.

However, voter awareness of the referendum appears to be very low. Pete Winkelman, chairman of MK Dons, is concerned this will lead to a low turnout and is urging voters to get involved. He is quoted in the Milton Keynes Citizen today as saying “It’s brilliant that everyone in MK gets to vote in the referendum. MK loves to be first and we can make history on May 7.”

Rebecca Kurth, Chair of CMK Town Council, says “The Plan has hit a perfect storm. Voters are focussing on the General and Local Elections, not realising that there is a borough-wide referendum as well.  With only 3,000 residents in the CMK parish, it is well beyond our limited resources to publicise the Plan to 180,000 voters. It’s very worrying because it’s so important that everyone knows about it and makes an informed decision on 7th May. ”

Paul Hunt, Head of Branch for John Lewis MK, who helped prepare the plan, says “CMK is now at a turning point. A thriving centre helps all families, workers and businesses across the wider MK area. Wherever people live in Milton Keynes, the future of CMK is important.”

CMK Town Council has produced 4-page summaries of the CMK Business Neighbourhood Plan which MK Council is helping distribute to local libraries. Local residents are also doing their bit to spread the word via social media and simply word of mouth.

2 replies
  1. John Kent
    John Kent says:

    This is obviously an important decision and I will be voting. However, it’s actually quite difficult to understand exactly what the vote is for, especially when trying to decipher the words on the voting paper. I assume that the vote, if YES, is to support the local business neighbourhood plan and to encourage MK Council to adopt it. What I fail to understand is why MK Council would not follow and respect the plan in any event without the need for a referendum. And if the vote goes NO then what happens?

    • Thomas Walker
      Thomas Walker says:

      I appreciate your confusion and will try to explain it as best I can. The reason MK Council wouldn’t follow it in the event of a ‘no’ vote is that it is not their plan. It’s a plan that has been put together by an alliance of CMK Town Council and various local organisations in CMK, together with input from local residents. In the event of a ‘yes’ vote, MK Council will be required to use the plan when determining future planning applications in CMK. In the event of a ‘no’ vote, the current planning guidance will remain in place, meaning that developments will not be required to adhere to the principles of the plan, such as maintaining the Boulevard/Gate structure, for example. I hope this clarifies things somewhat, but please feel free to write to us with any further questions, as we are very keen to make sure people fully understand what they are voting on when the referendum day comes around.

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