FOI request refused re controversial Primark for CMK


Xplain’s Freedom of Information request to find out if MK Council have already had talks to sell public highways and land for a hugely controversial plan to build a new Primark in Central Milton Keynes has been refused. Why? Because it’s ‘not in the public interest’ to know.

Excuse me? We’re not talking about building on a vacant development site in CMK – although there are plenty to choose from! No – we’re talking about building over Secklow Gate, the prime gateway into CMK, building over a popular outdoor market in Market Square, losing an outstanding feature of our Grade 11 listed shopping building, damaging the city’s famous grid-road system, chopping down umpteen mature plane trees, replacing safe pedestrian underpasses for barmy zebra crossings over the main bus route – the list goes on!

They have, however, admitted they’ve already had talks ‘in principle’ to sell off public land, ‘without prejudice’ to the planning application which will be determined (by MK Council) in January. But they refuse to say more, or when these talks began.

Could it be in case the talks might date back to the murky months of 2011 before we exposed the scandal of Secklow Gate Bridge? After that £1m fiasco came to light, it turned out that senior figures at MK Council had stepped in to ‘hold off’ repairs to the fire-damaged bridge in order to ‘consider’ this very ‘development option’. Even though their legal duty was to reopen the public highway, not keep it closed in case a planning application landed on the mat, and even though the costs of keeping the bridge closed were spiralling out of control. But of course, senior managers couldn’t have been expected to know that, could they?

Well, shall we contest the FOI refusal, and try to dig deeper?

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3 thoughts on “FOI request refused re controversial Primark for CMK

    1. xplainmk Post author

      Yes, good point, we can. Our complaint has been sent over to the acting head of highways to consider, with his response due 6 Jan. Interestingly, the previous head of highways, who was roundly criticized by external auditors for his role in the Secklow Gate fiasco, left MK Council a few months later leaving many unanswered questions about seriously mismanaged highways projects in his wake.Including Station Square, the new Coachway, the £100k footpath to nowhere at Elder Gate by the station and so on.

      Reply
      1. Dave Walmsley

        I presume all this valuable data is being compiled ready for use in the case for the opposition of the development. Going by the amount of drawings the architects have prepared they’re obviously serious about this and probably expect to bulldoze it through. I hope we’ve got some big guns on our side. This must not happen.

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