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Milton Keynes' shopping centre withdraws expansion plans

Milton Keynes market traders
Image caption Milton Keynes' market traders had voiced concerns about the proposed development

Owners of Milton Keynes' Grade II-listed shopping centre have withdrawn all their proposals for a £40m extension, the council said.

Plans to demolish Secklow Gate bridge and build a new Primark store at thecentre:mk were due to go before Milton Keynes Council on Thursday.

On Wednesday, a plan proposing relocation of the market was withdrawn.

A shopping centre spokesman said "close discussions between the owners and local stakeholders will now continue".

Thecentre:mk was built in the 1970s and has more than 230 stores.

It is jointly owned by UK property management companies Hermes Real Estate Investment Management Ltd and Prudential Property Investment Managers Ltd, who were due to finance the project.

As well building a new store, they wanted to move the market, which currently stands under Secklow Gate bridge, to another location at the centre.

Last week, council officers recommended planning permission for the whole project be refused.

BBC Three Counties Radio's Political Reporter said: "It is thought the owners are now considering whether to resubmit the application, following the negative council officers' report."

'Common sense'

The planning application to extend the shopping centre by 90,000 sq ft was submitted to Milton Keynes Council in August.

Linda Inoki, from campaign group Xplain, who had called the plans a "disaster", said their withdrawal was "the best possible news for Milton Keynes".

She said: "It is a victory for common sense and democracy.

"We know what makes the town special, we are not against change but against poor development that will destroy the town."

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