Would you tarmac this garden in Central Milton Keynes?


naturalistic landscape under threat in CMK

naturalistic landscape under threat between Norfolk & Ashton House in CMK


This tranquil garden is just minutes away from the busy shopping centre in Central Milton Keynes. In summer, blackbirds scuttle across the grass and in winter redwings hunt among the leaves. It is part of the original landscape designed for Ashton and Norfolk House; some of the best Modernist architecture in Milton Keynes.

This area captures the “less is more” philosophy of the founding architects who designed Central Milton Keynes as an organic whole. Their ambition was to create a beautifully clean, modern, rational layout for CMK, using a formal grid system, softened by greenery and a quality public realm. And it worked! Talk to office workers and visitors and many will tell you they appreciate this original part of CMK.

part of the original setting of Norfolk & Ashton House, CMK

part of the original setting of Norfolk & Ashton House, CMK

But the owners of Norfolk House want to turn the western garden into a private car park. Grass will give way to tarmac; open paths to barriers.

They tried this in 2012, in a bigger scheme which involved cutting down healthy oak trees. Xplain objected to the plans, which were thankfully refused. This time, no trees would be felled but the garden would be lost, and the scene dominated by parked cars.

The applicant says it is difficult to find tenants due to lack of parking. But there are a lot of empty office spaces in CMK. How will building 27 parking bays solve all his problems? Besides, on any weekday there are dozens of empty spaces nearby. These are mostly ‘red’ bays (£1.40 an hour) but purple bays (just 40p an hour) can also be found.

empty parking bays outside Norfolk House, weekday Nov 2013

empty parking bays outside Norfolk House, weekday Nov 2013

Please speak up if you want to protect this part of Milton Keynes.

Just email the planning officer with your views via mailto:anna.holloway@milton-keynes.gov.uk

Or post your comments on the MK Council planning portal. http://publicaccess2.milton-keynes.gov.uk/online-applications/

Search for Norfolk House or use application number 13/02276/FUL

This landscape captures the character of Milton Keynes. Please don’t let it be lost for want of an email!

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