A brighter future for Milton Keynes as citizens take to the streets


A brighter future for MK. Image (c) Robert Rusin

A brighter future for Milton Keynes. Image (c) Robert Rusin

Brighter future image courtesy of Robert Rusin http://www.mkfive.co.uk/

2013 was a good year for Xplain as once again we took to the streets to save the best of Central Milton Keynes from the worst of development. 

campaigning for better development in CMK

campaigning for better development in CMK

On 21 Feb. 2013 the Primark scheme at Secklow Gate Bridge collapsed after our marathon campaign to save the heart of CMK from destruction linked up with the market traders. Hundreds of livelihoods would have been swept aside if, as seemed increasingly likely, the scheme had been approved. The result was the biggest public outcry in MK’s history. Nearly 21,000 people signed the petition to save the area from demolition in just three weeks, and at the last moment, the applicant withdrew their plans.

Saved! Secklow Gate Bridge, Market Square and the Listed shopping building.

Saved! Secklow Gate Bridge, Market Square and the heart of the Listed shopping building were due to be demolished for a new Primark which could have been built just yards away on a vacant site. photo (c) Caroline Brown

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traders fighting for their home of 30 years in Market Square

lobbying to protect our city centre in the Council chamber Feb 2013

lobbying to protect our city centre in the Council chamber

Milton Keynes Market

people power wins major victory over corporate greed

On the same day, we also helped defeat a plan to build shops over a pedestrian and futuristic transport route at Midsummer Boulevard. For a town centre famously designed for innovation and free movement, this would have been another betrayal of the city’s future for short-term, private profits. Fortunately, MK Council listened, and roundly dismissed the plans at Misdummer Place due to poor access and bad design.

Barrett’s Beastly Barracks: MK Council also threw out a shabby housing scheme slated for a prime city centre site, after we helped raise awareness of its poor layout and design. Barrett’s Barracks Witan Gate elevations

MK Market – Open to the World! In August, traders staged the first ever celebration of MK Market, with a lot of willing volunteers from the local community including dancers, musicians, and chefs. The day was a great success and looks set to be a regular fixture.

MK Market Celebration

MK Market Celebration, Aug 2013. Photo (c) Anne-Louise Mellor

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Chinese fan dancers celebrate community life in CMK

MK Market is now recognised as an Asset of Community Value

MK Market is now officially recognised as an Asset of Community Value

What next?

CMK is set for major growth, but we can still live up to the dream of a ‘city in a forest’. Most residents value the open spaces, leafy boulevards and convenience of Milton Keynes as it was originally designed. Xplain is here to remind politicians and developers to respect these public assets as the city grows.   

In Feb 2014 we will take part in an intensive, 3-day design workshop, looking at future development in and around Midsummer Boulevard. The workshop is a joint initiative from MK Council and CMK Town Council/CMK Alliance, and is another welcome move away from the piecemeal development that has been threatening our carefully planned city for too long.

Exif_JPEG_PICTURENeil Higson, former Chief Landscape Architect for MK Development Corporation, leading our walk in Campbell Park

Walks for 2014

After our recent successful walk through Campbell Park, led by its original landscape architect Neil Higson, Xplain is planning a series of guided walks in CMK. This is a chance to explore MK’s architectural and artistic heritage.

discovering public art in CMK

discovering public art in CMK

Xplain walk in Campbell Park, with impromptu litter-pick!

Xplain walk in Campbell Park, with impromptu litter-pick!

If you want to hear more, please contact us via. 

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