What’s wrong with Midsummer Boulevard, Central Milton Keynes?

And, importantly, what’s right? These questions are raised by a new exhibition in CMK this Friday and Saturday, 31 Jan and 1 Feb, followed by an intensive 3-day design workshop. The aim is to produce a blueprint for developing the city’s central boulevard, and since Milton Keynes is widely seen as the engine of regional growth, this could be a significant step.

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

Where Secklow Gate meets Midsummer Boulevard  at Market Square. The Listed shopping building in background. photo (c) Caroline Brown

For the first time, all the main landowners are getting together with local citizens’ groups, along with planners and Councillors from city hall, to look at the future of this busy boulevard, which runs from the train station through the main shopping area to leafy Campbell Park. Delegates will focus on the stretch from Midsummer Place, past The Point, the market and MK Gallery, to the edge of the park.

Some people may want to pedestrianise the boulevard or add a new civic square. Others may push for a futuristic transport link to whisk people through town. While others may be open to higher density development, as long as the city’s famous grid road system stays intact.

Almost a year to the day after the controversial Primark scheme to tear down Secklow Gate Bridge collapsed, the fact that developers and residents are getting together in itself could be seen as good news. Peace talks, perhaps, between factions that have often been at war.

The workshop is a joint initiative from MK Council and CMK Town Council.

“We are aiming high,” says Dr Rebecca Kurth, chair of CMK Town Council, in a piece on MK Web.”[we] hope the initiative will produce fresh ideas and more consensus about future development. Our aim is to draw up a ‘blueprint’ for developing the area that will help deliver economic, social and environmental benefits for local people, as well as keeping MK at the forefront of regional growth.”

If you are heading to CMK this Friday or Saturday, look out for the manned exhibition, where you can make your views known.

Fri 31 Jan & Sat 1 Feb, 10.00 – 4.00; in the atrium in Midsummer Place near Pret a Manger cafe. Also inside the shopping building (the centre:mk) between Marks & Spencer and Costa Coffee, in Silbury Arcade.

And why not drop a line to Xplain? We have been campaigning for quality development in CMK for years.

The three-day workshop starts on Feb 7th, and Xplain is attending, along with other citizens’ groups.

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