The Romance of the Open Road – starring Milton Keynes!

Today, one of the finest buildings in Central Milton Keynes is one of its shabbiest. Yet beneath the grime and graffiti the original Central Bus Station near Station Square still shines. It sings of the open road and the thrill of the future because, after all, this was Milton Keynes. In Britain’s most ambitious garden city even a bus station; even the grid roads, would be both beautiful and highly efficient.

The original Central Bus Station, Milton Keynes

The original Central Bus Station, Milton Keynes

The Bus Station was designed by architects at Milton Keynes Development Corporation and shortly after opening in 1983 judges at the Structural Steel Design Awards praised its “scale, form and structure” which were of “particular importance to identify the building” and create an exceptionally attractive roofscape.

After most buses were re-routed into Station Square the Bus Station had a spell as a night club and pizza parlour. Then it was reinvented as The Buszy, a community enterprise that offers somewhere for local youngsters to meet.


This fine piece of C20 architecture now sits in a sea of broken (granite!) slabs, but at least it’s being used. 

Bus station 13th May 2014 Bus station 13th May 2014

state of Bus Station today

state of Bus Station today

Perhaps one day the funds will be there to maintain the building, and the master-planned public realm of CMK, with the care and attention they richly deserve. 

Open roads, open skies - the character of MK

Open roads, open skies – the character of MK

Meanwhile, there is talk of a new bus interchange off Secklow Gate, near the Listed Shopping Building. Encouragingly, delegates to a recent community design workshop insisted this should be “beautiful”. Perhaps these original photos of our first bus station will point the way! 

bus station day scan0002

original interior


bus station day scan0003

2 thoughts on “The Romance of the Open Road – starring Milton Keynes!

  1. Peeka Boo

    I visited MK last month, I moved away 5 years ago but decided to see how the place has changed.

    I got off the train and was greeted by a shiny new load of bus stops outside the station, but I was meeting family at THE Bus station, so off I walked. OH MY LORD, what on earth happened to it? Its half burnt (a quick google sorted out my question as to why) empty, and run down. WHY?! If its structurally sound after that bus going up, why has it not been cleaned up? I hear complaint of places saying rent is too high, so why is this place empty?! and where do the bus drivers go for food and drink now? Its sad that this place is neglected now, and isn’t a great impression on tourists getting off the train are greeted by a burnt out shell

    1. xplain Post author

      Yes, it makes you feel downright ashamed the way the building, and area around it, has been abandoned to graffiti. I know the kids want somewhere to skateboard but to actually encourage them to write graffiti all over a fine building (and finest Cornish granite) is going too far. Other than that I wonder if you found anything better in MK since your last visit 🙂


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