After 10 years quietly sprouting weeds the old Wyevale Garden centre site in Central Milton Keynes looks set for redevelopment. Aviva Investors and Abbeygate Developments have filed a new planning application to build 328 apartments on this prime site opposite Xscape. But they are not for sale. As more people give up the idea of buying their own home, or need longer to save for a deposit, the ‘PRS’ or Private Rental Sector is growing in popularity. One PRS scheme is already being built in CMK and this would be another. It is aimed at people who want a well-managed apartment building and are ready to pay for extras such as attractive lobbies and landscaped space.
The proposal is for two L-shaped buildings ranging from 3 to 12 stories in height. The ground floor offers flexible commercial space which would possibly attract independent outlets – something most people want more of in CMK.
There are clear similarities with Abbeygate’s ‘Vizion’ development, the younger sister of the notorious ‘Hub’. But crucially this new development would not eat into CMK’s unique grid layout, disrupting traffic and pedestrians and degrading the public realm. Instead, it would sit at a comfortable distance from heavy traffic, leaving the surrounding grid of leafy boulevards, ‘slow streets’, pedestrian and cycle routes intact.
The architecture is quiet and confident and although the 12-storey height on the corner of Secklow Gate and Avebury Boulevard might shock a few people this does, apparently, fit the Council’s Development Brief. Typically MK features include double-height colonnades to protect pedestrians from sun and rain.
A glassy, egg-shaped café looks towards the private courtyard garden which would be visible from the boulevard and occasionally be open to the public.
The materials are silver and dark grey brickwork with coppery metal panels. Most of the balconies would be flush with the façade which (among other benefits) reduces the amount of private clutter on public view.
To view the application go to MK Council’s planning portal re application number 18/01591/FUL