The centre mk continues to perform verbal acrobatics on the high-wire of truth. See this week’s MK News front page and website with the headline “Two sides prepare for war over MK Primark”.
Just how much are they offering to spend on this ‘investment’? Last December it was £30m. Now it’s £40m. They don’t say how much of the £30m (or £40m) would be spent tearing down Secklow Gate bridge, ripping out 50 boulevard trees, and making Midsummer Boulevard, the city’s main bus route, into a single-lane highway with a zebra crossing over it.
As for new jobs, last year it was 400. Now it’s 450.
How many jobs are at risk in the market? They don’t say. But the National Market Traders Federation is more forthcoming. They have warned MK Council that if the 220 market traders have to move from Market Square to the much smaller, inferior site proposed, MK Market would “wither and die”. That means an average of 390 jobs, and more than jobs, livelihoods, are at risk.
Yet if the centre mk would only turn their attention to the near-empty Food Centre, just yards away, which they also own, we could have it all – new jobs and old, public infrastructure intact, and a magnificent Grade 11 listed building left in peace. Oh, and for those that like it, a new Primark too!
Xplain’s Freedom of Information request to find out if MK Council have already had talks to sell public highways and land for a hugely controversial plan to build a new Primark in Central Milton Keynes has been refused. Why? Because it’s ‘not in the public interest’ to know.
Excuse me? We’re not talking about building on a vacant development site in CMK – although there are plenty to choose from! No – we’re talking about building over Secklow Gate, the prime gateway into CMK, building over a popular outdoor market in Market Square, losing an outstanding feature of our Grade 11 listed shopping building, damaging the city’s famous grid-road system, chopping down umpteen mature plane trees, replacing safe pedestrian underpasses for barmy zebra crossings over the main bus route – the list goes on!
They have, however, admitted they’ve already had talks ‘in principle’ to sell off public land, ‘without prejudice’ to the planning application which will be determined (by MK Council) in January. But they refuse to say more, or when these talks began.
Could it be in case the talks might date back to the murky months of 2011 before we exposed the scandal of Secklow Gate Bridge? After that £1m fiasco came to light, it turned out that senior figures at MK Council had stepped in to ‘hold off’ repairs to the fire-damaged bridge in order to ‘consider’ this very ‘development option’. Even though their legal duty was to reopen the public highway, not keep it closed in case a planning application landed on the mat, and even though the costs of keeping the bridge closed were spiralling out of control. But of course, senior managers couldn’t have been expected to know that, could they?
Well, shall we contest the FOI refusal, and try to dig deeper?
Here’s some potentially very good news for everyone who loves MK for its superb access and qualities of light and space (captured in the photo, hopefully) but who might like a bit more heart and soul!
The CMK Alliance has launched its new roadmap for developing CMK (including Campbell Park) for the next 15 years. A lot of residents attended the workshops during its preparation so you might recognise some of your own wishes reflected in the plans.
- retaining the city’s unique infrastructure
- space for a new Market Hall & community places near Secklow Gate (in addition to existing market)
- building lines to go back to their ‘classic’ position, keeping space for our trees, footpaths, cycle routes etc to flourish.
- new civic square near the Point
More info in the latest article in the Citizen:
Please check out the alliance website where you can read the plan a chapter at a time, or download the whole thing & make comments. www.cmkalliance.co.uk
It’s a meaty document but mostly written in plain English so don’t be put off!
This is Localism in action, and the more feedback we the public can give at this stage in the consultation the better.
Athough businesses are generally supportive, certain developers who want to build on Secklow Gate Bridge, Market Square etc are likely to be unhappy with aspects of the plan. For example, the very first policy states that the city’s infrastructure including boulevards, gates etc “will be retained.” That’s the default position. And although there’s a flexible get-out clause for truly exceptional developments, some developers may well wish to water this down so it’s easier for short-sighted, selfish developments to get through.
All for now