26 September 2017, Correspondent: Wendy Cornwell (01234 822206)
Bill Griffiths, Director at Milton Keynes Museum gave us an interesting overview of the new city’s development (yes – it already has a museum!)
Named after the village at its heart, it was planned to accommodate overspill from Slough and to have 50% private housing and 50% social housing. It has tried to learn from the mistakes and successes of earlier New Towns, so the very first stage was to build all the roads, underground pipes and cables, thus ensuring that the full quota of houses agreed were actually built – a very good idea!
There have been problems of course. Some of the houses built first (some designed by eminent architects) have had to be redesigned, replaced and updated. The public transport system is still evolving – the huge rise in car ownership was not foreseen and traffic is now so heavy that a ring road has been suggested.
However, in economic and business terms Milton Keynes is highly successful. Culturally, it would like a greater role as a regional centre and has plans for its own university.
Successful and exciting – or bland and disappointing? We were not told how its people would vote, but everyone else appears to have decided opinions on Milton Keynes: like Marmite and the EU, you either like it or loathe it! But it is here to stay and is planned to expand from 250,000 to 400,000, crossing the M1 in the process. Bedfordshire is watching closely.
This was the first lunch of our 2017 - 2018 programme and included a brief AGM, at which our audience of 55 re-elected the committee plus two new members.
This story was submitted by the ESU Bedford & Milton Keynes branch. Please click here for information on this branch and its upcoming events.