Win gave a status boost to city’s great Xscape

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IT’S one of Milton Keynes’ most iconic sites – being a visbile landmark from the M1 – but the Xscape building is much more than that.

Xscape is a business recognised as one of the very best in the new city at last year's Milton Keynes and North Bucks Chamber of Commerce excellence awards.

Xscape Management team

Xscape Management team

“Winning the chamber’s award for business of the year put us on a new platform as far as the city is concerned,” said Steven Gordon-Wilson, marketing and promotions manager at the venue in Marlborough Gate.

“People know us as a place to have fun but winning business of the year, which was really deserved, lifted our status in the community.”

Last year Xscape was a first-time entrant but scooped what they see as one of the top awards.

“We were expecting to have to sit on the sidelines for a few years so we were delighted to win,” Mr Gordon-Wilson said.

The statistics behind Xscape are staggering. The centre, which houses 40 businesses, seems to be almost recession-proof. An estimated 6-7 million people visit the site every year, putting it on a par with Blackpool Pleasure Beach, Madame Tussauds and the very top tourist attractions in the whole of the UK.

In 2006 it finished at the top of a poll of the most popular leisure venues in the whole country and remains there or thereabouts.

The building only had one vacant unit when Business Citizen paid a visit. And there was, unsurprisingly, a lot of interest in that.

The building houses a ski slope, seven restaurants, Airkix and retail units. It is marketed with the three key words, play, eat, shop. The venue’s management team consists of just five people, led by general manager Simon Morrison. He said part of being a good business is being a responsible part of the community and listening to local residents.

“The only way we will move forward is if we all work together.

“Local residents came to us with an issue involving litter, so we worked with the council whereby they empty the bins once a week and we empty the bins once a week.

“Part of being a good business is being a good neighbour,” he added.

Xscape is one of three venues vying to be the site of a casino in the new city, with a council decision due in November.

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