Milton Keynes ranks top for green space

Good news during the lockdown as you take your exercise

By Clare Turner
Monday, 27th April 2020, 1:19 pm
Updated Monday, 27th April 2020, 1:20 pm

Milton Keynes ranks top for how much access people have to public parks and gardens, according to an analysis of dozens of towns and cities.

Research by the think tank Centre for Cities shows the varying amounts of space – inside and out – available to residents in 62 urban areas across Britain.

It says having enough room is important for people to be able to cope with the Covid-19 lockdown, and that councils should bear this in mind when considering social distancing measures.

Willen Lake (Google)

Milton Keynes residents had access to 47.0 square metres of public parks and gardens per person in 2018 – the most for any town or city included in the analysis.

The urban area with the least open space per person was Worthing in West Sussex, with just 3.9 square metres.

Nicola Hodgson, from the charity Open Spaces Society, said the disparity was partly due to a lack of legal requirements around what public outdoor space councils must provide.

She added: “The present restrictions on public movement have highlighted the importance of the accessibility of open space that is near to where people live.

“Going forward it will be important to ensure provision of open space is adequately protected.”

The research also looked at data on the amount of domestic space in different areas.

People in Milton Keynes had an average of 36.1 square metres of living space per person in 2018, according to the report.

This was just about on a par with the average of 35.5 square metres for built-up areas across England and Wales – roughly equivalent to the area of 14 double mattresses.

Andrew Carter, chief executive of Centre for Cities, said: “As we all learn to live with the lockdown, having enough inside and outside space is a real help for some people.

“But where housing is the least affordable, people are less likely to have access to their own space – either in a flat or house or in the garden.

“That’s something we know councils will be considering when they weigh up calls to close off green spaces.”

According to the group's findings, 18 per cent of people in Milton Keynes lived in flats last year, meaning they were less likely to have access to a private garden.