Time to ‘stand up and be counted’

The centre of Milton Keynes in all its glory!
The centre of Milton Keynes in all its glory!

A PASSIONATE city campaigner gave breakfast networkers a no-holds-barred wake-up call for what he believes is a threat to the future of Milton Keynes.

Theo Chalmers, who chairs the Urban Eden pressure group, told a meeting of City Breakfast Club that the ‘vision of Milton Keynes has begun to be destroyed’.

“Our city has been copied around the world,” Mr Chalmers told an audience of more than 100 of MK’s biggest corporate names at stadium:mk recently. “It has room to breathe, it’s a great place. But things have started changing.”

Mr Chalmers said Milton Keynes Council lacks the leadership and vision of the past. He appealed for business to get involved in local issues.

He claimed that a transport strategy due to be sent to the government in April was ‘300 pages of mind-numbing appallingness’.

“If they had any sort of vision they would have a tram strategy,” he said.

Instead he believes the removal of free parking in the city centre is a way of trying to force people onto an inefficient bus service. And worse, he said there are plans for lower speed limits, bus lanes and houses with no car parking.

Paul Davis of accountants Keens Shay Keens, a major sponsor of the City Breakfast Club, added: “We must all read these boring documents or we will get what we deserve.”

But Milton Keynes Council’s deputy leader, Sam Crooks, told Business Citizen that the authority was planning ahead for the future and having to think ahead, rather than staying with plans set up 40 years ago.

He said he would welcome businesses adopting a US-style of involvement, including funding in times of austerity in the public sector. “It’s time for businesses to step up to the plate,” he said.

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