Milton Keynes is set to DOUBLE in size, swelling to a population of half a million over the next three decades.
That’s the recommendation from the Government’s National Infrastructure Commission, as part of the Cambridge, MK, and Oxford ‘knowledge arc’.
It means that the city will became a “development location of national significance’ – and plans could start being drawn up as early as this April.
Veteran Lib Dem councillor Sam Crooks, who has watched MK develop during his reign, has welcome the NIC’s plans as “great news”.
But he has warned that enthusiasm must be tempered with caution.
“Growth means houses and jobs, two of the key elements in life. I hope that across the arc political and business leaders will seize the opportunity with the same sense of vision and ‘can-do’ that has so energised Milton Keynes,” he said.
But the building surge must not be allowed to turn MK into a two speed city, said Sam.
“Parts of MK need urgent regeneration, and this year’s Community Foundation Vital Signs report has highlighted health inequalities and child poverty we are not addressing.
“A significant proportion of the housing we build must be affordable, supported or specialist and we should argue for the expansion of the grid road system and the Parks Trust’s green infrastructure throughout the greater MK area.”
Sam recalls the days of 51 years ago when officials toured fields to envisage a city of 250,000 people.
“We are called to do that all over again – that is the magnitude of our challenge,” he said.
The NIC report states: “Key opportunities for growth over the next 30 years could include the re-establishment of Milton Keynes as a development location of national significance through intensification and expansion of the town to a population of at least 500.000 in line with local aspirations. This presents an immediate opportunity for growth.”