Next steps taken to plan the future of the city centre

The centre:mk, Midsummer Place and the Secklow Bridge Market.
The centre:mk, Midsummer Place and the Secklow Bridge Market.
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A Passenger Transport Hub, more multi storey parking and a new futuristic transport link were just some of the suggestions put forward by during a workshop to discuss the future of Midsummer Boulevard East.

A group of 80, including members of the public, business leaders, councillors and campaign groups, met for the first time to talk about the 1km stretch between Midsummer Place and Campbell Park.

Linda Inoki from campaign group Xplain, was one of those at the meeting.

She said: “Xplain supported many ideas, but could not vote in favour of all, as we were concerned about some of the knock-on effects. We were the only group to prepare a plan showing how new development from the Food Hall to Midsummer Place could deliver much of what the area lacks.”

A number of ideas were put forward including relocating buses from Lower Ninth Street to a Passenger Transport Hub close to Secklow Gate, and improving Midsummer Boulevard for pedestrians. Improving the market, building 24-hour ‘short cuts’ through the main shopping area and encouraging variety in new developments close to the Food Centre were also highlighted.

The ideas will now be refined and investigated by Milton Keynes and CMK town councils.

Councillor David Hopkins, Cabinet member responsible for Strategic Planning, said: “This workshop has given us some very firm foundations from which we can explore ways to modernise and revitalise a significant part of our city centre.

“There was a high degree of consensus on the way forward, with some very ambitious yet attainable ideas to enhance the shopping and travelling environment and experience for people visiting this area and Milton Keynes, be they local or from further afield.”

Milton Keynes Council chief executive, David Hill, said: “I was pleased to be able to attend the whole workshop. It was a very creative and invigorating debate. While the workshop’s title focused on Midsummer Boulevard East, we also looked broadly at how we can improve the connectivity and use of all the facilities and attractions in the city centre, and how well-targeted investment could really enhance the appeal of the whole area.

“There now will be a period of technical analysis, and consideration, and any draft planning documents produced will be subject to full formal consultation.

“It’s the start of an interesting journey.”

Dr Rebecca Kurth, chairman of CMK Town Council, said: “I think we were all agreeably surprised how quickly the different parties in the room came up with similar wishes and priorities. As a result, we feel confident that this is a significant step towards giving developers more clarity on what people want, and creating a more inclusive, vibrant and attractive city centre for all.”