Central Milton Keynes' open market to get colourful new shutters prior to 'major redevelopment'

As experts still ponder the future of the city centre’s open market, colourful new shutters for the stalls have been designed by artists.

By Sally Murrer
Wednesday, 25th May 2022, 2:41 pm

The artists were commissioned to develop designs for several of the market’s boring steel shutters.

They worked directly with traders to creatively interpret the stories, knowledge and global connections of those within the market and celebrate the value of the market for the community.

The new shuttters will be unveiled to shoppers next week, on May 31.

The new shutters of CMK's open market will be unveiled next week

However, the open market itself is still the subject of a “major redevelopment exercise” by owners Milton Keynes Development Partnership (MKDP), the business arm of MK Council.

They want to transform it into a “vibrant, future-proof destination” and have appointed a specialist company called Activate to seek a development partner for the process.

Activate are placemaking professionals who advise on the regeneration of town centre locations nationally, along with the “repurposing of specific assets” and enlivenment of a range of destinations.

Tenders to find a development partner are expected this summer. Meanwhile an instant facelift will come in the form of the new shutters.

This is how the market looks currently

The artists were selected through MK Gallery and community-focused design studio RESOLVE Collective. They are Bernicer Sekyere, Esther North, Saint Akua, Lisa Price, Rachael Presky, Robin Clements and Sâde Popoola.

Roisin Callaghan from MK Gallery said: “This project is particularly special because it is deeply rooted in the local community. The open market has been here since the birth of Milton Keynes. The artists all have strong links to MK.

She added: “Everyone involved has been so positive and collaborative and soon we will all be able to enjoy the new shutter designs which will, over time, be another layer in the cultural heritage of this incredible market place.”

Milton Keynes open market has more than 100 stalls and attracts shoppers and traders from as far as London and the Midlands.

Teresa Lane, interim special projects director at Milton Keynes Partnership said: ‘MKDP funded this initiative as part of our investment in the market, which has so far included painting and better lighting underneath Secklow Gate.

"This exciting project aims to improve the appearance and visibility of the market with some shutters undergoing colourful and creative transformations.’