Covid vaccination centre in Milton Keynes to close this week and make way for works on 288 new apartments

The development will include a 33-storey tower block

By Sally Murrer
Monday, 14th March 2022, 4:14 pm

The building where tens of thousands of local people received their Covid jabs is to close as a vaccination centre, NHS chiefs have announced today.

No more vaccinations will be carried out at Saxon Court at CMK after this Friday, March 18, when all appointments and walk-ins will cease at 3pm.

The area will then become a development site for 288 new apartments, including a 33-storey tower block. It is one of several current projects from various developers that will total hundreds of new flats at the city centre.

Artists' impression of the new development at Saxon Court in CMK

Once owned by Milton Keynes Council, Saxon Court was home to the local housing offices for many years. It was declared surplus to requirements and in October 2020 the iconic building was sold off to real estate investors First Base and Patron Capital.

But within weeks the second wave of the Covid pandemic hit and, as the UK launched its huge Covid vaccination programme, premises were urgently needed for mass vaccination centres.

The 200,000 square foot Saxon Court building, with its separate entrances and exits in the heart of CMK, was deemed be the perfect and accessible place for such a centre.

In January 2021 the developers kindly 'loaned back' to MK Council the £15m building they'd bought just three months previously. On February 8 it officially opened as a vaccination centre.

Tens of thousands of Covid vaccinations have been given at Saxon Court

At the time, Marc Corbett, project director for First Base, told the Citizen: “We’re very proud to be supporting Milton Keynes Council and the NHS as they undertake this significant and important task. We have agreed to work closely with the council and the NHS, and be as flexible as possible, to support this historic and potentially lifesaving vaccine roll-out in Milton Keynes."

People aged 70 and over were first to be invited to the new centre and since then there has been a non-stop programme of jabs.

Today the NHS Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Clinical Commissioning Group (BLMK) announced: "As the national Covid-19 vaccination programme continues, and to reflect the changes in the number of being delivered from Saxon Court in Milton Keynes, this centre will close from 18 March."

Geraint Davies, Senior Responsible Officer BLMK said: “We are thankful to Milton Keynes Council for the support they have given to the vaccination programme with the use of Saxon Court. Now we are moving towards living with Covid-19, this change reflects the need to constantly review our facilities and the best use of premises to deliver the vaccine.”

The new development will form a vibrant gateway to Central Milton Keynes

Many community pharmacies now offer the vaccine through the National Booking System. Alternatively, people can still walk in to MK Dons or the Rainbow Pharmacy at the Open University. For opening times visit here.

Meanwhile First Base and investors Patron Capital will be pressing ahead with the Saxon Court development plans for the 2.35 acre site. Their project, to be named MK Gateway, was given planning permission by MK Council last December.

It will see the retention, refurbishment, and extension of the original Saxon Court building, which will save over 3,750 tonnes of Co2. There will also be spaces to work and socialise with the equivalent size of 19 tennis courts worth of publicly accessible space.

MK Gateway, will create over 2,000 new jobs, deliver over £300m in social value over the next 20 years, and provide opportunities for independent food, drink, and retail outlets, including workshop space for local SMEs.

The development is set to be the first in Central Milton Keynes to comply with MK Council’s affordable housing policy, with 31% of homes available for a discounted market rent.