Old photo shows how Central Milton Keynes market was once packed with shoppers

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Sadly it is not so busy these days

An old photo has revealed how MK’s outdoor market was once a hive of activity at the city centre.

The picture was taken in the 1980s and shows the traditional red and white canopied stalls bustling with crowds of shoppers.

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There were dozens of stalls selling everything from clothes to cleaning products and a highlight of the week was the popular antiques, bric-a-brac and second hand market held on a Thursday.

This photo, taken in the 1980s, shows CMK outdoor market, bustling with shoppersThis photo, taken in the 1980s, shows CMK outdoor market, bustling with shoppers
This photo, taken in the 1980s, shows CMK outdoor market, bustling with shoppers

Today the market looks more downtrodden, comprising of rows of lock up units and, sadly, not so many customers.

The days-gone-by photo was published this week on the popular Milton Keynes Past and Present Facebook page, which has more than 35,000 members.

Poster Gavin Thorburn said: “It’s definitely not the market it used to be. I loved the antique day on Thursdays and also the old magazine stall...There’s nothing like that now.”

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One reader said: “The market used to be great with a good variety of stalls. It’s absolute c**p now, full of mobile phone stalls or nail bars.”

CMK market todayCMK market today
CMK market today

Another recalled: “I worked on the market when I was in my teens. It was like a big family, everyone looked after everyone else.”

Some people will remember a mammoth battle in 2012 to save the outdoor market from being swallowed up by development.

Primark wanted to build a new store at Secklow Gate Bridge and this would have involved demolition of the traditional market stalls.

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It prompted one of the biggest protests in MK’s history, with almost 21,000 people signing a petition in just three weeks against the plan

In February 2013, the scheme collapsed when Primark withdrew its planning application..

Opened more than 40 year ago, the market was run for decades by Bray Associates. But last year the Milton Keynes Development Partnership (MKDP), which is the business arm of MK City Council, announced it was taking over its management.

MKDP’s Special Projects Director Adam Sciberras said: "This has the potential to bring great social value and improve what is an essential resource for a significant proportion of Milton Keynes’ residents, particularly those with lower incomes.”

But he has not yet revealed what changes, if any, will be made in 2024.