Parking still uncertain as developer submits plans for 288 more flats at Central Milton Keynes

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One of the blocks will be 34 storeys high

Major redevelopment plans valued at £180 million have been put to the council – but parking is still uncertain.

Developers First Base, and investors Patron Capital have submitted to Milton Keynes Council plans for land connected to former council building Saxon Court, on Avebury Boulevard, in Milton Keynes.

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A new planning application details the ‘erection of two blocks (the Shed and the Village) to the rear of Saxon Court – and the refurbishment and extension (up to three storeys) of the Saxon Court building, for up to 288 rental apartments’.

Artists' impression of the new developmentArtists' impression of the new development
Artists' impression of the new development

The multimillion-pound redevelopment scheme, also known as ‘MK Gateway’, will also boast offices and workshop space, a restaurant, a café, and new retail and leisure facilities, according to a council website.

The original Saxon Court building will be turned into a “Knowledge hub”, while the Shed is intended for local businesses, and the Village will showcase the “future of urban living” with 11 vertical gardens at 4,500 sq ft, according to developers.

The existing atrium will become an indoor public square with food, drink, and leisure, connected to an outdoor ‘village green’.

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Of the two blocks proposed, one will be up to 34 storeys high, the other three storeys.

Saxon Court is a former council building, latterly used as a vaccination centre and for election counts. Milton Keynes Council sold off the site in October 2020.

In February, developers were quizzed about why the scheme would not come with its own parking. Former councillor John Bint said at the time proposals for a commercial operator to use empty spaces at the South Row parking area were “contrary to conventional readings of our policies”.

He added that when parking ‘returns to normal after Covid’, Milton Keynes will not have enough spaces to meet its expected needs.

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At the time, a First Base representative said if the Saxon Court site had to take parking as well “you would destroy the public realm”.

There is no mention of parking in the developer’s press release.

More than 6,000 responses were received during a consultation on the scheme.

Developers said 31 per cent of homes will be for “discounted market rent”. It also said the scheme would create more than 2,000 jobs.

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It claimed MK Gateway would mean upward of £300 million in “social value over the next 20 years”.

“We are thrilled to have submitted our proposals for this iconic site, which will deliver new jobs, homes and new spaces for local people to enjoy,” said First Base project director, Steve Eccles.

Planning officers will now decide what becomes of the application.