Revealed: Plans to turn shopping centre into huge mixed use high density housing development in Milton Keynes

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The proposals are due to be published next month, but the Citizen tracked them down

Plans are afoot to turn a shopping centre and large supermarket building into a very large mixed use housing development, the Citizen can reveal.

Today (Monday) MK City Council announced that residents would be given the chance to help decide the future of Bletchley’s Brunel Shopping Centre and the former Sainsbury’s site nearby.

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But the Citizen has unearthed the official draft plan, due to be agreed by the council this week, that already sets out the intentions.

The Brunel Centre in BletchleyThe Brunel Centre in Bletchley
The Brunel Centre in Bletchley

And the favoured option is to create a “well-designed, mixed use, high density development” - including housing.

The whole site spans 6.4 acres and encompasses the Brunel Centre, which is owned by the council’s ‘business arm’ Milton Keynes Development Partnership (MKDP), the former Sainsbury’s store and car park, Stanier Square and also the recently-closed Wilko store.

The draft plan states: “The redevelopment of this site will deliver a major investment within the town centre and, with the Bletchley Town Deal, be part of the transformational regeneration of Central Bletchley, taking advantage of the growing accessibility of Bletchley town centre to Oxford and Cambridge with the completion of relevant sections of the EastWest railway line.”

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It adds that the redevelopment could include office-based employment space and new retail and leisure facilities.

The Brunel Centre in Bletchley was once a thriving shopping destination. Now all is set to changeThe Brunel Centre in Bletchley was once a thriving shopping destination. Now all is set to change
The Brunel Centre in Bletchley was once a thriving shopping destination. Now all is set to change

"There is scope to build new homes at higher densities and above shops and offices to create a more vibrant mix of uses and support local services.”

Possible leisure uses are listed as “cinemas, restaurants, bars and pubs, nightclubs, casinos, fitness centres, bowling and bingo halls, hotels and conference facilities.”

The proposals would mean the Sainsbury’s store, now purchased by the council, would be “urgently demolished.

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"A survey undertaken by the council has identified extensive asbestos-containing materials within the building. These materials have been disrupted by vandalism and break-ins,” says the draft plan.

“Demolition of the building is urgently required as repeated vandalism is causing a health and safety concern.”.

The Brunel Centre itself was built in the 1970s by Milton Keynes Development Corporation, with architects intending it to become a landmark urban building similar to centre:mk.

“The result is not a great success,” states the draft plan. “The very modest earlier buildings are drained of personality by the forbidding presence of the later ones. Instead of a light and airy shopping centre like Central MK’s, the Brunel Centre” forms with its “dark and sleekly gasketed glazing, an impenetrable backdrop to the specially-created Stanier Square at the head of Queensway.”

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The plan is one of many currently afoot for Bletchley. The town will be undergoing significant change son with investment by the public and private sector, particularly East West Rail, which will connect the town to Oxford.

And the new housing will be in addition to the mini tower blocks of 250 new flats planned for the former fire station site in the town. This site is also owned by MKDP.

Council leader Pete Marland said today: “ “This is another positive step forward as we create new and better infrastructure and facilities for Bletchley and Fenny Stratford. We want to take the community with us every step of the way.

"By working together, we’ll deliver real change and a brighter future for Bletchley and Fenny Stratford.”