Multi-million pound plan to dramatically change a Milton Keynes town centre is to be launched

A top councillor has given the nod to a dramatic multi-million-pound blueprint to transform central Bletchley over the next decade.

Wednesday, 18th December 2019, 11:50 am
Updated Friday, 20th December 2019, 4:17 pm

The Central Bletchley Prospectus (CBP) envisages accepting up to 250 homes per hectare, new railway station entrances, pedestrianising part of Saxon Street, developing derelict land and creating a link from Queensway to Buckingham Road.

Cllr Martin Gowans (Lab, Bletchley East), MK Council’s planning and transport chief, agreed to publish the CBP on January 3 at a delegated decision meeting on Monday (December 16).

It is seen by the council as a document to promote central Bletchley as a place for serious development investment. The CBP does not count as an official planning document – it is seen as promoting the town’s potential.

Could Bletchley be redeveloped to resemble this gateway to Oxford?

However, the council is planning to produce an official Supplementary Planning Document, which gets to the fine details of development policies early next year.

At the same time, the council is working on a bid for £25million from the £3.6 billion Towns Fund from the Government to help it get things going. The CBP is seen as central to that bid.

Background papers at Monday’s meeting speak of capitalising on “once-in-a-generation” opportunities to promote “urban renewal” within Central Bletchley.

They are comparing the what the town could look like to parts of central Oxford and Birmingham, and even to Utrecht and Delft in the Netherlands. There would be more public transport links, and support for cycling and walking.

The centre of Birmingham: one example of what central Bletchley could look like

Underlying it all is a belief that the East-West Rail project – linking Oxford and Cambridge via Milton Keynes – will give Bletchley the chance to become a nationally significant transport interchange.

This and the prospect of a new road, the Oxford to Cambridge Expressway, passing nearby will, council officers believe, make Bletchley very attractive to private sector investment. The early redevelopment of the town’s police and fire stations are seen as possibilities.

“Bletchley will have unique rail connectivity at the heart of the Oxford to Cambridge Arc, which, as recognised by the National Infrastructure Commission, has the potential to transform this area of England into a hub of knowledge-intensive industry that can compete on the world stage,” say the background papers.