New bid to inject some life into ‘boring’ part of Central Milton Keynes

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The concrete desert that is Station Square in Milton Keynes could be transformed into a thriving community hub.

A council committee is this week being asked to consider allowing street traders, including food vans, and pop up stalls, to set up in the iconic square at the front of the city’s central railway station.

“Currently despite rail passenger numbers and proximity to offices and homes, Station Square has been described as unattractive, unsafe, bleak and boring in recent public consultations,” says a report to councillors.

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“The proposed food offering, landscaping and improved public realm are a direct response to the public’s suggestions for improving the Square.”

Station Square, Milton KeynesStation Square, Milton Keynes
Station Square, Milton Keynes | other

It adds: “The enhancements will introduce activity and bustle to the Square and invite people to spend greater time in it – encourage employees to get outside at lunchtime; entertain and occupy waiting passengers; support flexible working; and provide a social focus for residents, future students and visitors. In turn this will reduce the Square’s perceived lack of safety and sense of isolation.”

The change to street trading control is part of a project to transform Station Square, ahead of the 40th anniversary of the station, which opened in 1982, councillors are set to be told at Wednesday’s meeting of the regulatory committee.

Currently Station Square is in a general area of prohibition which includes all streets bounded by Portway H5, Marlborough Street V8, Childs Way H6 and the A5 trunk road.

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The councillors are being asked if they want to amend the council’s street trading restrictions to lift it from the prohibited area. If they agree then it would kick off a consultation process.

The city centre’s market, the shopping centre, and a location near Xscape are areas where the ban has been lifted.

The Milton Keynes Development Partnership (MKDP) has asked the council to support the move. If it goes ahead it traders will still need to satisfy other requirements such as food hygiene or licensing

MKDP is, according to the council report, planning changes that will include using space for live performances, public art, lighting and water features. There will also be new landscaping and grass areas, and benches with mobile charging points and free WiFi.

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The square will also be given a deep clean and have a cull of unnecessary signs.

Following any consultation an update report would be brought back to the regulatory committee with a view to retaining the prohibition, removing it, or making the area consented for street trading.