Plan lodged for multi-£million Institute of Technology at Bletchley Park historic codebreakers’ block in Milton Keynes

A three-hectare chunk of Bletchley Park is set to be used to house a new high-tech Institute of Technology (IoT) for 1,100 students.

By David Tooley, local democracy reporter
Monday, 21st October 2019, 6:00 pm

Plans for the £26million redevelopment of the listed heritage site have been lodged with Milton Keynes Council. They detail the proposals for the site between Sherwood Drive and Whalley Drive, in Bletchley.

“The project is an amazing achievement for Milton Keynes College and of enormous significance for Bletchley and Milton Keynes,” say Anna McTaggart and Chris Cheuk, of GSS architecture, in one of numerous technical submissions to MK Council.

The South Central IoT will be one of 12 up and down the country, designed to enhance digital skills for young people.

Block D at Bletchley Park

The architects continue: “The Block D IoT will provide much needed education facilities, enabling people in Milton Keynes and the surrounding area to aspire to higher levels of attainment, in providing skillsets, benefiting local employers and creating opportunities for entrepreneurs to start up new business initiatives.”

If approved, the new IoT will re-use the Block D buildings for seminars, group rooms, an event space, student support, a cafe, and office space. Two extensions are proposed, including a hub space for presentations.

The plans also propose an extension to the existing single-storey car parking deck at Bletchley Railway Station, to “ensure that sufficient car parking is provided for the site.”

Block D was originally built in 1942-1943 to expand the efforts of code breakers like Alan Turing to break the German Enigma codes. The work of world-famous code breakers is believed to have helped greatly shorten the Second World War, saving countless lives.

The single-storey flat-roofed Block D building itself has a long central corridor with 13 wings and a plant room to one end. But it is derelict and empty at the moment, with signs of break ins, arson, and with numerous problems, according to structural reports submitted to Milton Keynes Council’s planning department.

The plan is to “integrate modern digital technology, with the historic fabric. It will retain as much of the character of the existing building as possible, whilst combining it with cutting edge technology and an inspirational work and learning environment.”