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Milton Keynes aims to accommodate population growth in spatial strategy

Words: Laura Edgar
Milton Keynes / Geograph - David Dixon

Affordable homes, more green spaces and the creation of 120,000 jobs are just a few of the priorities set out in the Milton Keynes Strategy for 2050, which the council has published for consultation.

The spatial strategy aims to accommodate population for which the councils (South Northamptonshire, Aylesbury Vale and Central Bedfordshire) in the metropolitan Milton Keynes area cover to 2040, and then further growth up to 2050.

The population is currently 315,000 people, and the plan is based on steady growth to 500,000 people by 2050.

The area’s councils are planning for around 41,000 homes, the strategy notes, and the infrastructure that will be required to support them. The strategy is based on a “further steady growth of the population to 500,000 people across the metropolitan Milton Keynes area by 2050”.

Milton Keynes Strategy for 2050's six "big ambitions":

  • Maintain and strengthen the qualities that make Milton Keynes special, particularly our vibrant communities, our parks, lakes and landscape, and our network of grid routes.
  • Do whatever we can to ensure that everyone can have their own decent home to rent or buy at a price they can afford. Our young people, in particular, deserve this.
  • Grow our businesses, and attract new ones, to provide a good job for everyone who wants to work.
  • Make it much easier for everyone to travel around MK, particularly on public transport, on foot and cycle.  Our city will continue to be less congested than any other in the UK.
  • Provide better opportunities to learn for all – schools, colleges and universities – so that every citizen can benefit from our city’s economic success.
  • Reduce MK’s consumption of natural resources so that we will be zero-carbon by 2030

To accommodate this, 46,000 homes across the area will be needed in addition to those already planned for in existing and emerging local plans, which averages at building around 2,900 new homes a year across the metropolitan area – an increase from the 2,700 homes currently delivered a year.

Milton Keynes Council explained that the long-term strategy is “intended to inspire urban planners and investors to come up with more creative and well-planned ideas for MK – including innovations to help the city achieve its ambition to be carbon-neutral by 2030 and carbon-negative by 2050, and to build the right balance of health facilities, school places, community hubs and other infrastructure alongside new housing”.

The strategy seeks to make it easier for people to travel around the city with less congestion, aided in part by a mass rapid transit system to connect key destinations by electric powered trams.

The council is also aiming to create at least 120,000 new jobs by 2050 across metropolitan Milton Keynes, which it feels is the “best approach to gaining a high share of knowledge-based jobs and a range of wider employment opportunities that are suitable for all residents”.

Pete Marland, leader of Milton Keynes Council, said: “This strategy is about collectively ‘dreaming bigger’. Milton Keynes was built on grand ambitions and we want to recapture some of that spirit, to set some really great ideas in motion that will make a positive impact on people living here today and still keep giving 50 years in the future.

“It’s also about making sure Milton Keynes can change with the times. Fifty years ago no one could have predicted the impact of the internet, or climate change. We want to make sure MK stays ready for what’s coming next, with the right kind of flexible facilities.”

Milton Keynes Strategy for 2050 can be found on the Milton Keynes Futures: 2050 website.

Image credit | Geograph - David Dixon