As I write this round up, many of you will have just attended the long awaited Rod Stewart concert at the Stadium MK last night (4th June), and some of you were probably at the Take That concert a couple of weeks ago – a few of you were probably at both! I hear that both gigs were just out of the top drawer, and hopefully there will be many more to follow at Stadium MK. And just as good, whilst on the subject of our Stadium MK, in early May, MK Dons secured promotion to League 1, which should hopefully increase attendances at matches next season as the team progresses.
More good news in Milton Keynes this week, when Santander announced that they would be providing £30 million of funding for the infrastructure and development of the new MK:U Milton Keynes University. Santander have already announced that they will be developing their new £150m campus, in the city centre, just along from the site of the new University, and I’m sure there are going to be plenty of future tieups, as both buildings are developed in the coming years.
As mentioned in previous round ups, Plan MK was adopted a month or so ago, and that adoption is being factored into the thinking that is going into the joint Strategic Growth Study from Milton Keynes, which is part of the MK Futures 2050 project. This takes into account the prospective development plans in respect of neighbouring councils, including South Northants, to see how Milton Keynes fits within their thinking. Many of these councils have larger targets for housing development than MK, and bearing in mind the current scenario that 60% of the working population in Milton Keynes comes in from outside of the borough, this is going to further exacerbate challenges in terms of development within the region. The thinking therefore has to be extended beyond the infrastructure commission report, which refers to the Cam MK Ox arc, hence the need for the Growth Study, which will consider factors including the location of employment areas, transport systems and infrastructure and the possible development of mass transit systems, as well as the expressway; the routes for which will be opened up in a discussion in the autumn of this year.
If you are interested in the current thinking, MK Futures 2050 commission are holding an exhibition in Middleton Hall between Thursday 4th July to Sunday 7th July, at which they will show the plans for:
- The growing the population of MK to 500,000 by 2050
- The shortlisted designs for the new MK: U university
- Looking at transport and new mobility
- The future of CMK and the CMK Renaissance plan
- The Creative and Cultured city, focused on the Festival of Creative Urban Living, which is about to take place.
At our recent City Breakfast get together, our guest speaker was Pam Gosal, Head of economy and culture at Milton Keynes Council. Pam been responsible for numerous areas within the council, including Invest Milton Keynes. Pam and her team have recently completed the Local Economic Assessment for the council during the early part of May, and they presented this to us at the City Breakfast meeting on 5th June.
Assessing the economic success of Milton Keynes seems a relatively easy job, but as we know from previous presenters at our City Breakfast networking group, including the Centre for Cities, the underlying tone and trends of the economic progress of MK need to be fully understood in the context of the headline success story. Whilst our current employment rates are low and apparent pay levels of our residents are good, the provision of high-quality employment opportunities, combined with excellent training, presents a continuous challenge if we are to encourage the brightest and best to live and work in MK.
Watch this fabulous video shown to us all by Pam. One of the fastest growing cities in the UK, this brand new video from Invest Milton Keynes shows why Milton Keynes is the place to Live, Work and Visit!
by Paul Davis