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4 July, 2006 - 11:54 By Staff Reporter

Milton Keynes the technology capital of the future?

Massive growth proposed for Milton Keynes will include a new technology park, university and East-West Rail line connecting Milton Keynes to Oxford and Bedford with a new station at Newton Longville and a rail spur to Central Milton Keynes.

Massive growth proposed for Milton Keynes will include a new technology park, university and East-West Rail line connecting Milton Keynes to Oxford and Bedford with a new station at Newton Longville and a rail spur to Central Milton Keynes.

The long-term vision for how Milton Keynes could grow to a city in excess of 300,000 people by 2031 has been submitted by Milton Keynes Partnership (MKP) as an advisory document to the Government’s South East Plan Examination in Public (EiP) Panel. 

A key aim of the vision is to grow Milton Keynes as a ‘one-speed’ city, where all citizens, not just those in areas of growth and change, can reap the benefits of major investment in infrastructure, educational facilities and the environment.

To achieve this growth the vision recognises that Milton Keynes must have:

• A new technology park for expanding knowledge based industries and new employment locations providing a range of job opportunities for the city’s growing workforce.

• A green environment established by protecting and enhancing the city’s natural assets, by extending the city’s linear park system and by determining a long-term edge to the city.

• A new university, new schools and an expanded Milton Keynes College.

• Town, district, neighbourhood and local activity centres to give residents better access to a wider range of community facilities.

• New development concentrated nearer to these facilities so that people can get to them and to their workplaces more easily and have shorter distances to travel.

• New and enhanced leisure and cultural facilities in the city centre, Campbell Park and the growth areas.

• An expanded Milton Keynes General Hospital with a new College of Nursing.

• New health and social care hubs around the city that bring services closer to local communities.

• A range of well designed, high quality housing and facilities built to the highest standards of energy efficiency.

• Improvements to local roads and to the highway system (including M1 Junctions 13 and 14, A421 dualling, A422 and A5 Junctions)

• New park and ride facilities and priority for public transport on the V7 and H5/6 city roads that connect local neighbourhood centres to Central Milton Keynes.

• A new East-West Rail line connecting Milton Keynes to Oxford and Bedford with a new station at Newton Longville and a rail spur to Central Milton Keynes.

The vision indicates that between 2011 and 2026 Milton Keynes could accommodate up to 8,500 new homes within the existing city. Between 2016 and 2021 new urban extensions would accommodate a further 7,500 homes South West of the city, with another 8,000 in the South East.

Jane Hamilton, chief operating officer of Milton Keynes Partnership, said: “This ambitious vision is a major opportunity for Milton Keynes to be represented when Government discusses Milton Keynes’ position as one of the largest areas of growth in the South East of England.

“We have made the point to the panel that significant long-term investment must be committed by Government to fund the necessary infrastructure and to provide for ongoing maintenance to ensure the quality and durability of growth in Milton Keynes.”

The Partnership’s submission highlights that Milton Keynes is at the junction of three Government regions and therefore sources of funding and responsibilities for taking growth forward could be fragmented. 

The Peer Review Group who scrutinised the growth strategy suggested that an opportunity should be sought for Milton Keynes to be identified as a pilot for ensuring that there is better coordination between health, education, transport and other infrastructure services provided by Government. 

The establishment of Milton Keynes as a key high-tech hub was handed a further boost following the official launch of Sparc, a new network for knowledge-based, technology-led businesses based in MK.

Funded by a collaboration of lead organisations and commercial sponsors, each month Sparc will facilitate and support face-to-face contacts, link the regional technology-led community to international markets and suppliers, potential investors, and promote the Milton Keynes region as a centre for entrepreneurship within the Oxford to Cambridge arc.

Chris Dunkley, network director and host for the launch commented: “I am delighted with the high attendance at the launch with businesses from Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Northampton and Oxford. This confirms the growing need in the Milton Keynes region to provide an environment for effective interaction between technology-led companies and industry. It is important SME’s take the opportunity to become involved as there is a great deal of support available.”

Grant Seeley, director of investment at Milton Keynes Partnership attended the launch and spoke of his support: “The launch of Sparc is a valuable step forward in progressing Milton Keynes’ accelerated growth of technology related sectors. These are fast emerging from academia, incoming businesses and start up enterprises.

"Already Milton Keynes has some significant statistics - 80% of businesses located in Milton Keynes are entrepreneurial, and 55% of Taiwanese companies, known for high technology, based in the South East are located in Milton Keynes. The next step is to provide a ‘Technopole’, which will provide accommodation and support to start up companies and technology based businesses. A feasibility study is currently in progress,” he said.

 

 

 

 

 

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