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Milton Keynes (/knz/ (About this soundlisten) KEENZ), locally abbreviated to MK, is a large town[b] in (ceremonial) Buckinghamshire, England,[5] about 50 miles (80 km) north-west of London. It is the principal settlement of the Borough of Milton Keynes, a unitary authority. At the 2011 Census, its population was almost 230,000; the Office for National Statistics estimates that it will reach 300,000 by 2025. The River Great Ouse forms its northern boundary; a tributary, the River Ouzel meanders through its linear parks and balancing lakes. Approximately 25% of the urban area is parkland or woodland and includes an SSI.

Milton Keynes
MK Montage.jpg
Top to bottom, left to right: The Xscape and Theatre seen from Campbell Park; former railway works and new housing in Wolverton; Milton Keynes Central railway station; the Central Milton Keynes skyline; the central ecumenical Church of Christ the Cornerstone; and Bletchley's high street "Queensway".
Milton Keynes is located in Buckinghamshire
Milton Keynes
Milton Keynes
Location within Buckinghamshire
Area89 km2 (34 sq mi)
Population229,941 (2011 Urban Area)[1]
• Density2,584/km2 (6,690/sq mi)
OS grid referenceSP841386
• London50 mi (80 km)[a]
Unitary authority
Ceremonial county
Region
CountryEngland
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townMILTON KEYNES
Postcode districtMK1–15, MK17, MK19
Dialling code01908
PoliceThames Valley
FireBuckinghamshire
AmbulanceSouth Central
EU ParliamentSouth East England
UK Parliament
Websitewww.milton-keynes.gov.uk
List of places
UK
England
Buckinghamshire
52°02′N 0°46′W / 52.04°N 0.76°W / 52.04; -0.76Coordinates: 52°02′N 0°46′W / 52.04°N 0.76°W / 52.04; -0.76

In the 1960s, the UK Government decided that a further generation of new towns in the South East of England was needed to relieve housing congestion in London. The New Town (in planning documents, "New City") of Milton Keynes was to be the biggest yet, with a target population of 250,000, in a "designated area" of about 22,000 acres (9,000 ha). At designation, its area incorporated the existing towns of Bletchley, Wolverton, and Stony Stratford, along with another fifteen villages and farmland in between. These settlements had an extensive historical record since the Norman conquest; detailed archaeological investigations prior to development revealed evidence of human occupation from the Neolithic age to modern times, including in particular the Milton Keynes Hoard of Bronze Age gold jewellery. The government established a Development Corporation (MKDC) to design and deliver this New City. The Corporation decided on a softer, more human-scaled landscape than in the earlier new towns but with an emphatically modernist architecture. Recognising how traditional towns and cities had become choked in traffic, they established a 'relaxed' grid of distributor roads about 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) between edges, leaving the spaces between to develop more organically. An extensive network of shared paths for leisure cyclists and pedestrians criss-crosses through and between them. Again rejecting the residential tower blocks that had been so recently fashionable but unloved, they set a height limit of three stories outside the planned centre.

Facilities include a 1,400-seat theatre, a municipal art gallery, two multiplex cinemas, an ecumenical central church, a 400-seat concert hall, a teaching hospital, a 30,500-seat football stadium, an indoor ski-slope and a 65,000-capacity open-air concert venue. There are five railway stations (one inter-city). The Open University is based here and there is a campus of the University of Bedfordshire. Most sports are represented at amateur level; Red Bull Racing (Formula One), MK Dons (association football) and Milton Keynes Lightning (ice hockey) are its professional teams. The Peace Pagoda overlooking Willen Lake was the first such to be built in Europe.

Milton Keynes has one of the more successful economies in the UK, ranked highly against a number of criteria. As one of the UK's top five fastest growing centres, it has benefited consistently from above-average economic growth. It has the fifth highest number of business startups per capita (but equally of business failures). It is home to several major national and international companies. Despite this economic success and personal wealth for some, there are pockets of nationally significant poverty. The employment profile is composed of about 90% service industries and 9% manufacturing.

HistoryEdit

Birth of a 'New City'Edit

It may startle some political economists to talk of commencing the building of new cities ... planned as cities from their first foundation, and not mere small towns and villages. ... A time will arrive when something of this sort must be done ... England cannot escape from the alternative of new city building.

T. J. Maslen, 1843[6][7]

In the 1960s, the UK Government decided that a further generation of new towns in the South East of England was needed to relieve housing congestion in London.[8]

Since the 1950s, overspill housing for several London boroughs had been constructed in Bletchley.[9][10][11] Further studies[12][13] in the 1960s identified north Buckinghamshire as a possible site for a large new town, a new city,[14][c] encompassing the existing towns of Bletchley, Stony Stratford and Wolverton.[15] The New Town (informally and in planning documents, "New City") was to be the biggest yet, with a target population of 250,000,[16][17] in a "designated area" of 21,883 acres (8,855.7 ha)[18] The name "Milton Keynes" was taken from that of an existing village on the site.[19]

On 23 January 1967, when the formal new town designation order was made,[18] the area to be developed was largely farmland and undeveloped villages. The site was deliberately located equidistant from London, Birmingham, Leicester, Oxford and Cambridge,[20][21] with the intention that it would be self-sustaining and eventually become a major regional centre in its own right.[8] Planning control was taken from elected local authorities and delegated to the Milton Keynes Development Corporation (MKDC). Before construction began, every area was subject to detailed archaeological investigation: doing so has exposed a rich history of human settlement since Neolithic times and has provided a unique insight into the history of a large sample of the landscape of North Buckinghamshire.[22]

The Corporation's strongly modernist designs were regularly featured in the magazines Architectural Design and the Architects' Journal.[23][24][25] MKDC was determined to learn from the mistakes made in the earlier New Towns,[26] and revisit the Garden City ideals.[27][28] They set in place the characteristic grid roads that run between districts ('grid squares'), as well as a programme of intensive planting, balancing lakes and parkland.[29] Central Milton Keynes ("CMK") was not intended to be a traditional town centre but a central business and shopping district to supplement local centres embedded in most of the grid squares.[30] This non-hierarchical devolved city plan was a departure from the English New Towns tradition and envisaged a wide range of industry and diversity of housing styles and tenures.[31] The largest and almost the last of the British New Towns, Milton Keynes has 'stood the test of time far better than most, and has proved flexible and adaptable'.[32] The radical grid plan was inspired by the work of Melvin M. Webber,[33] described by the founding architect of Milton Keynes, Derek Walker, as the "father of the city".[34] Webber thought that telecommunications meant that the old idea of a city as a concentric cluster was out of date and that cities which enabled people to travel around them readily would be the thing of the future achieving "community without propinquity" for residents.[35]

The Government wound up MKDC in 1992, 25 years after the new town was founded, transferring control to the Commission for New Towns (CNT) and then finally to English Partnerships, with the planning function returning to local council control (since 1974 and the Local Government Act 1972, the Borough of Milton Keynes). From 2004–2011 a Government quango, the Milton Keynes Partnership, had development control powers to accelerate the growth of Milton Keynes.[36]

Along with many other towns and boroughs, Milton Keynes competed (unsuccessfully) for formal city status in the 2000, 2002 and 2012 competitions.[37]

Prior historyEdit

The area that was to become Milton Keynes encompassed a landscape that has a rich historic legacy. The area to be developed was largely farmland and undeveloped villages, but with evidence of permanent settlement dating back to the Bronze Age. Before construction began, every area was subject to detailed archaeological investigation: this work has provided an unprecedented[d] insight into the history of a very large sample of the landscape of south-central England. There is evidence of Stone Age,[38] late Bronze Age/early Iron Age,[39] Romano-British,[40][41] Anglo-Saxon,[42] Anglo-Norman,[43] Medieval,[44][42] and late Industrial Revolution settlements such as the railway towns of Wolverton (with its railway works) and Bletchley (at the junction of the London and North Western Railway with the Oxford–Cambridge Varsity Line).[45][46] The most notable archaeological artefact was the Milton Keynes Hoard, which the British Museum described as 'one of the biggest concentrations of Bronze Age gold known from Britain and seems to flaunt wealth.'[47]

Bletchley Park, the site of World War II Allied code-breaking and Colossus, the world's first programmable electronic digital computer,[48] is a major component of MK's modern history. It is now a flourishing heritage attraction, receiving hundreds of thousands of visitors annually.[49]

When the boundary of Milton Keynes was defined in 1967, some 40,000 people lived in three towns and fifteen villages or hamlets in the "designated area".[50][51]

Urban designEdit

The concepts that heavily influenced the design of the town are described in detail in article urban planning – see 'cells' under Planning and aesthetics (referring to grid squares). See also article single-use zoning.

The radical plan, form and scale of Milton Keynes attracted international attention. Early phases of development include work by celebrated architects, including Sir Richard MacCormac,[52]Norman Foster,[53]Henning Larsen,[54]Ralph Erskine,[55]John Winter,[56] and Martin Richardson.[57] Led by Lord Campbell of Eskan (Chairman) and Fred Roche (General Manager), the Corporation attracted talented young architects,[58] led by the respected designer,[58][59] Derek Walker. In the modernist Miesian tradition is the Shopping Building designed by Stuart Mosscrop and Christopher Woodward, a grade II listed building, which the Twentieth Century Society inter alia regards as the 'most distinguished' twentieth century retail building in Britain.[60][61] The Development Corporation also led an ambitious Public art programme.[62]

The urban design has not been universally praised. In 1980, the then president of the Royal Town Planning Institute, Francis Tibbalds, described Central Milton Keynes as "bland, rigid, sterile, and totally boring."[63] Michael Edwards, a member of the original consultancy team,[e] believes that there were weaknesses in their proposal and that the Development Corporation implemented it badly.[64]

Grid roads and grid squaresEdit

The geography of Milton Keynes – the railway line, Watling Street, Grand Union Canal, M1 motorway – sets up a very strong north-south axis. If you've got to build a city between (them), it is very natural to take a pen and draw the rungs of a ladder. Ten miles by six is the size of this city – 22,000 acres. Do you lay it out like an American city, rigid orthogonal from side to side? Being more sensitive in 1966-7, the designers decided that the grid concept should apply but should be a lazy grid following the flow of land, its valleys, its ebbs and flows. That would be nicer to look at, more economical and efficient to build, and would sit more beautifully as a landscape intervention.

Professor David Lock[65]

The Milton Keynes Development Corporation planned the major road layout according to street hierarchy principles, using a grid pattern of approximately 1 km (0.62 mi) intervals, rather than on the more conventional radial pattern found in older settlements.[66] Major distributor roads run between communities, rather than through them: these distributor roads are known locally as grid roads and the spaces between them – the districts – are known as grid squares.[67] This spacing was chosen so that people would always be within six minutes' walking distance of a grid-road bus-stop.[30] Consequently, each grid square is a semi-autonomous community, making a unique collective of 100 clearly identifiable neighbourhoods within the overall urban environment.[68][f] The grid squares have a variety of development styles, ranging from conventional urban development and industrial parks to original rural and modern urban and suburban developments. Most grid squares have a local centre, intended as a retail hub, and many have community facilities as well. Each of the original villages is the heart of its own grid-square. Originally intended under the master plan to sit alongside the grid roads,[70] these local centres were mostly in fact built embedded in the communities.[71][64]

Although the 1970 master plan assumed cross-road junctions,[70] roundabout junctions were built at intersections because this type of junction is more efficient at dealing with small to medium volumes. Some major roads are dual carriageway, the others are single carriageway. Along one side of each single carriageway grid road, there is usually a (grassed) reservation to permit dualling or additional transport infrastructure at a later date.[g] As of 2018, this has been limited to some dualling. The edges of each grid square are landscaped and densely planted – some additionally have noise attenuation mounds – to minimise traffic noise from the adjacent grid road. Traffic movements are fast, with relatively little congestion since there are alternative routes to any particular destination other than during peak periods. The national speed limit applies on the grid roads, although lower speed limits have been introduced on some stretches to reduce accident rates. Pedestrians rarely need to cross grid roads at grade, as underpasses and bridges were specified at frequent places along each stretch of all of the grid roads.[70] In contrast, the later districts planned by English Partnerships have departed from this model, without a road hierarchy but with conventional junctions with traffic lights and at grade pedestrian crossings.[73][74][h]

RedwaysEdit

 
Cycleway network in Milton Keynes. The national cycle routes are highlighted in red. (Extracted from Openstreetmap.org
© OpenStreetMap contributors).

There is a separate network (approximately 170 miles (270 km) total length) of cycle and pedestrian routes  – the redways  – that runs through the grid-squares and often runs alongside the grid-road network.[75] This was designed to segregate slow moving cycle and pedestrian traffic from fast moving motor traffic.[69] In practice, it is mainly used for leisure cycling rather than commuting, perhaps because the cycle routes are shared with pedestrians, cross the grid-roads via bridge or underpass rather than at grade, and because some take meandering scenic routes rather than straight lines. It is so called because it is generally surfaced with red tarmac.[76] The national Sustrans national cycle network routes 6 and 51 take advantage of this system.[77][78]

HeightEdit

 
The Hub:MK, built between 2006 and 2008. The taller glass tower, Manhattan House, has fourteen storeys.

The original design guidance declared that commercial building heights in the centre should not exceed six storeys, with a limit of three storeys for houses (elsewhere),[23] paraphrased locally as "no building taller than the tallest tree".[79] In contrast, the Milton Keynes Partnership, in its expansion plans for Milton Keynes, believed that Central Milton Keynes (and elsewhere) needed "landmark buildings" and subsequently lifted the height restriction for the area.[79] As a result, high rise buildings have been built in the central business district.[i] More recent local plans have protected the existing boulevard framework and set higher standards for architectural excellence.[83][j]

Linear parksEdit

 
Caldecotte Lake, Milton Keynes

The flood plains of the Great Ouse and of its tributaries (the Ouzel and some brooks) have been protected as linear parks that run right through Milton Keynes; these were identified as important landscape and flood-management assets from the outset.[85] At 4,100 acres (1,650 ha) – ten times larger than London's Hyde Park and a third larger than Richmond Park[86] – the landscape architects realised that the Royal Parks model would not be appropriate or affordable and drew on their National Park experience.[86] As Bendixson and Platt (1992) write: "They divided the Ouzel Valley into 'strings, beads and settings'. The 'strings' are well-maintained routes, be they for walking, bicycling or riding; the 'beads' are sports centres, lakeside cafes and other activity areas; the 'settings' are self-managed land-uses such as woods, riding paddocks, a golf course and a farm".[86]

The Grand Union Canal is another green route (and demonstrates the level geography of the area – there is just one minor lock in its entire 10-mile (16 km) meandering route through from the southern boundary near Fenny Stratford to the "Iron Trunk" aqueduct over the Ouse at Wolverton at its northern boundary). The initial park system was planned by Peter Youngman (Chief Landscape Architect),[87] who also developed landscape precepts for all development areas: groups of grid squares were to be planted with different selections of trees and shrubs to give them distinct identities. The detailed planning and landscape design of parks and of the grid roads was evolved under the leadership of Neil Higson,[88] who from 1977 took over from Youngman.[89]

"City in the forest"Edit

The Development Corporation's original design concept aimed for a "forest city" and its foresters planted millions of trees from its own nursery in Newlands in the following years.[34] Parks, lakes and green spaces cover about 25% of Milton Keynes;[90][91] as of 2018, there are 22 million trees and shrubs in public open spaces.[92][91] When the Development Corporation was being wound up, it transferred the major parks, lakes, river-banks and grid-road margins to the Parks Trust,[93] a charity which is independent of the municipal authority.[90] MKDC endowed the Parks Trust with a portfolio of commercial properties, the income from which pays for the upkeep of the green spaces.[90] As of 2018, approximately 25% of the urban area is parkland or woodland and includes an SSI.[94]

CentreEdit

As a key element of the planners' vision,[95] Milton Keynes has a purpose built centre, with a very large "covered high street" shopping centre,[96]a theatre,[97][98] municipal art gallery,[97][98]a multiplex cinema,[99] hotels,[100]central business district,[95]an ecumenical church,[101]Borough Council offices[102] and central railway station.[103]

Original towns and villagesEdit

 
During World War II, British, Polish and American cryptographers at Bletchley Park broke a large number of Axis codes and ciphers, including the German Enigma and Lorenz ciphers
 
The 1815 windmill near New Bradwell village, beside the playing fields
 
Stony Stratford high street in festive mood

Milton Keynes consists of many pre-existing towns and villages that anchored the urban design,[15] as well as new infill developments. The designated area outside the four main towns (Bletchley, Newport Pagnell, Stony Stratford, Wolverton) was largely rural farmland but included many picturesque North Buckinghamshire villages and hamlets: Bradwell village and its Abbey, Broughton, Caldecotte, Fenny Stratford, Great Linford, Loughton, Milton Keynes Village, New Bradwell, Shenley Brook End, Shenley Church End, Simpson, Stantonbury, Tattenhoe, Tongwell, Walton, Water Eaton, Wavendon, Willen, Great and Little Woolstone, Woughton on the Green.[15] These historical settlements were made the focal points of their respective grid square. Every other district has an historical antecedent, if only in original farms or even field names.[104]

Bletchley was first recorded in the 12th century as Blechelai.[45] Its station was an important junction (the London and North Western Railway with the Oxford-Cambridge Varsity Line), leading to the substantial urban growth in the town in the Victorian period.[45] It expanded to absorb the villages of Water Eaton and Fenny Stratford.[45]

Bradwell is a traditional rural village with earthworks of a Norman motte and bailey and parish church.[105] There is a YHA hostel beside the church.[106]

Bradwell Abbey, a former Benedictine Priory and Scheduled Ancient Monument,[107] was of major economic importance in this area of North Buckinghamshire before its dissolution in 1524.[108] Nowadays there is only a small medieval chapel and a manor house occupying the site.[109][110]

New Bradwell, to the north of Bradwell and east of Wolverton, was built specifically for railway workers.[105] The level bed of the old Wolverton to Newport Pagnell Line near here has been converted to a redway, making it a favoured route for cycling.[111] A working windmill is sited on a hill outside the village.[112]

Great Linford appears in the Domesday Book as Linforde, and features a church dedicated to Saint Andrew, dating from 1215.[113] Today, the outer buildings of the 17th century manor house form an arts centre.[114]

Milton Keynes (Village) is the original village to which the New Town owes its name.[19] The original village is still evident, with a pleasant thatched pub, village hall, church and traditional housing. The area around the village has reverted to its 11th century name of Middleton (Middeltone).[115] The oldest surviving domestic building in the area (c. 1300 CE), "perhaps the manor house", is here.[116]

Stony Stratford began as a settlement on Watling Street during the Roman occupation, beside the ford over the Great Ouse.[117] There has been a market here since 1194 (by charter of King Richard I).[118] The former Rose and Crown Inn on the High Street is reputedly the last place the Princes in the Tower were seen alive.[117]

The manor house of Walton village, Walton Hall, is the headquarters of the Open University and the tiny parish church (deconsecrated) is in its grounds.[119]

The small parish church (1680) at Willen was designed by the architect and physicist Robert Hooke.[120][121] Nearby, there is a Buddhist Temple and a Peace Pagoda, which was built in 1980 and was the first built by the Nipponzan-Myōhōji Buddhist Order in the western world.[122]

The original Wolverton was a medieval settlement just north and west of today's town.[46] The ridge and furrow pattern of agriculture can still be seen in the nearby fields.[123] The 12th century (rebuilt in 1819) 'Church of the Holy Trinity' still stands next to the Norman motte and bailey site.[46] Modern Wolverton was a 19th-century New Town built to house the workers at the Wolverton railway works, which built engines and carriages for the London and North Western Railway.[46]

Among the smaller villages and hamlets are three – Broughton, Loughton and Woughton on the Green – that are of note in that their names each use a different pronunciation[k] of the ough letter sequence in English.[124]

Culture, Education, Media and SportEdit

MusicEdit

 
65,000 capacity by the Green Day Bullet in a Bible concert at the National Bowl

The open-air National Bowl is a 65,000-capacity venue for large-scale events.[125]

In Wavendon, the Stables – founded by the jazz musicians Cleo Laine and John Dankworth – provides a venue for jazz, blues, folk, rock, classical, pop and world music.[126] It presents around 400 concerts and over 200 educational events each year and also hosts the National Youth Music Camps summer camp for young musicians.[127] In 2010, the Stables founded the biennial IF Milton Keynes International Festival, producing events in unconventional spaces and places across Milton Keynes.[128]

Milton Keynes City Orchestra is a professional freelance orchestra based at Woughton Campus.[129]

Arts, theatre and museumsEdit

The municipal public art gallery, MK Gallery, presents free exhibitions of international contemporary art.[130] The gallery was extended and remodelled in 2018/19 and includes an art-house cinema.[131][132]

The adjacent 1,400-seat Milton Keynes Theatre opened in 1999.[133] The theatre has an unusual feature: the ceiling can be lowered closing off the third tier (gallery) to create a more intimate space for smaller-scale productions.[133][134] There is a further professional performance space in Stantonbury.[135]

There are three museums: the Bletchley Park complex, which houses the museum of wartime cryptography;[136] the National Museum of Computing (beside Bletchley Park, separately entrance), which includes a working replica of the Colossus computer;[137] and the Milton Keynes Museum, which includes the Stacey Hill Collection of rural life that existed before the foundation of MK. the British Telecom collection, and the original Concrete Cows.[138]

Milton Keynes Arts Centre offers a year-round exhibition programme, family workshops and courses. The Centre is based in some of Linford Manor's historical exterior buildings, barns, almshouses and pavilions.[114] The Westbury Arts Centre in Shenley Wood is based in a 16th-century grade II listed farmhouse building. Westbury Arts has been providing spaces and studios for professional artists since 1994.[139]

Public sculptureEdit

 
Liz Leyh's iconic "Concrete Cows"

Public sculpture in Milton Keynes includes work by Elisabeth Frink, Philip Jackson, Nicolas Moreton and Ronald Rae.[140]

EducationEdit

The Open University's headquarters are in the Walton Hall district; though because this is a distance learning institution, the only students resident on campus are approximately 200 full-time postgraduates. Cranfield University, an all-postgraduate institution, is in nearby Cranfield, Bedfordshire. Milton Keynes College provides further education up to foundation degree level. University Campus Milton Keynes, a campus of the University of Bedfordshire, provides some tertiary education facilities locally. Milton Keynes is currently the UK's largest population centre without its own conventional university, a shortfall that the Council aims to rectify.[141] In January 2019, the Council and its partner, Cranfield University, invited proposals to design a campus near the Central station for a new university, code-named MK:U.[142]

As in most parts of the UK, the state secondary schools in Milton Keynes are comprehensives,[143] although schools in the rest of Buckinghamshire still use the tripartite system.[144] Private schools are also available.[145]

Milton Keynes City Discovery Centre at Bradwell Abbey holds an extensive archive about the planning and development of Milton Keynes and has an associated research library.[146] The Centre also offers an education programme (with a focus on urban geography and local history) to schools, universities and professionals.[146]

Communications and mediaEdit

Milton Keynes has two commercial radio stations, Heart Four Counties,[147] and MKFM.[148] BBC Three Counties Radio is the local BBC Radio station.[149] CRMK (Community Radio Milton Keynes) is a voluntary station broadcasting on the Internet.[150]

For television, the area is allocated to BBC East and Anglia ITV.[151]

As of February 2019, Milton Keynes has one free-to-residents local newspaper, the Milton Keynes Citizen.[152][l]

SportEdit

 
Stadium MK (in 2007)

Milton Keynes has professional teams in football (Milton Keynes Dons F.C. at Stadium MK), in ice hockey (Milton Keynes Lightning at Planet Ice Milton Keynes), and in Formula One (Red Bull Racing).[154]

The Xscape indoor ski slope and the iFLY indoor sky diving facility are important attractions in CMK;[154] the National Badminton Centre in Loughton is home to the national badminton squad and headquarters of Badminton England.[154][155]

Many other sports are represented at amateur level.

Other amenitiesEdit

Near the central station, in a space beside the former Milton Keynes central bus station, there is a purpose-built street skateboarding plaza named the Buszy.[156]

Willen Lake hosts watersports on the south basin, and the north basin is a bird sanctuary.[157][158]

Howe Park Wood, a Site of Special Scientific Interest near Westcroft and Tattenhoe, is the most significant of a number of important wildlife sites in and around MK.[159]

There are two multiplex cinemas (one in CMK, one in Denbigh) and one art-house cinema in the art gallery beside the theatre.[160][132]

Government and infrastructureEdit

Local governmentEdit

The responsible local government is Milton Keynes Council, which controls the Borough of Milton Keynes, a Unitary Authority since April 1997.[161] Until then, it was controlled by Buckinghamshire County Council. Historically, most of the area that became Milton Keynes was known as the "Three Hundreds of Newport".[44]

Modern parishes, community councils and districtsEdit

The Borough of Milton Keynes is fully parished.[162] The urban parishes (and the districts they contain) are listed at Borough of Milton Keynes (urban area).

HospitalsEdit

Milton Keynes University Hospital, in the Eaglestone district, is an NHS general hospital with an Accident and Emergency unit.[163] It is associated for medical teaching purposes with the University of Buckingham medical school.[164] There are two small private hospitals: BMI Healthcare's Saxon Clinic and Ramsay Health Care's Blakelands Hospital.[165][166]

HMP WoodhillEdit

There is a Category A male prison, HMP Woodhill, on the western boundary.[167]

Economy, business and demographyEdit

Data on the economy and politics of Milton Keynes are collected at the Borough level and are detailed at Economy of the Borough and Demographics of the Borough.
 
Population trend of Borough and Urban Area 1801–2011

At the 2011 census, the population of the Milton Keynes urban area, including the adjacent Newport Pagnell and Woburn Sands, was 229,941.[1] The population of the Borough in total was 248,800,[168] compared with a population of around 53,000 for the same area in 1961.[169] In 2016, the Office for National Statistics estimated that it will reach 300,000 by 2025.[51]

Milton Keynes is one of the most successful economies in the UK, ranked third (by gross value added per worker) for its contribution to the national economy.[170]

Major businessesEdit

Milton Keynes has consistently benefited from above-average economic growth, ranked as one of the UK's top five cities.[171] It is ranked fifth in the UK for business startups (per 10,000 people).[170]

Milton Keynes is home to several national and international companies, notably Argos,[172]Domino's Pizza,[173]Marshall Amplification,[174]Mercedes-Benz,[175]Suzuki,[176]Volkswagen AG,[177]Red Bull Racing,[178]Network Rail,[179] and Yamaha Kemble.[180]

Santander UK and the Open University are major employers locally.[181][182]

Small and medium enterpriseEdit

In 2013,[m] 99.4% of enterprises being SMEs, just 0.6% of businesses locally employ more than 250 people (but more than one third of employees),[184] whereas 81.5% employ fewer than 10 people.[184] The 'professional, scientific and technical sector' contributes the largest number of business units, 16.7%.[184] The retail sector is the largest contributor of employment.[184][1] Milton Keynes has one of the highest number of business start-ups in England, but also of failures.[170] Although education, health and public administration are important contributors to employment, the contribution is significantly less than the averages for England or the South East.[184]

EmploymentEdit

75% of the population is economically active, including 8.3% (of the population) who are self-employed.[1] 90% work in service industries of various sorts (of which wholesale and retail is the largest sector) and 9% in manufacturing.[1]

DemographyEdit

The average age of the population is lower than is typical for the UK's 63 primary urban areas: 25.3% of the Borough population were aged under 18 (5th place) and 13.4% were aged 65+ (57th out of 63).[170][1] The mean age is 35.7 and the median age is 35.[1] 18.5% of residents were born outside the UK (11th).[170] At the 2011 census, the ethnic profile was 78.9% white, 3.4% mixed, 9.7% Asian/Asian British, 7.3% Black/African/Caribbean/Black British, and 0.7% other.[1] The religious profile was that 62.0% of people were reported having a religion and 31.4% having none; the remainder declined to say: 52% are Christian, 5.1% Muslim, 3.0% Hindu; other religions each had less than 1% of the population.[1]

'A tale of two cities'Edit

In 2015, the Borough of Milton Keynes had nine 'lower super output areas'[n] that are in the 10% most deprived in England, but also had twelve 'lower super output areas' are in the 10% least deprived in England.[186] This contrast between areas of affluence and areas of deprivation in spite of a thriving local economy, inspired local charity The Community Foundation (in its 2016 'Vital Signs' report) to describe the position as a 'Tale of Two Cities'.[187]

In 2018, the number of homeless young people sleeping rough in tents around CMK attracted national headlines as it became the apex of a national problem of poverty, inadequate mental health care and unaffordable housing.[188][189] On a visit to refurbishment and extension work on the YMCA building, Housing Minister Heather Wheeler declared that 'Nobody in this day and age should be sleeping on the street'.[190]

TransportEdit

 
the Grand Union Canal passes over Grafton Street at New Bradwell via the modern New Bradwell Aqueduct

The Grand Union Canal, the West Coast Main Line, the A5 road and the M1 motorway provide the major axes that influenced the urban designers.[85]

The urban area has six railway stations.[191] Wolverton, Milton Keynes Central and Bletchley stations are on the West Coast Main Line and are served by local commuter services between London and Birmingham or Crewe.[192] Milton Keynes Central is also served by inter-city services between London and Scotland, Wales, the North West and the West Midlands: express services to London take 35 minutes.[192] Bletchley, Fenny Stratford and Bow Brickhill and Woburn Sands railway stations are on the Marston Vale line to Bedford.[192]

The M1 motorway runs along the east flank of MK and serves it from junctions 13, 14 and 15. The A5 road runs right through as a grade separated dual carriageway. Other main roads are the A509 to Wellingborough and Kettering, and the A421 and A422, both running west towards Buckingham and east towards Bedford.[193] Proximity to the M1 has led to construction of a number of distribution centres, including Magna Park at the A421/A5130 junction.[194]

Many long-distance coaches stop at the Milton Keynes coachway,[195] (beside M1 Junction 14), about 3.3 miles (5.3 km) from the centre (or 4 mi or 6.4 km from Milton Keynes Central railway station).[196] There is also a park and ride car park on the site. Regional coaches stop at Milton Keynes Central.[197]

Milton Keynes is served by (and provides part of) routes 6 and 51 on the National Cycle Network.[77][78]

The nearest international airport is London Luton and is easily reached by coach.[198] Cranfield Airport, an airfield, is 8 miles (13 km) away.[199]

GeographyEdit

Milton Keynes is in south central England, at the northern end of the South-east England region,[200] about 50 miles (80 km) north-west of London.[2][3][4] Its surface geology is primarily gently rolling Oxford clay or, more formally,

... a portion of more or less dissected boulder clay plateau, with streams falling fairly steeply to the [Great] Ouse and Ouzel flood plains, across slopes cut chiefly in Oxford clay. Middle Jurassic rocks, in particular the Blisworth limestone and cornbrash, form strong features in the lands bordering the Ouse valley in the north.[201]

Its highest points are in the centre (110 m (360 ft)) and at Woodhill on the western boundary (120 m (390 ft)).[202][203] The lowest point of the urban area is in Newport Pagnell, where the Ouzel joins the Great Ouse.(50 m (160 ft)).[204] Because of these (poorly drained) clay soils and the urban hard surfaces, the Development Corporation identified water runoff into the Ouzel and its tributaries as a significant risk to be managed and so put in place two large balancing lakes (Caldecotte and Willen) and a number of smaller detention ponds.[205] These provide an important leisure amenity for most of the year.[206]

Closest cities and townsEdit

The nearest larger[o] towns are Northampton, Bedford, Luton and Aylesbury.[207] The nearest larger[p] cities are Coventry, Leicester, Cambridge, London and Oxford.[208]

Twin townsEdit

ClimateEdit

Milton Keynes experiences an oceanic climate (Köppen climate classification Cfb) as is typical of almost all of the United Kingdom. Recorded temperature extremes range from 34.6 °C (94.3 °F) during July 2006,[210] to as low as −20.6 °C (−5.1 °F) on 20 December 2010.[211] on 25 February 1947. In 2010, the temperature fell to −16.3 °C (2.7 °F)[212]

The nearest Met Office weather station is in Woburn,[213] located in a rural area just outside the south eastern fringe of Milton Keynes.

Climate data for Woburn 1981–2010 (Weather station 3 mi (5 km) to the SE of Central Milton Keynes)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 7.0
(44.6)
7.4
(45.3)
10.3
(50.5)
13.1
(55.6)
16.6
(61.9)
19.6
(67.3)
22.1
(71.8)
21.9
(71.4)
18.7
(65.7)
14.4
(57.9)
10.0
(50.0)
7.2
(45.0)
14.1
(57.4)
Average low °C (°F) 1.3
(34.3)
0.9
(33.6)
2.7
(36.9)
3.8
(38.8)
6.5
(43.7)
9.4
(48.9)
11.7
(53.1)
11.6
(52.9)
9.6
(49.3)
7.0
(44.6)
3.8
(38.8)
1.5
(34.7)
5.8
(42.4)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 54.2
(2.13)
41.7
(1.64)
45.3
(1.78)
52.1
(2.05)
54.3
(2.14)
53.2
(2.09)
53.1
(2.09)
55.4
(2.18)
57.5
(2.26)
70.3
(2.77)
63.0
(2.48)
57.3
(2.26)
657.4
(25.88)
Mean monthly sunshine hours 52.0 69.4 105.5 147.4 183.4 179.9 197.1 189.0 137.0 105.6 61.7 43.5 1,471.6
Source: Met Office[214]

Notable peopleEdit

BandsEdit

Freedom of the BoroughEdit

The following people and military units have received the Freedom of the Borough of Milton Keynes.

IndividualsEdit

Military UnitsEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ From Milton Keynes Bowl to Marble Arch via Watling Street is 45 miles (72 km).[2] By rail from Milton Keynes Central to Euston is 49 miles 65 chains (49.81 mi; 80.17 km).[3] From Central Milton Keynes to Charing Cross via the M1 motorway is 55 miles (89 km).[4]
  2. ^ Although Milton Keynes was specified to be a city in scale and the term "city" is used locally (inter alia to avoid confusion with its constituent towns), formally this title cannot be used. This is because conferment of city status in the United Kingdom is a Royal prerogative. It is considerably larger than the nearby cities of Oxford, Cambridge and St Albans.
  3. ^ The Plan for Milton Keynes begins (in the Foreword by Lord ("Jock") Campbell of Eskan): "This plan for building the new city of Milton Keynes ... "
  4. ^ in scale
  5. ^ and erstwhile lecturer in urban planning at University College London
  6. ^ Bendixson & Platt report the Corporation as concerned at this outcome, which was an unanticipated emergent behaviour. In later developments, it aimed for increased permeability through the grid.[69]
  7. ^ An additional ten-metre wide strip was originally specified to satisfy Buckinghamshire County Council's belief in a future fixed-track public transport system. In 1977 MKDC decided to cease to specify it.[72]
  8. ^ The 'western expansion area' is what became Fairfields and Whitehouse. The 'eastern expansion area' is Broughton including Brooklands. 'The Hub' is a development of residential tower, hotels and restaurants in CMK.
  9. ^ Large-scale buildings include Jurys Inn (10 storeys)[80]The Pinnacle:MK on Midsummer Boulevard (9 storeys)[81] and the Vizion development on Avebury Boulevard (12 storeys).[82]
  10. ^ The more recent Network Rail National Centre has been built at the western limit of Silbury Boulevard near the Central station; this building complex occupies a large land area but only rises to the equivalent of six storeys.[84]
  11. ^ /ˈbrɔːtən/, BRAW-tən; /ˈltən/, rhymes with now; and /ˈwʊftən/ WUUF-tən respectively
  12. ^ A competing paper, MK News, closed in October 2016.[153]
  13. ^ An updated report for 2016 is available but does not give this data.[183]
  14. ^ A 'lower super output area' is a small geographic area defined by the Office of National Statistics to contain 1,000 to 1,500 residents and thus to permit consistent national comparisons.[185]
  15. ^ population over 10,000.
  16. ^ population over 100,000. St Albans, a cathedral city of 57,000, is closer.

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