Milton Keynes at 50: What Have We Learned?

Conceived in the early 1960s, Milton Keynes remains one of Britain’s most ambitious urban developments. And while not always regarded as the most visually arresting new town, it enjoys a good deal of respect for its over-arching aims: to make living and working within its confines efficient and pleasant.

As the town prepares to celebrate its 50th anniversary, we look at its architects’ achievements and how they relate to residential development in the 21st Century.

What Made Milton Keynes So Unique?

Built on a grid system, rather than the more traditional radial layout, Milton Keynes is connected by high-traffic roads which lay in between neighbourhoods, rather than intersecting them. Famed for its numerous roundabouts, the forward-looking road system continues to keep traffic moving smoothly.

The initial vision for MK included fare-free public transport, but in the end the private car took precedence. However, residents are generally no further than 1km from the nearest bus stop, and benefit from an extensive shared use path system known as ‘the redways’.

High quality housing and plenty of green spaces were also crucial as far as the town’s developers were concerned, benefitting residents to this day.

“Environmentally Friendly, Healthy Places”

One of the original architects behind the town was Bill Berrett, who was recently interviewed in the Yorkshire Post. On returning to the town recently, which is now home to more than 250,000 people, Berrett said: “It’s a wonderful thing to go there now and to see people living fulfilled lives in good quality housing in an environment which is pretty green.”

“Milton Keynes has been enormously profitable in terms of private enterprise, money and in terms of people being housed and jobs being created.”

And the architect says he has plans for a new business hub in the north of England – a city that, says Berrett, will address the housing shortage while supporting business. Berrett said in the Yorkshire Post:

“The most important thing is to create environmentally friendly, healthy places to live that are well governed and have access to an intense business hub for work.”

Innovative, Sustainable Developments

Iceni Homes shares many of the motives behind Milton Keynes, chiefly to create innovative developments that enable residents to prosper and enjoy a high quality of life. The pressures on housing were far from modest in the 1960s, but today they are even greater.

Addressing the housing needs of people in Essex, Suffolk and Cambridge is the primary objective of the team at Iceni Homes. We have a long track record in bringing together various stakeholders in the pursuit of building attractive, sustainable developments that are a joy to live in.

Acting as a main contractor, Iceni Homes development types include rural housing, regeneration projects, supported housing, shared ownership, shared equity, Section 106 schemes, housing for market rent and sale, intermediate rent, key worker accommodation and conversion of existing dwellings and refurbishments.

Unifying Stakeholder Objectives

And much as the architects of Milton Keynes had to five decades ago, here at Iceni Homes we understand the importance of being able to unify stakeholder objectives for the good of all – especially residents.

The forward-looking, ambitious spirit of the Milton Keynes project lives on – inspiring companies like Iceni to build the best possible homes for people across East Anglia.