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Councillor calls on groups to ‘unite’ over Midsummer Boulevard plans

GROUPS in Milton Keynes are being urged to work together to come up with a plan for the future of the heart of the city.

Paul Williams, a ward councillor in Campbell Park, believes the only way for the city centre to move forward is for everyone to work together.

As revealed by MKWeb last week, a workshop involving key stakeholders has looked at the idea of pedestrianising Midsummer Boulevard.

But pressure groups, including Xplain and Urban Eden, have slammed such a drastic change being made to one of Milton Keynes’ key grid roads.

And readers on this website appeared to agree in our online poll. At the current time 517 people had voted against the idea, with 126 in favour.

But Councillor Williams wants to put an end to previous arguments and is calling on all groups to unite.

He told MKWeb: “Midsummer Boulevard isn’t working as it currently is at the moment.

“We all need to come together to work out what’s best for this city and consider the views of everyone, whatever they are.”

Around 80 people, including members of the public, the business community, Milton Keynes Council, parish councillors, and grassroots campaign groups met together for the first time to discuss the important 1km stretch through the main shopping district between Midsummer Place and Campbell Park.

The aim of the workshop was to come up with ideas to make this part of the city centre a more appealing place for residents, shoppers and visitors, both day and night, and to improve connections between central facilities and attractions.

The three day workshop was jointly organised by Milton Keynes Council and Central Milton Keynes Town Council.

Cllr David Hopkins, cabinet member responsible for Strategic Planning, said: “This workshop has given us some very firm foundations from which we can explore ways to modernise and revitalise a significant part of our city centre.

“There was a high degree of consensus on the way forward, with some very ambitious yet attainable ideas to enhance the shopping and travelling environment and experience for people visiting this area and Milton Keynes, be they local or from further afield.”
Other ideas to emerge from the workshop, which are all subject to further investigation and consultation, are:

• Relocating buses from Lower Ninth St/ Midsummer Boulevard East, to an attractive new ‘Passenger Transport Hub’ adjacent to Secklow Gate.
• Adding new multi-storey car parks near shopping areas
• Enhancing and improving Market Square
• Providing safe and attractive 24-hour ‘short cuts’ through the main shopping area for pedestrians and cyclists.
• Creating a variety of public spaces for activities and events to enliven the Boulevard
• Planning for the introduction of a new tram or futuristic transport link to run the full length of the Boulevard from the train station to Campbell Park and beyond
• Encouraging more variety in new developments, especially on the southern Food Centre side of the boulevard.

The next stage will be for the council, working in partnership with the CMK Town Council, to further refine and investigate the ideas put forward, with the aim of incorporating the results of this technical analysis into future planning documents which will be subject to full consultation in the usual way.

Dr Rebecca Kurth, chair of CMK Town Council added: “I think we were all agreeably surprised how quickly the different parties in the room came up with similar wishes and priorities. As a result, we feel confident that this is a significant step towards giving developers more clarity on what people want, and creating a more inclusive, vibrant and attractive city centre for all.”

Via MK News

Read more: http://www.mkweb.co.uk/News/Politics/Milton-Keynes-councillor-calls-on-groups-to-unite-over-Midsummer-Boulevard-plans-20140218173337.htm#ixzz2toklBQrp

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