Milton Keynes Council leader hopes new city status will change people's views

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The leader of Milton Keynes Council hopes its new city status will help change people's opinions about the place.

Milton Keynes is one of a record eight places awarded city status through a competition, as part of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

Pete Marland, leader of Milton Keynes Council, said he hoped the accolade would change people's views as well as bring investment to the city.

"Hopefully what it will do is challenge some of the preconceptions about Milton Keynes - that Milton Keynes is a bit ropey, is a bit concrete - and actually we're not like that at all.

"It is a green place, it is an exciting place, we've got tons of parkland and I think part of the award of city status will be about challenging people's preconceptions and getting them to come here and have a look.

"Milton Keynes is taught in planning textbooks all over the world as an example of good design and how design can be green and sustainable... but it's also a real economic impact and about the investment and jobs it can create."

The council points out that MK has plenty of green spaces - dispelling the 'concrete jungle' myth Credit: ITV News Anglia

The announcement of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee civic honours brings the number of official cities in the mainland UK to 76, 55 in England, eight in Scotland, seven in Wales and six in Northern Ireland.

Milton Keynes now joins the likes of Colchester, Doncaster and Dunfermline in Scotland to be granted the award.

So why was Milton Keynes chosen?

The government cited three reasons for each successful applicant - praising Milton Keynes for its history, cultural infrastructure and innovation.

  • History: Milton Keynes is the pinnacle of the national post-war planning movement, said the government, being a new town started in the Queen's reign.

  • Cultural Infrastructure: The town has extensive cultural infrastructure including 27 conservation areas, 50 scheduled monuments, 1,100 listed buildings and 270 pieces of public art, its application pointed out. With 84,500 citizens being volunteers, Milton Keynes also claims to have a higher per head of population number of volunteers than any other UK city. 

  • Innovation: In 1969, the world’s first degree-awarding distance learning institution, the Open University, was established in Milton Keynes by Royal Charter. The Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has established the nation’s first independent medical school. Milton Keynes has been a trailblazer in sustainable housing design with exhibitions including Homeworld and Energy World. Milton Keynes was the first place to introduce kerbside recycling in the UK. It is also home to the UK’s first advanced waste treatment facility, which produces renewable energy for thousands of homes and businesses. Robots delivery vehicles are a common site in Milton Keynes, and the borough has the nation’s largest network of electric vehicle charge points.