|Welcome to the website for Urban Eden – the movement to promote a sustainable extension of the original masterplan for Milton Keynes.Urban Eden is an organisation dedicated to ensuring that those who know and love Milton Keynes do not sleepwalk through the planned major changes being developed by planners and developers who are seemingly intent on watering down many of the best things about our beautiful city, which we had mistakenly learned to take for granted. We support the realistic expansion of Milton Keynes through growth, and welcome the anticipated improvements to our city and its public realm, but are concerned that the fundamentals of the Master Plan and Original Vision are not lost in the process.
Our priorities are set out in: Urben Eden MK2050 – Principles for a Master Plan. Please click here Urban Eden MK2050, then double click to open our PDF file and read our master plan in the context of the issues we believe passionately are key to a prosperous future for Milton Keynes. Please click here to refer to the NHT Public Satisfaction Survey 2009 referred to in our Master Plan; for more up-to-date transport satisfaction information, please click on NHT PS Survey 2018 vs 2017.
We urgently need to preserve and extend our green environment and the linear parks. There are advanced plans to cut down many of the existing trees, notably in the City Centre, and to build right up to the roadways in other parts of the City. We need to support and encourage organisations such as the Parks Trust, which owns not only the parks, but also many of the road verges. Through the determination of organisations such as these, the V10 Brickhilll Street has been saved as a grid road, rather than a “City Street” as was recently planned. It may, nevertheless, face further challenges. Watch this space.
|They are under imminent threat. The public boulevard structure is already being substantially modified and altered by new developments, such as The Hub and OneMK/Sainsburys. The result is a reduction in the width of the Boulevards from a width of 75 metres to an ugly, narrow wind-tunnel pinch point of 40 metres set between tall buildings, with reduced car parking provision at street level. Elsewhere there are plans to construct new and taller buildings over existing areas of car parking and reduce the open aspect of the boulevards to narrow streets, bounded by architecturally unimaginative buildings. We will lose the porte cocheres, a unique feature of central Milton Keynes, and many of the trees will be cut down. There is a already a new planting plan where the mighty Plane trees, which are just beginning to join at the crowns as originally planned, are to be replaced with tiny flowering cherries or pear trees as ‘signature’ trees. A few spindly hornbeams are planned elsewhere so that the planners can claim the ‘trees are safe’ or that the ‘net tree losses’ are minimal.
|Grid roads and the natural expansion of the system
|We all know that the grid roads are one of the key factors that make living in Milton Keynes unique in Britain. Indeed both travel times and ease of use figure in the adverts that EP propagates in overcrowded, user-unfriendly cities elsewhere. Ironic then that greed for development land and the money it brings to the exchequer is placing it under such threat. The Grid system must not only be preserved it must be extended to make sure that the expansion is viable. For instance, the A5130 between Broughton and Fen Farm should become the new V12 not a so-called “City Street” with traffic restrictions; the effect of this would be to force all the commercial traffic from the new Fen Farm warehousing development onto the V11 and Childs Way in order to get access to the M1. And let’s not allow the desperate excuse that we must use our cars less to prevail. In a few years we may all have carbon-neutral, hydrogen-powered cars which expire only water vapour. What will these philistines tell us then, when we have no roads to use them on? Any expansion areas to the City must include an extension of the Grid Roads, which have the added benefit of being wide enough to allow for the inclusion of a tram system or other public transport facility, if funds permit.
|Public transport system that suits MK
|The original plan for MK included large central reservations and borders on the Grid roads to take a tram or monorail system. Where trams have been built, such as Central Manchester, they are enormously popular and successful. Whose heart would not leap to see one running down Midsummer Boulevard to the station, right through an opening in the Midsummer Place glass-walled shopping centre? Urban Eden fully supports a high quality, aspirational and comprehensive public transport policy and one that lives up to the intentions of the original Master Plan, not the ill-thought-out and largely-empty bus lanes, which cause increased traffic congestion and ill serve the potential users of public transport.
|Redways have been studied, admired and emulated all over the World. So why are ours under threat? Surely the very fact that they separate pedestrians and cyclists from motorised vehicles means they have saved countless lives here. Let’s protect and extend them. While we’re at it let’s stop EP filling in any more pedestrian underpasses such as the one near the Hub (Avebury Blvd/Witan Gate); recently infilled to make more building land and thus forcing people to cross two busy dual carriageways.
|Principles of the original Master Plan
|The original Master Plan was the most successful ever example of the new towns movement. If it aint broke, why fix it? Once it is all swept away we will live to regret it. We Urban Edenites love Milton Keynes and yes, we are happy for it to expand in a structured and qualitative way, but we are not happy for the very things that make Milton Keynes a uniquely easy-to-use city be swept away. We must all fight for them before it is too late.