Unlocking new homes for Milton Keynes
MA's Associate Director Alex Scarratt discusses our current project work in Milton Keynes.
The Draft Strategy
In January 2020, Milton Keynes Council published its Draft Strategy for 2050, setting out their aspirations for how the city could develop within that period. The Draft Strategy identified potential growth locations and measures to support this growth, centred on a principle of the delivery of a network of Mass Rapid Transit that could be accommodated by sharing/transferring some of Milton Keynes generous highway infrastructure. The Draft Strategy also recognised that Milton Keynes influence spreads beyond its metropolitan extent and so included potential development locations within adjacent districts such as South Northamptonshire.
Land promoters were invited to submit representations on the Draft Strategy and during Q1/Q2 2020 Markides Associates have been supporting one of our clients by identifying potential transport solutions to unlock a large strategic development site on land located on the north-western edge of Milton Keynes, just north of Old Stratford and south of Pottersbury, bound by the A5 and the A508.
The Draft Strategy identifies that the area has potential to support up to 5,000 new homes, facilitated by the delivery of a Mass Rapid Transit route that would connect the area with the centre of Milton Keynes.
The A5/A508 roundabout junction is a well-known bottleneck for people accessing Milton Keynes from surrounding settlements such as Northampton and Towcester. MA’s input helped to identify potential changes to the junction that would seek to mitigate development impact without discouraging existing and new commuters from choosing the Mass Rapid Transit as their default mode of travel to access Milton Keynes. It was important to the scheme and to MA to challenge the status quo of travel by car.
Such changes included filter lanes that allow left turn traffic to avoid giving-way and redesigning the roundabout in a ‘hamburger’ arrangement. This delivers a through route within the junction that will allow A5 traffic to reduce the number of yields it has to make to negotiate the junction. Crucially, this arrangement also allows the delivery of a bus priority corridor through the junction that will be free of congestion, supported by bus gates and priority signal arrangements, which could then be used by the Mass Rapid Transit system.
The site itself will then support first/last mile active travel, with a network of pedestrian and cycle routes that will access district centres, employment space, Mass Rapid Transit stops and, of course, access to the off-site network.
Responses to the representations are expected later in the year. Hopefully, the site is considered favourably, allowing the next stages of detailed analysis and dialogue key stakeholders, whilst of course considering if these strategies need to evolve in response to Covid-19. It promises to be an exciting and challenging project.
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