I was a town planning student in the late 60’s and remember well when Milton Keynes started. All my town planning magazines were full of these ‘new towns’ coming, but Milton Keynes was always the loudest, always the brashest and always the most boastful!
It always got the headlines and was always on TV. I knew about it and watched with interest. So when I got the opportunity to work for the Development Corporation in 1977 I jumped at it. I brought my wife and 2 children up here from Tunbridge Wells which was a real cultural shock I can tell you! But it was so exciting – a book to be written instead of an old book; for a town planner this is the dream – the ultimate opportunity!
David Lock at work.
I was working for the strategic planning department at the time, which meant I was helping to decide what was going to be built next. What should the contents be for each new grid square, each new chunk. Housing, schools, shops, transport… all of it. Plus we also had to grow our community with Girl Guides, Boy Scouts and churches. Whatever you can think that would usually take 200 odd years for an ordinary town to form, MK had to do it very quickly.
“Town planning magazines were full of these ‘new towns’ coming, but Milton Keynes was always the loudest, always the brashest and always the most boastful!”
Now we need to think of the next step as we have a dilemma. Do we call it complete and stop dead? In which case, what about housing – where will people go? Do we roll out the familiar Milton Keynes line – another row of grid squares in every direction? Or my personal view is to see us grow baby towns a little distance away, which can be joined to Milton Keynes by little whizzy buses or whatever. That way we get to keep the countryside threaded through and we all prosper. Don’t squash us up like old industrial towns, that’s not what we’re here for.