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Plans lodged for thecentre:mk expansion

Owners Hermes Real Estate and Prudential have submitted the first batch of reserved matters applications to Milton Keynes Council.

The mastervision aims to improve the retail offer and to improve thecentre:mk’s relationship with the city as a whole.

The first batch deals with the improvements to the shopping centre building, including a large new department store for House of Fraser, a range of new and expanded shops and a new restaurant quarter in Queens Court.

Due to their size and complexity, the reserved matters application for phase one of the mastervision is being made in three separate batches. Batches two and three will follow in the next few months and will detail the proposals for Midsummer Boulevard, which aim to create a more pedestrian-friendly, connected town centre.

They will also give more detail on the new open market, the new car park and residential units at the junction of Silbury Boulevard and Secklow Gate and the covered link between the new car park and the shopping building.

The aim, said a spokesman, is to create a vibrant, lively and people-friendly urban centre at which thecentre:mk sits at the heart.

Jon Weymouth of PRUPIM, the development manager for thecentre:mk, said: "The redevelopment of thecentre:mk is a very exciting prospect as it gives us the chance not just to improve the retail offer at the centre but to redefine its relationship to the city centre and create a series of public spaces that will help revitalise Central Milton Keynes.

"thecentre:mk is already one of the largest regional shopping centres in the UK and this project will ensure its status as one of the most innovative and dynamic shopping centres in the country."

The mastervision has been designed in close co-operation with Milton Keynes Council and Milton Keynes Partnership to integrate with and contribute to the larger Central Milton Keynes Development Framework which structures the long-term development of the city and identifies areas for growth in business, shopping, leisure, entertainment and residential uses, and ultimately create a better place to live, work and play.

Milton Keynes Council granted outline planning permission for thecentre:mk’s mastervision for its expansion and enhancement in summer 2005.

The first phase of development will include:

– A new House of Fraser department store in the middle of thecentre:mk, between Midsummer Boulevard and Midsummer Arcade;

– The closure of Secklow Gate between Midsummer and Silbury Boulevards in order to create a more pedestrian friendly, connected town centre that allows the redevelopment of Midsummer Boulevard to provide a spacious, well lit and secure new public space and pedestrian link from thecentre:mk to the Theatre District and other areas to the south of the centre;

– A number of other new and expanded shops;

– Improved public transport links, with new bus facilities on a pedestrian-friendly Midsummer Boulevard;

– Extended access through the Centre including a 24-hour pedestrian and dismounted cyclist route through Crown Walk;

– A restaurant quarter in a re-landscaped Queens Court;

– A new multi-storey car park on the corner of Secklow Gate and Silbury Boulevard, with almost 1,900 spaces and a new shopmobility centre;

– 52 new homes on North 11th Street, 32 of which will be affordable;

– Public spaces for the city, including a pedestrian friendly Midsummer Boulevard with two new public squares;

– A new home for the open market, on the south of Midsummer Boulevard outside the Food Centre.

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