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The ability to evolve and adapt is rooted in our culture

The Oxford to Cambridge Arc growth corridor is having to compete with others further north for the government’s attention. But, says Milton Keynes Business Leaders partnership’s chair Nicholas Mann, the appeal of Milton Keynes and the region to inward investors remains as strong as ever.

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Nicholas Mann, chair of Milton Keynes Business Leaders Partnership.

REPORTS that the government has diluted plans for the Oxford to Cambridge Arc in a bid to prioritise levelling up in the North, has been met with disappointment, as business leaders across the region address their concerns directly to government in the belief that the Arc is central to the UK’s present and future economy. 

While the development of the Arc will certainly unlock the full potential of the five counties it encompasses, and significantly boost the UK’s economic output in the process, we can’t overlook the major strides Milton Keynes has already made in delivering strands set out in the Arc’s framework. From becoming a testbed for smart mobility to the installation of full fibre connectivity. 

And it isn’t just technological prowess which has seen Milton Keynes rise up the ranks to become one of the UK’s fastest growing cities – the spark that ignites our business community is the entrepreneurial spirit, reflected across all sectors and organisations – no matter how large or small. 

It was wonderful to celebrate this spirit at the recent Milton Keynes Business Achievement Awards. This year, for the first time in the history of the awards, the coveted Business of The Year award was won by not one, but two businesses, Emerging Markets Quality Trials and Naturally Tribal.

Linked by their incredible mutual founder, Entrepreneur of the Year winner, Shalom Lloyd, the judges believed that both businesses clearly demonstrated what can be achieved under the helm of an inspirational leader, with the vision, tenacity, and a drive to support others.

Surely this description encapsulates the very essence of Milton Keynes. 

Flashback: Shalom Lloyd third from left and colleagues celebrate their historic Business of the Year success.

Built to inspire, invoke and cultivate, Milton Keynes has increasingly become a magnet for inward investment, with major companies uprooting and shifting their headquarters in our direction and large developers looking to play a part in the growth narrative. 

Socius, the mixed-use development company behind MK Gateway, which will see the redevelopment of Saxon Court, has been enthralled by the magnetism of Milton Keynes, describing the town as innovative and forward-thinking. Significantly, their plans for the former council site have been created by globally renowned architects Rogers Stark Harbour and Partners and MK Gateway marks the first commercial development they have worked on outside of a major global capital.

Evidently, two of the partners who are actively involved in the plans studied Milton Keynes as architectural students and have an enduring fascination with the new town.  

The appeal of Milton Keynes certainly shows no signs of abating. So, while the Government’s watered-down plans for the Arc may incur changes, it is important to remember that being able to evolve and adapt is rooted in the culture of Milton Keynes and I have every confidence that we will realise our full potential within the core of the Arc.

If the return of MKBAA demonstrated anything, it’s that the resolve and indomitable spirit of the Milton Keynes business community remains high and will continue to underpin our ongoing success and position within this premier growth corridor. 

Nicholas Mann is chair of Milton Keynes Business Leaders Partnership. Find out more at www.mkblp.com

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