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Innovation will drive future, says council chief

There were great opportunities to be had by jumping through the window, he said. The decisions to be made in the next few months would be vital to the city’s future.

In his keynote presentation at Milton Keynes Gallery, hosted by PRP Architects, Mr Best (pictured) added: “We know it’s bright out there but staying put is not an option. We need to have a good look before we jump through the window of opportunity, but let’s jump.”

The planners in the 1960s and 1970s had created an urban design structure that was “stunning ,the most heroic the UK had ever produced”. The majority of buildings between 1970 and 1996 were bland and disappointing, however. He reminded his audience that Milton Keynes is now in the top 40 UK cities in population numbers and was forecast to overtake Brighton, Belfast and Cardiff in the next 25 years.

The decisions to be made in the next few months were vital.

“Perception is important and the inferences drawn about the city are because of the things we are doing now,” Mr Best added. “Most of our USPs will remain. I want you to understand what the opportunities are and how you can engage in the debate around what Milton Keynes should be.”

However, it was vital to prevent Milton Keynes from becoming a two-speed city, with certain areas expanding while the core declined. “We ignore the people at our peril,” Mr Best said. “We have to work with individual neighbourhoods so that local communities feel empowered, comfortable and active.

“There is a risk for us all because we love Milton Keynes. The opportunity we have is undeniable and exciting and the window is there to look through,” he added.