Our key role in driving prosperity to combat Covid-19’s impact on economyMay 29, 2020
by CHARLES MACDONALD Chief Executive, Milton Keynes Development Partnership
LIKE every organisation, Milton Keynes Development Partnership has been learning how to maintain ‘business as usual’ in the most unusual set of circumstances any of us have ever experienced.
Alongside finding new ways of working and communicating with colleagues and partners we have also had to think about what a post-coronavirus world will look like and the lasting effects of this terrible pandemic.
Even somewhere as successful as Milton Keynes, which is better placed than most places in the UK to bounce back, will face serious challenges in the face of a predicted economic downturn.
Given this, it will be even more important that MKDP continues to play a key role in driving prosperity as we all look to combat the impact on our economy, jobs and communities.
We have already been able to make a small contribution in the fight against coronavirus, giving a site in Central Milton Keynes to the Department of Health and Social Care for a drive-in coronavirus testing centre.
Our structure as an organisation enabled us to move quickly in granting access so the centre could be set up effectively overnight.
Milton Keynes Development Partnership is owned by Milton Keynes Council. It facilitates Milton Keynes’ continued growth and economic success by promoting the development of its land assets to deliver economic and social value from its 70+ sites in line with the Council’s Plan and Plan:MK. The MKDP estate comprises around 265 developable acres.
Equally as important are the long-term benefits we can bring to Milton Keynes through the considered development of the land and property under our stewardship.
Over the past seven years we have helped create hundreds of homes and jobs through this approach.
Projects such as the new national headquarters we have built for the leading hi-tech company BP Chargemaster at Linford Wood.
This state-of-the facility is now complete and staff are ready to move in post lockdown. Helping BP Chargemaster to relocate its HQ to the city has generated new much-needed, highly skilled jobs for local people.
We are also continuing to create the housing that will still be needed going forward, with planning permission applied for 170 new homes at Kents Hill and 930 at Tickford Fields Farm site in Newport Pagnell.
Earlier this year we unveiled how we are going to bring new life and interest to Station Square. Understandably, this is being revisited and we are now considering how we might adapt these plans to reflect a post-coronavirus society.
To support our communities, we will soon be announcing the first grants to be awarded to local charities and groups as part of our new Community Fund.
We are ensuring tens of thousands of pounds will be going to organisations in the city that are tackling the real need caused by the coronavirus crisis.
This combination of encouraging economic growth, while ensuring our most vulnerable citizens are not left behind, will be our contribution to making sure that Milton Keynes’ response is swift and effective.