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Milton Keynes targets international developers

A campaign to attract international developers to build nearly 1,000 new homes in Central Milton Keynes (CMK) has been launched at MIPIM, Europe’s largest international property exhibition.

Two major development opportunities, that will kick-start the 30-year plan to reshape the city centre, have been unveiled by CMK – the future, a joint venture between national regeneration agency English Partnerships and Milton Keynes Council.

Welcoming the proactive role of English Partnerships, Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott said, "Milton Keynes is a vibrant, thriving city which has a strong sense of its own individual identity. It is already established as a pioneer for innovative and challenging design, and has also been Britain's fastest growing urban area between the 1970s to the 1990s.

"However, Milton Keynes has enormous potential to grow and prosper even further and, as part of the Government's Sustainable Communities Plan, it will be the focus for new homes, transport links, public green spaces, jobs and public services.

"The ODPM's work with English Partnerships will attract the best international developers to deliver the Central Milton Keynes housing scheme, and new growth in Milton Keynes will not mean that design quality and standards will be compromised."

Speaking at MIPIM, English Partnerships’ Chairman, Margaret Ford, said, “Milton Keynes is already a success story and has huge potential in the future. We want CMK to be on a par with some of the world’s best city centres in terms of design and quality of life. We are delighted to be launching the next phase of its phenomenal growth.

“The city centre offers an outstanding opportunity for international, as well as UK-based companies, to offer exceptional designs that will be a benchmark for city living in the 2lst century. Our commitment to design excellence is apparent through the weighting we have placed on innovation rather than finances and we hope this will have a major bearing on the interest we attract,” she added.

The Buckinghamshire town - the focus of one of England’s largest growth areas - is expected to double in size in the next three decades, adding more than 70,000 new homes. To complement this growth and create a vibrant and more urban city centre, a massive development programme to deliver nearly 4,000 new homes, a £400 million retail expansion along with more office, leisure and community facilities within CMK, have been given the go ahead.

The first opportunity, known as West End-CMK, is situated close to the main line railway station and will consist of 650 apartments and townhouses, coupled with shops, offices, a 420-place primary school and community facilities. Campbell Park, at the eastern end of CMK, provides another opportunity for the private sector to bring forward an initial phase of development including up to 240 apartments, townhouses and small-scale office and business units in a parkland setting.

According to the project partners, design excellence and innovative construction methods are the top priorities. In recognition of this, proposals will be judged on the basis of a quality/price appraisal with up to 70 per cent being awarded for design quality and to increased sustainability through construction methods. Only 30 per cent of the total score will relate to the financial offer.

Interest from international developers, who can bring new and different experiences to the UK market, will be encouraged and the project partners believe that the opportunities on offer are strong enough to attract interest from Europe and beyond.

Councillor Isobel Wilson, Leader of Milton Keynes Council added, “These first developments will set the tone for the Milton Keynes of the future and will deliver a very different and vibrant style of development in the centre of our growing city. I look forward to seeing plans come forward from developers that will deliver sustainable communities, design excellence and innovative economic growth.”

On completion, West End-CMK will consist of around 1,900 homes with an additional 2,000 properties planned for Campbell Park. A minimum of thirty per cent of all new homes will be affordable.

The selection process for both sites will consist of three stages, the first is the invitation for expressions of interest announced at MIPIM; six developers (for each area) will then be chosen in stage two and be asked to submit proposals as the third and final stage. The short listed developers will be provided with a brief and design codes and given 12 weeks to prepare a proposal. In the case of West-End CMK the formal proposal will include the design of two apartment blocks to a stage where a detailed planning application can be submitted.

Source: English Partnerships

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