County Council celebrates role in creation of Milton Keynes

  |  Published: Feb 16th 2017

The role played by Buckinghamshire County Council in the creation of Milton Keynes was marked today (Thursday), as the city celebrates its 50th birthday.

Milton Keynes’ Deputy Mayor and Mayoress David and Susan Hopkins were guests of honour at the County’s full council meeting. Chairman Val Letheren presented them with a replica 17th century map of Buckinghamshire, alongside a bouquet of flowers to the Deputy Mayoress.

The County Council had a strong influence in the original plans for a large new town in north Bucks. In 1962, planning officer Bill Berrett came up with the first proposals for a ‘North Bucks New City’, designed to help alleviate the chronic housing problem in London as well as creating a commercial hub for Buckinghamshire. County Architect Fred Pooley proposed building a monorail providing free transport to its residents.

In 1967 the Milton Keynes Development Corporation took control of planning the new city and Pooley’s proposals never got off the drawing board. However, the County Council’s original vision – as well as the approximate site – laid the foundation for what we now know as Milton Keynes. The County Council was also responsible for the city for its first 30 years, until 1997 when a unitary authority was created.

Chairman Val Letheren said: “Milton Keynes has a fascinating history – starting off as some rather futuristic-looking plans and artists’ impressions, to becoming the vibrant city we all know today. Buckinghamshire County Council played its part through the work of our Architect’s Team. In particular, Fred Pooley was a strong supporter of public transport, and while his proposal for a monorail didn’t become a reality, it demonstrates a spirit of innovation which can be seen all around Milton Keynes today.”

Mr Hopkins said: “I’m very pleased to have been invited to help mark Milton Keynes’ 50th birthday by our colleagues at Bucks County Council. This is proving to be an amazing year.

He said despite Milton Keynes becoming a unitary council 20 years ago, ‘we still work closely with our county council colleagues – the joint work we do to commemorate Armed Forces Day is one obvious example that springs to mind’.

He added: “MK50 is a landmark not just for us, but for the whole country, and indeed has attracted international interest. Speaking as someone who was born and bred in the borough I have seen the city grow and evolve possibly beyond even our city forefather’s wildest dreams. Who knows where the next 50 or even 20 years will take us?”

The County Council is currently working on a special exhibition – ‘Milton Keynes through its Archives’ which will be going on display in the city later in the year.

Documents belonging to the Milton Keynes Development Corporation, charting the genesis, planning, building and running of Milton Keynes, from the 1960s up until 2007, are held at the Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies in Aylesbury.

Milton Keynes’ Deputy Mayor and Mayoress David and Susan Hopkins with Chairman Val Letheren
Milton Keynes’ Deputy Mayor and Mayoress David and Susan Hopkins with Chairman Val Letheren
Diagram showing County Architect Fred Pooley's vision for North Bucks New City, including a monorail (MR), open spaces, city centre and industrial zones
Diagram showing County Architect Fred Pooley's vision for North Bucks New City, including a monorail (MR), open spaces, city centre and industrial zones
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