development corporation providing new homes and excellent infrastructure. Higsons first task in solving MKs landscaping problem was practical, rather ordinary gardening things: planting semi-mature trees and fast-growing conifers to provide quick cover. Its so easy to keep it going: when you build new estates, build new grids and underpasses. To the east, at Broughton, the grid-road has been diverted and replaced by a bleak city street with none of MKs customary green landscaping between the road and new three-storey terraces and semis. His expensive pool was ripped up shortly before the shopping building was listed in 2010; its turquoise water is gone, replaced by a barren plaza of plastic grass and imported black granite. Intus plans to build more shops were approved by Milton Keynes council despite being opposed by CMK parish council. I surveyed the scene with Linda Inoki, a smartly dressed local resident who talked in immaculately constructed sentences. Fred Roches ambition was for the citys creators to disappear.
Then the corporation sold the building, doors were added, rents rose and independent shops disappeared. Im quite a newcomer she arrived from Nottingham City Council in 2014 but I love the place. Further back theres cobbled roads with white farm gates. MKs high street is now locked at night. The drought of 1976 killed 200,000 badly planted saplings. Were not against change. on a fine spring day, I left the M1 at junction 14 and followed the broad dual-carriageway of the H5 grid-road into MK between banks of primroses and bright-green hawthorn.
Do the developers have them by the short and curlies or are they just inexperienced? But Milton Keynes also defied 1970s austerity because it was built using a mechanism that some urban planners say could be used to solve the current housing crisis. That night, I checked into the Travelodge in Shenley Church End, a western gridsquare with a redbrick centre, clock-tower and chain pub. This is where the councils planning department has failed. This should not have been allowed, said Van Aswegan. The grid was and is regarded as an American concept. MK, as they call it, is also unusual: a low-density, low-rise city of trees; a place of light industry, high technology and ultra-convenience. The stark contrast between Milton Keynes spacious older gridsquares and cramped new estates seems to prove that private developers cant create high-quality places. They are noticeably roomier than modern private homes. What about the loss of the grid, hampering MKs ability to expand? There are some fantastic elements to Milton Keynes not everybody gets.
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