Milton Keynes (// (listen) KEENZ) is the largest town in Buckinghamshire, England, 50 miles (80 km) north-west of London. At the 2011 Census, the population of its urban area was almost 230,000. The River Great Ouse forms its northern boundary; a tributary, the River Ouzel, meanders through its linear parks and balancing lakes. Approximately 25% of the urban area is parkland or woodland and includes two Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs).
Top to bottom, left to right: The Xscape and Theatre seen from Campbell Park; former railway works and new housing in Wolverton; Milton Keynes Central railway station; the Central Milton Keynes skyline; the central ecumenical Church of Christ the Cornerstone; and Bletchley's high street "Queensway".
|Area||89 km2 (34 sq mi)|
|Population||229,941 (2011 Urban Area)|
|• Density||2,584/km2 (6,690/sq mi)|
|OS grid reference|
|• London||50 mi (80 km) SSE|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Post town||MILTON KEYNES|
|Postcode district||MK1–15, MK17, MK19|
In the 1960s, the UK Government decided that a further generation of new towns in the South East of England was needed to relieve housing congestion in London. This new town (in planning documents, 'new city'), Milton Keynes, was to be the biggest yet, with a target population of 250,000 and a 'designated area' of about 22,000 acres (9,000 ha). At designation, its area incorporated the existing towns of Bletchley, Fenny Stratford, Wolverton and Stony Stratford, along with another fifteen villages and farmland in between. These settlements had an extensive historical record since the Norman conquest; detailed archaeological investigations prior to development revealed evidence of human occupation from the Neolithic age to modern times, including in particular the Milton Keynes Hoard of Bronze Age gold jewellery. The government established a Development Corporation (MKDC) to design and deliver this New City. The Corporation decided on a softer, more human-scaled landscape than in the earlier English new towns but with an emphatically modernist architecture. Recognising how traditional towns and cities had become choked in traffic, they established a 'relaxed' grid of distributor roads about 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) between edges, leaving the spaces between to develop more organically. An extensive network of shared paths for leisure cyclists and pedestrians criss-crosses through and between them. Again rejecting the residential tower blocks that had been so recently fashionable but unloved, they set a height limit of three storeys outside the planned centre.
Facilities include a 1,400-seat theatre, a municipal art gallery, two multiplex cinemas, an ecumenical central church, a 400-seat concert hall, a teaching hospital, a 30,500-seat football stadium, an indoor ski-slope and a 65,000-capacity open-air concert venue. Seven railway stations serve the Milton Keynes urban area (one inter-city). The Open University is based here and there is a small campus of the University of Bedfordshire. Most major sports are represented at amateur level; Red Bull Racing (Formula One), MK Dons (association football), and Milton Keynes Lightning (ice hockey) are its professional teams. The Peace Pagoda overlooking Willen Lake was the first such to be built in Europe.
Milton Keynes has one of the more successful economies in the UK, ranked highly against a number of criteria. It has the UK's fifth highest number of business startups per capita (but equally of business failures). It is home to several major national and international companies. Despite this economic success and personal wealth for some, there are pockets of nationally significant poverty. The employment profile is composed of about 90% service industries and 9% manufacturing.