Milton Keynes Development Corporation

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Milton Keynes Development Corporation was established on 23 January 1967 to provide the vision and execution of a "new city", Milton Keynes, that would be the modern interpretation of the Garden city movement concepts first expressed by Ebenezer Howard 60 years earlier.

Situated in the north of Buckinghamshire near the borders with Northamptonshire and Bedfordshire, it would be a "city in the trees" – the planning guideline was "no building higher than the highest tree", at a time when multi-storey flats and office blocks were dominating the redevelopment of most inner city areas and many large towns, as well as new housing estates.

The aims that MKDC set out in "The Plan for Milton Keynes" implied that the designers would learn from the mistakes made in the earlier new towns and build a city that people would be proud to call their home.[1] On that date, the area within the designated area was home to some 40,000 people in the existing towns and villages. It was placed where it would have a direct road (the M1) and rail link (the West Coast Main Line) with the English capital city, London, and the second city Birmingham; both 50–60 miles away.

Founding Fathers

Following publication of the Draft Master Plan for Milton Keynes, the government appointed Lord Campbell of Eskan ("Jock" Campbell) to chair the board of the new Development Corporation. For the critical local consultation period, Walter Ismay became the Corporation's first Chief Executive. He added Richard Llewellyn Davies, Walter Bor and John de Monchaux, who produced the overall development plan, with its grid pattern of distributor roads at roughly 1 kilometre (0.6 mi) intervals. When the planning enquiries were over, it was time for a different type of CEO and Fred Roche took over in 1970. Lord Campbell was succeeded by Sir Henry Chilver in 1983.[2]


The Government wound up MKDC in 1992 after 25 years, transferring control to the Commission for New Towns (CNT) and then finally to English Partnerships which subsequently merged with the Housing Corporation to become the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA). Control over design passed to Milton Keynes Partnership which remained a major landowner in the City. Design criteria became more similar to those being applied by the HCA on sites it owned across the country. Conversely, the "river valleys, water courses and extensive landscape buffers within Milton Keynes provide a good example of how environmental assets can be integrated into new development."[3] The natural environment is under control of the Parks Trust and continues to be one of the major attractions to living in the city.

Most recently, Milton Keynes Partnership reviewed the height restrictions applied to all buildings in Milton Keynes, which has resulted in an end to the "no building taller than the tallest tree" policy and high-rise buildings have begun to be developed. Most notably within the Central Milton Keynes boundary, buildings are now being built to a height of 12+ storeys.

Further reading

See also


  1. Milton Keynes : the basics – Milton Keynes City Discovery Centre
  2. Clapson, Mark (2004). A Social History of Milton Keynes: Middle England/edge City. Routledge. ISBN 0-7146-5524-4.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>