Network Rail’s new national centre – which will revitalise an underused corner of central Milton Keynes and bring up to 3,000 jobs to the city – moved a step closer today with the formal submission of a planning application to Milton Keynes Council.
The submission follows a series of public exhibitions held by Network Rail across the city, where residents had the chance to speak to the team behind the project, provide feedback and suggestions and importantly, make a vital contribution to the final planning application.
Nearly 900 people took the time to stop by whilst a further 1,000 visited Network Rail’s consultation website to have their say electronically. The comments received were overwhelmingly positive, focusing mainly on the benefits of having 3,000 new jobs for the city. Many people responded positively on the environmental aspects of the new building’s design while others commented on the regeneration of the former National Hockey Stadium site and the wider benefits for Milton Keynes.
Network Rail was keen that the consultation offered a genuine chance for local people to influence its plans. A number of suggestions put forward during the consultation period have been incorporated into the final submission, including recharging points for electric vehicles in the car park and an allotment on site for fruit and vegetables.
Iain Coucher, chief executive of Network Rail, said: “Network Rail has made a big commitment to Milton Keynes in choosing the city as the home of our new national centre. We are delighted to have had the opportunity to speak to so many local people about our plans, to listen to them and take on board their thoughts and opinions.
Mr Coucher continued: “Network Rail has worked closely with Milton Keynes Council and Milton Keynes Partnership to develop our design and we are pleased with the result. We recognise the importance of urban planning to the history of Milton Keynes and the way the city has been designed. We want our building to be one of which both the city and Network Rail can be proud.”
John Lewis, chief executive of Milton Keynes Partnership, said: “Network Rail is already working in Milton Keynes and will have a growing presence in the city with plans to recruit some staff locally. The decision to locate Network Rail’s national centre here is a tremendous coup for Milton Keynes and further cements the city’s position as a great place to do business.”