900 new homes planned for Food Centre site in Milton Keynes

Buildings up to 16 storeys high for 900 new homes could be built on the increasingly derelict Food Centre in Central Milton Keynes, a report to the council has revealed.

The Food Centre opened in 1988 and had been occupied by Sainsbury’s and Waitrose until those supermarkets relocated about eight years ago, leaving much of the building vacant.

Current occupants of the three-floor Food Centre include Iceland, RBS and a range of independent food outlets. There’s also a four-storey multi-storey car park on the 2.4 hectare plot that provides 550 spaces.

Although no formal planning application has yet been lodged on Milton Keynes Council’s portal, consultants at Turley have asked for the authority’s opinion on whether an Environmental Impact Assessment is needed for the redevelopment. Council planners have decided that no assessment is needed.

The request reveals what is potentially in the offing for the 22,190-sq-m site at 702 – 710 Midsummer Boulevard, which sits in MK’s primary shopping area.

A report submitted to the council by London-based planning and design consultancy, Terence O Rourke says the proposal is for “a residential-led mixed-use scheme” in the central area of Milton Keynes.

The report reads: “It will provide approximately 900 residential units with a mix of flexible uses on the ground floor, including retail space and food store, office accommodation, community space, a gym and storage facility.

“The majority of new buildings will range from between seven and 16 storeys (50m) in height .This is an increase on the existing food centre building, but is considered in keeping with the adjacent Xscape building which is 44m at its apex (comparable to 15 residential storeys).”

The report goes on to say that the total footprint of the new buildings will be approximately 9,400-sq-m, with the proposal as a whole (inclusive of retained car park) will have a footprint of approximately 14,500-sq-m.

The proposal will see the demolition of the Food Centre, but is likely to retain and refurbish the existing multi-storey car park to provide parking provision for the new residential units, says the O’Rourke report.

As far as car parking spaces go, some 710 are proposed for residential use, and the O’Rourke report says: “Given the availability of parking in the city centre and the alternative travel modes available, the loss of 550 public parking spaces (in conjunction to the removal of the Food Centre) is not likely to give rise a significant effect.”

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