The Chief Executive of The Parks Trust has addressed business leaders from across Milton Keynes, calling for a strategic approach to the expansion of green spaces as the city’s growth objectives are realised.
Established by the Milton Keynes Development Corporation, The Park Trust is a local independent charity that cares for over 6,000 acres of parkland and green spaces in Milton Keynes. This includes the river valleys, ancient woodlands, lakesides, parks and landscaped areas alongside the main roads that represent 25% of the city.
Speaking at a Milton Keynes Business Leaders Partnership (MKBLP) event at Bletchley Park, the charity's Chief Executive David Foster stressed how an anticipated population increase of over 200,000 inhabitants by 2050 will put pressure on the current green network, and the management of its assets.
He said: "We cannot afford for our green spaces to become a liability which other cities have witnessed. It could negatively affect the economic and social prospects of the city. The public needs to be interested and concerned for its future.
"We need to ensure the entire network remains linked, which was one of the original triumphs, while provisions need to be made for another Campbell Park or Willen Lake.”
"Around 1 million homes will be built within the Oxford to Cambridge Arc, and Milton Keynes will see a significant part of this development. It’s not enough to simply add a park or a playing field. With this scale of growth, you’re essentially growing a new city, it needs to be properly planned and there are gaps along the green corridor which need to be plugged."
He is also calling for the value of the land to be effectively captured as the city continues to grow. Efficient taxation is needed to create a good provision for the long term maintenance of green spaces, so it doesn’t become a burden to the local authority.
Many thanks to all our members who attended our Breakfast Briefing @bletchleypark earlier this week and thanks again to our speaker David Foster from @TheParksTrust - read our full write up here: https://t.co/6iVbuaOKQa pic.twitter.com/JEvDHW6QpG— MKBLP (@MKBLP) August 20, 2021
David Foster, who recently announced his retirement after 18 years at the helm of The Parks Trust, is planning to complete the investment in Campbell Park before he leaves next year. He hopes his legacy will be to leave the charity in a strong, robust position.
Along with his successor, it’s now down to the public and the various communities, to realise his ambition that the city’s green spaces continue to grow and be loved by the people of Milton Keynes.