MILTON KEYNES TIME LINE, PEOPLE.
Here are my opinions and observations on some significant stages in which I was involved and witnessed in the evolution of Milton Keynes from 1962 to 1975.
I think it indisputable that a new city in this location would never have happened without the achievements of the Councillors, Officers and Staff of Bucks County Council, in the years leading up to the construction of what has become Milton Keynes. The creation of a general consensus of the people within the administrative county, the local authorities and the general populace enabled the Development Corporation to proceed smoothly and speedily to build the major economic and social success that Milton Keynes is today. This was the work of a rapidly growing inter-professional team. In my opinion it was the vision, courage and political ability of Fred Pooley which enabled Milton Keynes to come about. Other major developments advocated in the South East Studies of 1964 and 1967 did not succeed, such as Southampton-Portsmouth, Newbury, Ipswich, or Ashford. No Architect, other than Fred Pooley can rightly claim to be the ‘father of Milton Keynes’, certainly not one of those who came rather late into the process.
♦ It was Fred Pooley who had the vision, idea and courage for creating a New City for 250,000 people in North Bucks.
♦ I had the the privilege of giving Fred’s outline idea a credible form, area and to confirm its location.
♦ The size of 250,000 did not result from some academic study or detailed researched project into the most beneficial size of community. No, It was to create a City rather than a Town, with central facilities larger than the early New Towns could support. Even more to the point, Fred Pooley had been involved in rebuilding Coventry, then about 250,000, and as he put it, ‘a good size for a City!’
♦ The Buckinghamshire County Councillors Ireland, Comben and Verney carried the proposal through the Council.
♦ Deputy County Clerk, Dick Hamilton, gave Fred Pooley and the Councillors the administrative means to create a legally valid proposal.
♦ Much later in the process Fred Pooley, following my report to him of a meeting held in Whitehall, challenged the Ministry’s ‘Northampton, Bedford and North Bucks’ proposal for continuous developments linking Northampton and Bedford. There followed the designation of an area for a new city which was fully within Buckinghamshire under the New Towns Acts.
♦ The Labour government was responsible for changing Buckinghamshire’s (Conservative) Council’s original proposal to one with a New Towns Development Corporation as development agency.
♦ The Labour Government created the Development Corporation and its Board, led by a Labour Party Life Peer as Chairman, a Labour Party Life Peer as a Board member and which selected a Labour Party Life Peer as its Plan consultant.
♦ The intervention of Walter Bor of LDWFW&B delayed the commencement of a workable Implementation Strategy prepared by the Development Corporation for the physical construction of Milton Keynes.
♦ The opinion of The Board Chairman and the Board, who influenced the Deputy Board Chairman/Chief Executive on the type of housing to be built, delayed construction of houses whilst administrative, infrastructural and development investment escalated.
♦ Fred Roche, Architect, former Chief Architect of Runcorn New Town was appointed to sort out the difficulties so created and who enabled housing to be approved and start being built and the Plan to be successfully implemented.
♦ Fred Roche, after the Plan and the Implementation Strategy had already been formulated and much infrastructure commenced employed Derek Walker. Walker recruited many very talented design oriented young Architects.
♦ Much of the Corporation’s early housing work was not popular with users and had considerable constructional problems. Housing designed by LDWFW&B was shown by a survey of users to be much more satisfying to the occupants.
♦ Architects Peter Winchester (Linford) and Wayland Tunley (Neath Hill) brought a new era of more acceptable design to Milton Keynes, and which was more satisfying to the user.
♦ Talented Architects, Stuart Mosscrop and Chris Woodward, brought elegant and sophisticated concepts and detail to Central Milton Keynes.