Monday, January 15, 2007

More on Milton Keynes

Ooh what a bitter sweet debate!

I do love stirring from time to time.

Since I posted on John Gummer's blog a whole host (well, 17) people have responded with mixed feelings. It is interesting that out of the couple of thousand who must have read the article in MK Today, only 17 actually bothered replying. And I suspect that half of those only did so because I ruffled a few precious little feathers.

But there is a seriousness here that should neither be overlooked nor clouded by John's initial observations.

Milton Keynes was designed for the benefit the shopping centre, not the other way around. When all you who support Milton Keynes offer your continued support, make sure that the non-elected members that are involved in the growth of this town really do have YOUR best interests at heart.

When the theatre (and it is a good theatre) was launched, its own little district was billed by the council as "Just like Covent Garden." We know that that is far from the truth.

For instance it has been suggested that ALL premises in the theater district serve alcohol in plastic glasses (Bar-me already does). That says much about the area.

The food there is rubbish, plastic and as desposable as the glasses. It is as pretty as a breeze block.

You have to ask how the planning descisions were taken so that small, independent companies did not even have a look in at the site. It was simply advertised nationally to the chains.

A council is meant to protect and build a LOCAL economy. When they proudly announced the revolting Escape, a corrugated iron edifice that can be seen clearly from Ivinghoe beacon, or a couple of years ago trumpet the arrival of Debenhams, or inflict the most expensive and rip off German Market, you wonder who they are really working for.

Nothing Taller than the trees - where did that philosophy go?

Communities will grow up where they are allowed to. And communities within the older, pre MK areas are fighting on - and good for them. Some have already lost, like Bletchly and Fenny Stratford.

When the shopping centre opened all those years ago, it more or less killed off that bit of the local economy overnight. The councils idea of supporting a the locals is to allow a great big hyper store and then have a couple of small units shoved round the back. It looks better on the planning consent.

It takes two groups to kill a community:

Massive stores and chains who spend millions over long periods to push their way through planning. I did the sound on a couple of proposal videos some years ago, you would not believe how they operate. These videos cost Thousands and are only played to the council.

And it takes a council of idiots to be duped by the sell and sign on the bottom line.

Sadly, the public often have little real say in any of it.

Milton Keynes has been built on this principle.

I wrote a song about it:

You tear the heart from the land to build your city,
A million tons of concrete, don't you think it's pretty?
It's all about sleeze wrapped up in big money,
And you hope we dont mind that you find it funny,
And I am Crying
You keep us crying.

You can hear the whole song HERE


PS: According to the sign I live in MK11. How nice!