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History in the making - official handing over of HCA assets to MKDP

Monday Jan 14 saw the historic transfer of £32 million of land and property assets from the Homes & Communities Agency (HCA) to Milton Keynes Council.
Monday 14 Jan saw the historic transfer of £32 million of land and property assets from the Homes & Communities Agency (HCA) to Milton Keynes Council.

Under the terms of an overall agreement to ‘localise’ the HCA’s roles and responsibilities in Milton Keynes, the council will take over full control of planning decisions in the area and responsibility for managing the Milton Keynes tariff based infrastructure programme, as well as purchasing the land previously held by the HCA in Milton Keynes.

The official handover was marked by a ceremony held last Friday (pics attached) on a site in South 2nd Street, Central Milton Keynes - one of the parcels of land being transferred across to the council.

The transfer has been consistently supported by all three political groups on the council.

Council Leader Andrew Geary said: “It’s no exaggeration to say that this an historic occasion, not just for the council but for the whole of Milton Keynes.

“For the first time since the inception of the new city in 1967, all the powers to determine the nature, quality and pace of development in Milton Keynes – both through the exercise of planning powers and through the ownership of land with significant development potential – will be held by the locally accountable body, Milton Keynes Council. This is truly localism in action.”

As well as Andrew Geary and Milton Keynes Council’s Chief Executive, David Hill, the two Milton Keynes MPs, Iain Stewart and Mark Lancaster, who have facilitated the discussions with Government Ministers on the transfer, attended the ceremony along with other dignitaries.

Mark Lancaster said: “It was a great pleasure to help ensure that such a large amount of land from across the city has been transferred from the HCA to Milton Keynes Council.

“It will enable the people of Milton Keynes to have far greater power over the development of our city and is a sign that localism is working.”

Iain Stewart added: “I was very pleased to be able to assist in this matter.

“It is an important milestone for Milton Keynes as it means that local people, through their democratically elected councillors, will have a much greater say on how we develop our city in the future.”

The assets being purchased from the HCA were transferred to a new body – the Milton Keynes Development Partnership (MKDP) – set up by Milton Keynes Council to bring an entrepreneurial and commercial approach to the development of these assets.

The newly appointment independent Chair of the Milton Keynes Development Partnership, John Duggan, said: “These are exciting times for the future development of Milton Keynes.

“The MKDP will seek to ensure that these assets are used to bring the greatest possible benefit to all the citizens of MK, reinforcing the potential of the city as an economic powerhouse.

“We are now looking to recruit independent members to join the Board, to bring additional commercial acumen to our consideration of future options for the development of these property assets.”

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Milton Keynes praised again by Credit experts Experian

Milton Keynes’ reputation as an economic powerhouse has been further boosted in a new report – the second in just over a month - from global information services company Experian.
Milton Keynes’ reputation as an economic powerhouse has been further boosted in a new report – the second in just over a month - from global information services company Experian.

Research conducted by the company, on behalf of well-read commercial property magazine Estates Gazette, looked at 150 locations in the UK using key economic indicators including employment and output to predict which city has the best potential for residential, retail and commercial property growth between 2013 and 2017.

They found:

• For retail property growth Milton Keynes was ranked third in the country and number one growth hotspot outside of the M25.

• For office property growth Milton Keynes was ranked 5th in the country and 2nd outside of London.

• The overall ranking for the ‘Real Estate Viability Index’ put Milton Keynes in the top five in the UK, just behind London, Edinburgh and Leeds.

This latest news comes hot on the heels of a report from Experian last month, showing that Milton Keynes is leading the way in UK economic recovery, for both employment and output growth.

The five year forecasts showed Milton Keynes heading a top ten of ‘prosperous’ towns and cities, in terms of growth in jobs, and in the manufacturing, financial and business services, and retail sectors. Previous research has placed Milton Keynes as “one to watch” in leading economic recovery, but this is the first time the borough has topped a national list.

Cllr David Hopkins, Cabinet member responsible for the local economy, said: “It’s very pleasing to see that the Milton Keynes momentum continues, and our economic strength and success, willingness to learn, change, take chances and our die-hard, ‘can do’ legend is almost becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy.

“Now our shops and offices have been shown to be up there with the very best in the country. What next for us? I would say the sky’s the limit.”

Experian spokesman Bruno Rost said: “Our analysis puts Milton Keynes up there as the top growth borough with great prospects for the future.

“Leading retail brands have gravitated to the town where there are good opportunities for investment in both retail and business.

“Milton Keynes performs highly because its large working population has the skills and knowledge-base to support a broad and prosperous spread of businesses. This all adds up to continued employment growth and a strong economy for Milton Keynes in the coming years.”

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