The Plan

The Plan for Milton Keynes

Milton Keynes was the last and the most ambitious of the post-war new towns. From 1967, a development period of 25 years saw a dramatic change in the local landscape and thousands of new residents move to the area.

Browse through Volume 1 and 2 below.

The Plan for Milton Keynes, Volume One
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The Plan for Milton Keynes, Volume Two
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The Plan for Milton Keynes was produced by Llewelyn-Davies Weeks Forestier-Walker & Bor consultants from a brief written by the Milton Keynes Development Corporation. Work started in December 1967. The Plan defines the main aims of Milton Keynes but retains flexibility and lays the foundations for organic development. Fixed elements such as transport, drainage and water supply would be used to create a framework for social and economic development that would react to changing circumstances. They didn’t want to prescribe a way of life, but offer opportunities for residents to choose and build a life for themselves. The final form should be an expression of its people’s wishes.

Summary of Proposals

Movement and Access

The network of grid roads, spaced roughly 1 kilometre apart, were to provide for smooth and easy movement of traffic and an efficient public transport system. In order to achieve this they would not provide frontages to buildings within grid squares, but were considered landscape parkways, adding to the environment. All parts of the city were to be equally accessible by both private and public transport.

Local Environment

Activity centres placed at strategic points were to be very important in providing community spaces such as schools, local centres, shops and health centres. Placed at pedestrian crossing points for the grid roads, everyone should be within six minutes of an activity centre.


Attracting businesses for employment opportunities was considered key to the success of the new city. Employment areas would be dispersed and mainly towards the edges of the city in order to spread traffic. Planners took into account the decline in manufacturing and skilled work, along with the prediction of expansion in education, communications, information handling and entertainment services.

City Centre

The new city would need a centre and it was planned for the highest point in the designated area for prominence and ease of access. It was to contain shopping facilities, cultural and recreational activities, housing, and offices. Commerce was unpredictable so plans were made for the next ten years. Shopping areas in existing towns were to be improved to serve current and new residents.


This was the primary reason for the creation of the new city. The plan is based on the government’s initial request for a mixture of 50% private ownership and 50% public rental housing, but this quickly changed during the early 1970s to 75% public and 25% private. It was a complicated and unpredictable element of the proposals. Plans were made for the first ten years and a goal of 20,000 – 26,000 dwellings was set. The plan calls for high standards in housing design and layout in order to contribute to balance and variety, and an attractive city.

Social Development and Leisure

The network of community services should be available to and understood by residents. Plans for recreational activities needed to be timely with the growing population. The existing landscape features such as rivers, lakes and the canal were incorporated into leisure routes and the creation of linear parks for recreation. Small activities were considered too – places to sit and areas for walking.


The total cost of the new city was planned to be £700 million, shared between the Milton Keynes Development Corporation, local and public authorities, and the private sector. It was planned for a 48/24/28% split, with the Corporation contributing to local authority services where they were built before being necessary. The Corporation’s funds were borrowed from the Treasury on a 60 year loan.

Strategic Plan

The goals of the city would be realised through its strategic plan, which gave a framework for development. A first ten year plan was created to guide development in the initial stages and to ensure flexibility after construction had started. This ten year plan linked Bletchley with the northern towns of Stony Stratford and Wolverton via the new city centre in a crescent shape. Following on from this, the eastern and western flanks were to be developed outwards.

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