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The local area guide to living in Milton Keynes
Milton Keynes is cemented in the UK’s consciousness as the stereotypical new build town. Its strict street planning, consistent architecture, and sprawling size are alien concepts to a country used to haphazardly building towns and villages. But, Milton Keynes has far more to offer than many people would think.
For starters, Milton Keynes is surprisingly green, with 20 million trees within its boundaries. While it is true that the modernist post-war style of architecture dominates the landscape, the town itself is rather flat. Long-standing height restrictions stipulate that ‘no building may be higher than the tallest tree’, although more recently these rules have been relaxed for the town centre.
The town was constructed with the ideal ‘Garden City’ in mind, which means the green spaces are well planned and plentiful, breaking up the modernist architecture to create an open feel for the city. Cycle paths and footpaths criss-cross throughout, and the nearby countryside has plenty of pretty little villages and small towns, including Great Linford and Stony Stratford.
Information about the local residents
The town’s economy revolves predominantly around the service industry and thrives on them, with average incomes above the national average. Industry is doing well in Milton Keynes at the moment, with figures showing that it had the highest job-growth of all the 64 largest towns and cities in the UK over the past 10 years.
Demographically, the town is 90% white British, but also has a small South Asian population. The population is younger than the UK average, with 22.6% of the residents in the larger borough area being under the age of 16, compared to 19.0% in England.
There are a wide selection of comprehensive schools in Milton Keynes, and they perform well. The average educational achievement rates are higher than the national averages, and the town also has a couple of independent schools, should families wish to explore those options. The Milton Keynes Preparatory School and the Webber Independent School are both high performers of note.
As a modern town, Milton Keynes is very well supplied with transport links. When the government decided to create a ‘new town’ to alleviate overcrowding in London, Milton Keynes was chosen, thanks to its being equidistant from London, Birmingham, Leicester, Oxford and Cambridge. Thanks to this, Milton Keynes is uniquely placed to offer connections to the rest of England, and the UK.
For motorists, the M1 is nearby and offers a quick connection to London. Westwards, the A5 goes through the Midlands and into Wales. By train, Milton Keynes Central connects to London Euston in just over half an hour, and has half a dozen services every hour.
Busses are also convenient and reliable in Milton Keynes, offering cheap transport around the town. There are also coach services going to Oxford, Cambridge and Peterborough, as well as London.
The town is one of few in the UK built with cars in mind, and it can accommodate a large volume of traffic easily. It also has an excellent web of cycle routes, often taking relaxing paths through the town’s green spaces, making them popular with leisure riders and commuters alike.
Milton Keynes’ town centre has a good selection of amenities and shops, with high end fashion stores, cinemas, cafes, pubs, restaurants and more easily found on the high street.
The Centre:MK is, interestingly, a Grade II listed shopping centre and is a stand out example of modernist architecture. It has a good array of high street brands and places to eat.
The Central Arts centre is a good place to see concerts, film and art exhibitions, while the National Bowl is a 65,000 capacity arena, hosting world-touring bands.
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