City Square To Undergo Transformation

Major City Centre Public Space To Be Revitalised In thecentre:mk's £20million Enhancement Programme. Hermes Real Esta

te and PRUPIM have submitted a planning application for significant enhancements to City Square at thecentre:mk as part of the latest stage of the planned £20m improvement programme at the regional shopping centre.

City Square was originally designed as a space where people can meet, sit, talk and watch the world go by but over time the space has become less and less pedestrian friendly, with changes in level that provide a barrier to movement and increasingly cluttered by bollards and benches. It is also not oriented to take maximum advantage of available sunlight during the day and the lack of facilities mean it only tends to be used when the weather is warm and dry.

The £1.2million proposals currently being considered by Milton Keynes Council will significantly redevelop City Square to create an exciting modern outdoor space for Milton Keynes. The focus of the square will be a new area for open events that will be suitable for a wide range of functions. Covered seating for these events will be provided by a new permanent kiosk that will serve food and drink all year round, with seating for 140 people. Facilities will also be built in to enable two additional temporary kiosks to be brought in to boost the food and drink offer during the summer when City Square will be busiest and will help cater for any events that take place in the square.

The new City Square would also have the benefit of completely redesigned landscaping, with triangular raised areas of grass that are designed to complement the city's grid system and to take maximum advantage of the sun. These areas will incorporate seating along the edges and, taking advantage of the changing levels of the landscaping, give people the opportunity to sit, relax and admire the views into the centre of the square and beyond.

Jon Weymouth of PRUPIM, the development manager for thecentre:mk, comments:

"We recognise that City Square does not fulfil its potential as a welcoming meeting place for visitors to the city centre but we believe our new proposals turn this around. Our proposals will make City Square easier to walk through and also improve the environment, making it a pleasant outdoor space in the heart of Milton Keynes where people can relax, also creating a new open area that will become the focus for performances and activities during the summer months.

"When we improve the quality of the square it is also vital that we provide facilities for people to spend time here and the kiosk will bring a high quality food and drink offer that will increase the viability and vitality of central Milton Keynes by encouraging City Square to be used all year round.

"We have held a series of pre-application meetings with officers at Milton Keynes Council, English Heritage and English Partnerships, who have been supportive of the proposals and so we look forward to hearing the Council's verdict in due course."

Robert Goodman, Centre Director at thecentre:mk adds: 'The proposals for City Square are part of the £20m enhancement plans for thecentre:mk that also include the recently granted planning application for the redevelopment of Queens Court into a new restaurant quarter for the shopping centre with four new restaurants within a welcoming, contemporary environment.

'These enhancements are designed to help Milton Keynes maintain its attractiveness and competitiveness as a regional shopping destination and to help ensure thecentre:mk retains its status as the retail heart of Milton Keynes and one of the most vibrant shopping centres in the country.'

If approved the work on City Square is scheduled to get underway by late autumn of this year with completion set for Summer 2009

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