Following extensive public consultation, a planning application for the redevelopment of the iconic Saxon Court building has been submitted to Milton Keynes Council by First Base and Patron Capital, working with architects Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP).
The 2.35 acre site, which will be known as MK Gateway, will see the sustainable redevelopment of the original Saxon Court building into a future-focussed Knowledge hub, and the development of two new buildings; the Shed, a space for local businesses to make and create, and the Village, which will represent a UK-first in the future of urban living.
The development will see the retention, refurbishment, and extension of the original Saxon Court building, delivering high-tech office space and flexible co-working areas. The existing atrium space will be revitalised, becoming an indoor public square, with local independent food, drink, and leisure spaces, connected to an outdoor ‘village green’ which will host pop-up activities and events.
MK Gateway will provide the equivalent size of 19 tennis courts worth of publicly accessible space, creating a new neighbourhood to live, work and play.
A comprehensive consultation programme, conducted following the acquisition of the site in October 2020, saw mixed use developers, First Base, and investors Patron Capital, engage with thousands of local residents, businesses, and stakeholders, with over 6,000 responses received. Comments and suggestions made during these consultations have directly influenced the final plans, created by globally renowned architects, RSH+P. This includes a focus on sustainability, new spaces for local businesses and community-use, space for public art, and affordable housing.
Delivering 288 apartments for rent, the proposed development is set to be the first in Central Milton Keynes to comply with MK Council’s affordable housing policy, with over a third (31%) of homes available for a discounted market rent. Incorporating a UK first, the Village will feature 11 vertical gardens, totalling 4,500 square feet, for residents to share and enjoy.
Representing a local investment of £180 million, and the creation of over 2,000 jobs, the plans are in alignment with Milton Keynes’ Strategy for 2050 to fuel the long-term evolution of Milton Keynes as a city of the future. In addition, the Shed will offer dynamic workshop space for local SMEs. Businesses from all industries will benefit from the flexible space, which will nurture and support new innovations and collaborations to drive business growth in the region.
Setting new benchmarks, MK Gateway will deliver over £300m in social value over the next 20 years, providing long-term community benefits from local employment and training opportunities and improvements to local health, wellbeing, and the environment.
“We are thrilled to have submitted our proposals for this iconic site, which will deliver new jobs, homes and new spaces for local people to enjoy. Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to meet with us and comment on our proposals. This valuable feedback has truly helped to shape our proposals. We believe this highly sustainable development will support Milton Keynes’ growth ambitions, celebrate the city’s innovative spirit, and generate significant long-term benefits.” Comments Steve Eccles, Project Director, First Base.
“Building on the significant role it has played in the city’s history, Saxon Court will continue to be an iconic part of Milton Keynes’ future. We are delighted to be investing in the city’s evolution as a key global knowledge hub, located at the heart of the UK’s Innovation Corridor. These proposals represent the scale of our ambition and confidence in Milton Keynes, as a city that fosters the successful growth of talent, creativity and innovation.” Comments Kevin Cooke, Director, Patron Capital.