please empty your brain below

MK’s concrete cows are no more?!
The concrete cows still exist in at least two places, they have just been moved (again). Now about 40 years old, they have been in various sites, and suffered various indignities. Wikipedia tells all, or quite a lot anyway.

Some evocative pictures here, I'm looking forward to tomorrow's post, particularly the prospect of some nice views from the far end of Midsummer Boulevard.
Station Square, so that what it's called. To me it is the most souless place I have ever had the misfortune to experience in the UK, no make that the world, the first by night and the other in daylight.

Why, for those of you who have never been there. There is simply no sense of scale, it is bland and featureless, with no sense of civic pride whatsoever. It is a symbolic vacuum in the heart of the city that has no centre: it is depressing, intimidating, and even a little threatening, whatever were the planners thinking.

Now, I have driven there once, and whilst I didn't get lost, I didn't make it to my destination without two corrections, such is the featureless nature of the road network, but that's another story.
Many years ago a friend of mine had the misfortune to have to move there because of work.

However, he was able to numb the pain as he discovered that the queues of adults at the ice cream van were because Mr Whippy was also the local purveyor of mind altering substances.

A 'Coke Float' was 70 quid!
The parks in Milton Keynes are absolutely fantastic, I hope you had a chance to see them
My workplace looks out over Fred Roche Gardens and The Big Church.

Ken and Chris - you are totally wrong. MK is a great place to live and work. I used to live in a couple of big cities in the North and would not move back to either. It seems MK bashing is a favourite pasttime of some. There are much worse places, ever been to Bracknell?

And ice cream vans offering extras is not unique to Milton Keynes.
I never realised that road has a solstice origin. To me it's the main road from the station to the shopping centre and out again to a nice park (part 2)!

The fact that a City could be built without its own railway station (people had to use Bletchley instead) is an indictment of the thinking at the time...
I was reading this thinking what a strange place it is coming across as, but I think "bland" and "soul-less" sum up the impression I'm getting about MK. Where are all the people, for one?! Seems unnatural!

Hopefully the town will redeem itself in tomorrow's post a bit because right now it's just coming across creepy!
MK isn't all that bad ... my son lived nearby for a few years and I had the honour of visiting a few times ... yes on first encounter you don't see many people, and the only way to drive around is with a satnav otherwise you'll get mindbendingly lost (why does every roundabout have to look the same, it's as bad as Crawley) ... but once you get out to explore and take walks along the greenways you start to get the point of the place and I could well imagine living there is a better experience that in most large towns/cities
Usually when you read a piece about a place you know well - and especially about MK - it's a mixture of half decent observation with cliché and misinformation.

I've lived in MK for 30 years and every element of this is both well observed and spot on. And I learnt something too - I didn't know the purple thing was Avebury-related.

Thanks DG, looking forward to part two, in which you will pass several places where I watched the 1994 World Cup but which no longer provide either television or beer.
I went past the purple thing on Monday, occupying the front seat of a double decker bus and failed to notice it!

Caz, the similarity of the roundabouts is because they were all designed and built over a very short period. Many of our new towns suffer from this, with a homogenity that more traditional towns don't have. I first learnt this as a teenager trying to navigate my way around Newton Aycliffe - much of it built over barely a decade, it all looked the same!
@Mikey C; yes, it seems extraordinary now that MK had no railway station, but that was a reflection of its planners' emphasis on car travel. I was one of the consultants called in (late 70s) to correct this, do feasibility studies, convince various bodies that this station would be necessary,etc. We were acting for MK, where officials had realised that rail travel to/from London and elsewhere had to be made easier. Our efforts were successful, and now there are quite a few commuters who travel to London daily.

I went there to have a look round, about 10 years ago; very easy journey, lots of trains. I didn't know about a lot of the things dg mentions, though some probably weren't there then. I thought the shopping centre was soulless and too big (coming from a commercial property specialist that's significant) and as a pedestrian I got lost on the way back to the station because all the walkways looked the same.
I lived in Milton Keynes for about a year 2010-2011 and loved it. Totally different but so green and spacious. I’ve been camping there twice since too - a bit beyond the end of Phase 2 tomorrow but still well within the city
I have visited MK on a number of occasions,mostly in a car as my son lives in Leighton Buzzard,and we were going to the Ice Hockey matches. The car journey was confusing at first, but when I went straight to MK on a train,it couldn't be easier. As a pedestrian,I found that it was quite simple to get around,most roads being built on a grid system.Pavements and underpasses did away with having to be within about a foot of traffic,as is so often the case in London.

Boring to look at it may be,but the opportunity to walk away from roads was great. It didn't matter so much that there were cyclists around because the ways were big enough for everyone,unlike some places along the Thames way where you have to be pretty nimble on your legs to avoid being careered into by racing bikers!
...and still it awaits "official" city status. its recent 50th birthday being a perfect opportunity.
I keep trying to like Milton Keynes but still haven't managed it. I found going to Christ the Cornerstone an odd experience; the wide road and large car park make it feel more like an office block or light industrial unit. It really needs that dome to help it stand out.
That third photo sums up what I now dislike about MK. The original design vision has been compromised and eroded by poor maintenance and a failure to appreciate what the designers gave them. Look at the hideous mix of paving surfaces where once it was perfect geometric grey uniformity. Look at the unrepaired chunk in the bridge cladding, the weeds, the peeling paint on the lamp posts. *twitch*

The crass building-over of Midsummer Boulevard and that noxious giant metal snowshed that can be seen from space... aaagh.

I need to lie down.
Ah Millstone Keens, as the Bucks ratepayers who paid for it for many years always referred to it.

Sadly, as seen from the latest batch of newly 'planned' proposed garden cities, no lessons have been learnt from the errors made 50 years ago. Plus ca change...
@MKIan I can understand that you didn't appreciate my sense of humour, however, space did not permit me to mention the generally pleasant housing stock and out of town centre communities that I also experienced.

I spent time at Reading Uni and have fond memories of Bracknell, and still pass through the town when travelling to/from Wales.
For me the unique selling point of Milton Keynes as a place to live and work is that many (not all) commutes can be done on foot or a bike, through parkland. Compare that with sitting or standing in a tin can of some kind just about anywhere else.

I would recommend putting up with any amount of featureless squares or similar roundabouts, just to have that quality commute.
Milton Keynes was not built to have no railway station. There were already 2.5 within the city. What changed was the emphasis on the city centre. As originally planned, most of the offices and shops which have finished up there would have been dispersed all over the city.

But that didn't work out; for various reasons the role of the city centre developed muchly. But even so, the plans were flexible enough to make it possible to change tack and build a new station.
Lived there for 6 or 7 years. Loved it. Did you notice that whichever way you look at the church's cross its still a cross?
Blue Witch: the Buck rate payers did NOT pay for MK. It actually made a significant profit, which naturally wen to the Treasury! (Formula: buy up farmland; invest in infrastructure; sell on at a profit).
Lived in (and commuted from) MK for just over a year, and found it very much a town of two halves. On the one hand, the redways and green spaces are fantastic, especially further up towards Wolverton and the Ouzel Valley park. Trees and lakes everywhere. On the other, if you don't like shopping, chain eateries and bars and mainstream cinema, the centre can feel soulless and alienating. The identikit nature of many of the housing areas also adds to that feeling for me, and was ultimately why I left. I just needed more alternative and underground scenes to explore. I'll still defend it, but I can also see where the dislike stems from.
'prehistoric illusion' ... I suppose if you are a millennial the 1960s may appear like prehistory, but did you mean 'prehistoric allusion' I wonder?

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