DLA shortlisted for Planning Awards 2020

We are delighted to have been shortlisted for the Planning Magazine Award for Plan Making for our work on the Strategic Growth Study for Milton Keynes.

Milton Keynes has an ambition to grow to a metropolitan area of half a million people by 2050. However, recent decisions on joint strategic local plans illustrate the difficulties local authorities face when pursuing statutory strategic long term plans for this scale of growth through our current planning system.

Our Growth Study – and the emerging Council Growth Strategy it informs – do not form part of the formal development plan, but adopt a visionary rather than a ‘business as usual’ approach to growth planning. This has ‘freed’ us to examine the relationships between population, economy, infrastructure and the environment within the ‘metropolitan Milton Keynes area’ – a cross-boundary study area based on functional geography rather than administrative boundaries.

Working with economists Ortus and transport mobility specialists ITP, we were able to analyse how future patterns of employment, movement and technological change might shape where and how people want to live and work, and what inclusive growth strategies might result. Marrying growth strategies with strategic masterplanning generated a Spatial Framework for Growth, within which potential options for spatial growth have been identified. And, for each opportunity, we looked at how new growth could safeguard or deliver benefits back to existing communities as well as meet future development needs year on year to 2050 and beyond.

Building on MK’s world-renowned green infrastructure model, the Growth Study sets out how new regional-scale green and blue infrastructure could be delivered alongside strategic growth at scale, and how a change to smart shared mobility across the new city could achieve a step-change to sustainable transport for new places whilst transforming public transport services within the existing New Town.