Everyone who knows me knows my love of cycling! If the truth is known, I really don’t understand why more people don’t get on their bikes. Yes, the weather isn’t always perfect, yes the roads and redways can be a nightmare but for me getting on a bike makes me feel so much better.
What’s Not to Love
I can hardly believe that this time 3 years ago, I was training for my epic Land’s End to John O’Groats adventure. A couple of weeks on my own – me, my bike and my tent pedalling every day. This week we were in midst of the ‘Beast from the East’. I still managed to get outside and train. In fact, snow blocked one of my routes near Hanslope!
The trip was bliss, I met so many fascinating people and saw some beautiful places in the country. There was happiness and there was sadness. I laughed with people I didn’t know and I cried. I cried when I cycled across the hills by Shap. Driving rain hit my face at a 45 degree angle. I was cold, wet and lost my way more than once! Cycling up hills only to find I’d gone the wrong way, going down was no better as the cold wind blew through me.
I arrived at the campsite at Penrith complete drenched. I poured water out of my shoes, even with covers. It was the only time that I felt lonely and wondered what I was doing. At the crack of dawn on the next morning, rain had finally stopped and I met a young woman. This was a pointed when I realised I am possibly stronger than I believed. Finding such strength really reinforced my love of cycling.
Over 200 miles of Cycle Network In MK
We are so lucky to live in and around Milton Keynes. Redways, the safer cycle routes cover much of the area and Sustrans have created additional National network routes. Of course, despite having about 200 miles worth, I believe we need more. We also need more people to get on their bikes and we need better, safer cycle park facilities. In Belgium and the Netherlands cyclists park the cycles in the most fantastic underground cycle parks. They are designed like car parks with attendants on the doors. In Japan they are electric!
Ex-Council Building, New Hub
You can imagine my excitement when I received a press release about pedal power to support the sustainable ambitions for Saxon Court. I wouldn’t normally publish anything from the big corporates however, in my opinion, this is actually a very positive development. I don’t actually mind if they are doing it just to ‘look good’. They state the goal is for sustainability, embracing renewable energy, biodiversity and sustainable travel . Health and wellbeing, supporting people and the planet are at the heart of Saxon Court.
Basically, the developers are planning to include a cycle hub in their vision for the future of the iconic city building in Milton Keynes.
The cycle hub will cater for everyone from BMXers to seasoned cyclists and everyone in between. It’s part of their promise to support sustainable transport options and incorporate independent businesses within the redevelopment plans for Saxon Court.
First Base, and investors Patron Capital, are developing the former council building. The press release reports that the development will look (I sincerely hope this means will) include a cycle-themed centre. They talk about a cafe, bicycle workshop, bar and exhibition space. Let’s hope one of our excellent local independent bicycle specialists will run the workshop. This concept is based on a similar venture in London called ‘Look Mum, No Hands’. There is also talk of sampling local artisan produce.
Leading the Way
Saxon Court will also have a provision of e-bikes and e-scooters. They believe this will open up cycling and e-travel to a wider audience. It also forms part of First Base’s plan align with MK’s sustainable living and transport strategies. The 2050 strategy includes ambitions to be a near carbon zero city with a focus on emission-free travel.
World-leading architects RSHP are designing the cycle hub. The plans are also aiming to create over 2000 new jobs and opportunities for independent food, drink, retail and leisure businesses. The plans also include the development of a flexible workspace, a gym and an innovation hub. More people will need to shop local and reduce the use of locally-based large internet businesses!
John Ritchie, Chair of Team Milton Keynes Cycling and Triathlon Club commented, “As one of the UK’s most cycle friendly places a cycle hub is something Central Milton Keynes is definitely missing. The proposed Saxon Court hub would create a much needed facility giving cyclists a practical and social focal point.”
Have Your Say
The council has not granted planning permission for the 287 rented residential appartments. If it does, 31% of rented accommodation will comply with the council’s affordable housing policy. Residents in phase one of the public consultation have given positive feedback. They have scheduled the second phase for later in March – so look out and have your say! Construction is planned to start in April 2022, if given the go-ahead!
For further information visit https://saxoncourtmk.com/