A guide to serviced offices and office space for rent in Milton Keynes as well as general information that may be useful if you are thinking of renting office space in the town.
History & Geography
Lying approximately 49 miles north-west of London, Milton Keynes is one of the largest towns in Buckinghamshire in the south-east of England. The modern bustling commuter-belt ‘new town’ of today bears little resemblance to the small village it started life as. While there is evidence the area was occupied during the Roman occupation of Britain and even before, Milton Keynes, originally known as Middeltone, was properly settled soon after the Norman invasion of England in the 11th century. The powerful de Cahaines family ruled the area until the 13th century and it was during this time it acquired the name Middleton de Keynes, eventually being shortened to Milton Keynes. The town lies close to the famous Watling Street, the ancient track from London to Chester, and benefited from this location. However the main market town in the area remained Newport Pagnell and for centuries Milton Keynes’ size and population remained the same. The Grand Junction Canal, built in the late 18th century, stimulated trade with the area as well as surrounding communities. When the London and Birmingham Railway was built the area changed more and Milton Keynes’ population grew slightly. However it was not until the late 1960s when Milton Keynes took the form it is in today and became one of England’s ‘New Towns’.
In the 1960s government studies identified Buckinghamshire as an ideal location for a New Town to relieve chronic housing congestion in London. Encompassing the towns of Bletchley, Stony Stratford and Wolverton, this New Town would be the largest and most ambitious to date, and was named for a local village – Milton Keynes. The ‘designated area’ of the new town of Milton Keynes was 21,850 acres and located equidistant from London, Birmingham, Leicester, Oxford and Cambridge. It had a target population of 250,000. Intensive planning went into the building of Milton Keynes, including a system of grid roads and a massive landscaping effort. The town was intended to be made up of independent centres with a main town centre, to function as the area’s business and shopping district. The grid plan of the town was inspired by the work of legendary urban theorist Melvin M. Webber, who has been described as ‘the father of the city’. Many respected architects, including Norman Foster, Ralph Erskine and John Winter worked on the buildings of the town, and a far-reaching public art program was also pursued. Between 1970 and 1980 the population of the town almost doubled and today Milton Keynes boasts a population of 195,000. In the 1990s the Milton Keynes Borough Council was made a unitary authority, and in 2002 Milton Keynes applied for formal city status, but was not successful.
Milton Keynes is currently one of the most prosperous economies in the region. The town has gross value per capita index which is 47 percent higher than the national average. As is often the case with towns in the are, the local economy is dominated by the services industry, which also makes the town vulnerable to recession. One of the few manufacturers based in the area is Marshall, the famous maker of amplifiers, which constructs its valve amplifiers in the area. Milton Keynes is in the London commuter belt, and many residents work in the capital. A recent survey found that Milton Keynes was the best of the commuter towns in terms of potential cost savings. The survey estimated that the average commuter could save approximately GBP 7,000 by moving to the town.
Among the venues that Milton Keynes is known for are the open air National Bowl, the Milton Keynes Theatre, the jazz venue The Stables, and the Pitz Club in the Woughton Centre. Among the museums in the area the most popular is the Bletchley Park museum of wartime cryptography which displays the history of the park as a WWII code-breaking centre. Led by Alan Turing the centre at Bletchley Park is famous for cracking the German Enigma code. Milton Keynes is also known for its many public sculptures, the most famous perhaps being the Concrete Cows by Canadian sculptor Liz Leh. The town also boasts pieces by Phillip Jackson, Nicholas Moreton, Ronald Rae and Elisabeth Frink. The town is also home to the football team MK Dons, which play out of Stadium mk. The team currently play in the third tier of English football, Football League One.
Milton Keynes is served by five separate railway stations. Milton Keynes Central is the largest and the only one served by inter city services. The Wolverton and Bletchley stations are on the West Coast Main Line and Bow Brickhill and Fenny Stratford are on the Marston Vale Line. The main bus operator in the area is the MK Metro, which operates a number of routes around the central area of the town. A selection of long-distance coaches also stop in Milton Keynes coachway where there is a park and ride car park. The nearest airport is London Luton Airport, which can be easily accessed from Milton Keynes Central Station.
The Milton Keynes office market has approximately seven million square feet. Among the companies that have offices in the town are Santander, RBS, Grant Thornton, HBOS, Baker Tilly, DHL and Deloitte. Recently DHL took 10,995 square feet at 249 Midsummer Boulevard. Of late demand for Grade A office space has been rising in the area, which could lead to increased rents, as Milton Keynes suffers from a dearth of high quality office space. The current headline rent is GBP 20 per square foot per year.