Imagine a pedestrian priority village in Milton Keynes! This one was to be something that stood out in a town that is unashamedly designed for the car, and seems to be ruled by the car. We had high hopes that in awarding us this site the Corporation was signalling a new direction for the entire town …

The site was big enough to create a proper community of nearly 200 homes. It was inspired by the local villages just a couple of miles away, built for people first and without the car at their centre.

We wanted to build something that had a human scale, a sense of place. Something that might be a little unusual in Milton Keynes. Our inspiration was the local villages, which seemed a more humane precedent than some of the more modern development elsewhere in Milton Keynes.

We designed a bio-diverse development with a range of family homes grouped around communal spaces. The houses themselves were designed to exceed a plethora of standards surrounding flexibility and sustainability that are still just becoming policy.

We did the designs and had some great supporters in the judging panels, but had to cope with the reality that the Milton Keynes Corporation had already driven three wide roads through the site and effectively cut our proposed new neighbourhood up into small isolated pieces.

It was a worthwhile exercise – our houses still retain many of the features that came out of our research. Our eventual winning of the English Partnerships site in open market competition demonstrated that our design team had real caliber and was capable of incredible things.

Would this ever have worked in Milton Keynes? Let us know.