“I was a Chartered Surveyor. I joined the Corporation in June 1969. My main responsibility was to buy the land on which Milton Keynes was built. I also had responsibility for dealing with land sales to Housing Associations, and local authorities. I was employee 35!
Land ownership was important because it helped the Corporation have some control, along with its planning powers, over the quality and timing of development. Clearly people moving to Milton Keys wanted there to be facilities and job opportunities when they arrived. There were about 18,500 acres of land to be bought in the rural areas, together with land in the urban areas for developments such as Cofferidge Close, the Brunel centre and the Agora. After 5 years the bulk of the land was bought and I moved on into the development of sale housing. At this stage land sales were my responsibility, and planning were in different departments. Sales were slow with a poor housing market. However a change of government was looming, with a Conservative government under the leadership of Margaret Thatcher coming. Housing formed a large part of their portfolio. Sales to tenants of rental housing, public authorities not being allowed to develop rental housing, and an emphasis on home ownership was important. The Corporation decided to form a Private Housing Unit which dealt with all aspects of housing development, and I was its Manager. The Corporation introduced Shared ownership. The Conservatives took the credit!
We worked closely with many individual developers as well as the House Builders Federation. Housing Associations became more commercial and provided our rental housing.
I retired when I was made redundant at the time it was wound up in March 1992. I was the second longest member of staff.”