Sunday, 19 October 2014

What have MK Dons brought to the city?

MK Dons (Milton Keynes Football Club) has been based at Stadium:mk in Milton Keynes since 2007, when it was opened by the Queen. The stadium cost around £50 million to build, money which has arguably been well-spent, but do you agree?

It is a great quality standard and hosts superior facilities, with a modern look and a lot of glass on view. The recent installation of seating in the previously unused upper tier has made more use of the space and fits even more people in, although whether this amount of seating is needed is debatable, as there has yet to be a sell-out match. With a capacity of 30,500 seated, and an average attendance of 8,612 it is often looking more empty than full. Being used for the rugby world cup next year may see the stadium a bit more full, but whether it will remain empty once that is out the way who knows.

The surrounding area of Milton Keynes has grown up around the stadium, and it would seem that the stadium has attracted other retail businesses to it. A new retail centre is currently being built nearby, with restaurants and an IMAX cinema, saving visitors to the stadium from having to travel too far for a meal before or after the match, possibly encouraging them to make a day of their visit rather than just watching the football. It looks like we could be seeing yet more uses for the stadium soon, with gigs rumoured to be coming to the arena soon in the future.

The IMAX cinema will have 15 screens and is rumoured to be the best in the country once it opens in February next year. The seven restaurants to be part of the complex will include Bella Italia, T.G.I Friday's, Prezzo, Nando's, and more.

While these provide more options for people and more places to relax, it sees what appears to be yet another pop-up clone of what already exists in several places across Milton Keynes. In Xscape alone is a large cinema complex and the majority of the restaurants which will be opening at the new complex, and most of these restaurants are also in the centre:mk and in the Kinsgton Tesco complex as well. Maybe we're getting lazy, but it just seems a bit bizarre to have replicas of these places just 3 miles apart.

Whatever the reason for these developments (and lets face it, money will be at the forefront) visitors to Milton Keynes look like they may well be on the increase, and for us locals there are more jobs on offer and we've got more options of where to go for some time out.

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