Interview with Sir Ralph Verney.
Sir Ralph Verney was Chairman of the Finance Committee of Bucks County Council when the Ministry of Housing proposed to build a new town for London overspill in North Buckinghamshire (in about 1964). He describes their initial plans to extend ‘Metroland’, in the Chilterns area, and how the County Council was able to convince the Government that the alternative site they proposed was an improvement. The Housing Minister agreed to set up a new town corporation for Milton Keynes.
He recalls setting up the Milton Keynes Development Corporation Board, of which he was a member, the appointment of Jock Campbell, and some of the development principles of the city. There was some resentment within other areas of Bucks about the investment; Aylesbury and Bletchley already had agreements to take some London overspill. He comments on the sale of the Radcliffe Estate, Wolverton to MKDC. Sir Ralph left the MKDC Board in the late 1970s. He says: ‘I think the saddest thing, really in my time on the Corporation was that politics came into it far too much’. In his opinon, political decisions significantly affected the quality of rental housing. Overall, he considers that: ‘Buckinghamshire County Council was never hostile as a whole to Milton Keynes but always rather proud of what we’d done.’