We’re thrilled to announce the appointment of ex-Queensberry and Multi Development director, Jon Munce.

Jon will head up our development team, overseeing the delivery of major mixed-use projects in the UK. Jon has over 30 years of experience in the construction and property industry both in the UK and overseas. He has been heavily involved in major urban regeneration schemes including Victoria Square in Belfast, Southgate in Bath, Friars Walk in Newport, The Glassworks in Barnsley and Heart of The City II in Sheffield.

Stuart Harris, Milligan COO welcomed Jon to the team by saying “Jon and I have worked together for over 17 years, first at Multi Development then as co-founders of Queensberry. He’s delivered many complex schemes over the years and I’m thrilled that he’s joined the team here at Milligan. We are working on some very exciting projects as we diversify our expertise to meet the challenges of creating developments that deliver value for investors and communities.

“In the past few years, we’ve grown our business working alongside local authorities, banks and owners to define the next generation of mixed-use destinations and the roles of retail, leisure and residential within them. Jon’s experience will ensure we find the best and most sustainable methods of delivering these projects on time and on budget.”

Jon Munce said “Milligan is well known for its innovative approach to repositioning and development. It’s a unique sort of company with the knowledge and experience of a big corporate, but the agility, collaborative nature, creativity and innovative approach of a young start-up.

“I’m looking forward to working with a great group of people and being part of a company with big ambitions. Our project the Gateway, near Chesterfield in the Peak District National Park will change the face of tourism in the UK and pave the way as a Net Zero exemplar.”

Jon joined the company at the end of March 2022.

Milligan’s head of marketing, Tarah Gear, shared our ambitious goals for the Gateway at PEAK yesterday as part of a University of Derby-run event. The ‘Going Green Market Place’ was held in the historic and picturesque setting of Cromford Mills in Derbyshire. Tarah was joined by a host of speakers sharing ideas and best practice for their green agendas.

The event was hosted by the University of Derby’s Low Carbon Business Network, which supports businesses in embracing the shift towards a low carbon economy and helping them understand policies and practical ways to incorporate green practices into their operations and business models.

Tarah shared details of the scheme at Gateway and talked about how purpose, a focus on tomorrow’s customer and how having ambitious goals when it comes to sustainable tourism are driving forces within the project.

As we continue to work with Ashford Borough Council to find a new occupier for its retro cinema building, the marketing campaign recently took an artistic turn. Local artist Aimee Godden, owner of Gracefully Boho has created a brand new mural on the front of the building depicting iconic cinematic motifs and key dates in its history. It has been great to work with Aimee who is one of Ashford’s most loved mural artists and is commissioned regularly for paintings in Ashford town centre.


Ashford Borough Council, Cradick and Milligan are continuing to explore opportunities on breathing a new lease of life into the Odeon building and are actively seeking interested parties to develop new uses for the versatile space. If you are interested in finding out more, please contact Emma@milliganltd.com


There’s been a lot going on at Milligan HQ since 2022 kicked off. Identifying and creating the right mix of uses combined with inspiring placemaking is the key to the long term revitalisation and regeneration of our towns and cities. A balanced mix of uses based on the demands and needs of a particular place will not always be the most profitable in the short term so collaboration between the public and private sectors will be key to providing lasting value for both communities and investors. Residential has an important role to play but it’s not the panacea. Providing different types of residential accommodation are also an important part of the solution. Economic, Social, Environmental, and Commercial value need to evaluated as part of viability equation.

Today we’re working with local authorities in Ashford, Chesterfield, Sunderland and Swansea with the central theme of creating safe, rich, unique destinations and experiences which rekindle civic pride. We’re also working with Shopping Centre owners to identify options and deliverable solutions to ‘right-size’ their retail and leisure propositions. Often this will mean redeveloping or repurposing parts or all of the asset.

In 2021, we asked for feedback from those in the industry who know us well. Everyone recognised our evolution to rounded mixed-use developers with a passion for retail and leisure. They also recognised our expertise, creativity, and innovation, the strength of our team, and our collaborative approach. Last year, we made a number of new hires, helping to diversify and add depth to our team. We want to be an inspiring place to work and an environment that promotes integrity, respect, and diversity.

Both retail and leisure have been through hard times recently but we’re now beginning to see the true entrepreneurial spirit of both again. Market conditions are now allowing independents and new propositions to take a foothold in the centres of our towns and cities creating an array of shops, cafes, restaurants, leisure, and cultural experiences that better reflect the identity of a place, moving us away from the clone towns of the last 20 years.

We’ve also been working hard behind the scenes to make our sustainability policies more accountable. With the UN’s SDGs and science based targets at their heart, our ESG plans are driving decision making in a way like never before. Sustainable, low-impact and community based concepts like CreativeTrade are our vision for the future of ‘in person’ commerce and retail. Our work at the Gateway at PEAK is a flagship project, not only because of its commitment to Net Zero but because it exists to reduce carbon emissions in the Peak District National Park, where growing tourism has become a problem.

For us, ESG is not just about asking how we should take on and deliver a new development, but fundamentally asking why.

In a new world where we like many others are playing our part in how we build back better, our modus operandi continues… Balancing wisdom and curiosity, creativity and innovation and deploying partnerships to best effect, we create inspiring places with heart.

To stay up to date with our news and project developments, please follow our social channels… or feel free to drop the team a line to say ‘hi’. We’d love to hear from you.

Our work with Ashford Borough Council has reached an exciting new milestone. We are actively seeking interested parties to repurpose the town’s former Odeon cinema.

The thriving Kent town is currently undergoing a revival driven by its changing community needs and younger and more diverse population. The building itself, which has also been a Mecca Bingo, was opened in 1936 and was designed by Andrew Mather, who was responsible for designing many of the other Odeon cinemas across the UK.

The plan is to retain and enhance the front of the building facing the High Street to create an active entrance and frontage to the Lower High Street. The rear of the building which houses the old auditorium will be demolished and replaced by a new extension that provides a modern, flexible space which will open up and enhance views to the iconic Grade I listed St Mary’s Church.

Stuart Harris, Chief Operating Officer of Milligan, said: “This is an exciting and unique opportunity for Ashford and the right operator. The Odeon has so much history and is located in the heart of the town centre. We hope that the inspiration for its future will build on this heritage and create a thriving new community that brings back the life and excitement that the building once had.

“The beauty of the building is it provides an exciting opportunity for a range of operators; craft or cultural destination, hospitality, co-working, wellness or leisure with retail and commerce woven through to put their own unique stamp on the building.

“Ashford’s economy is growing and it’s underpinned by a positive culture of enterprise.

“There’s plenty going on in the town. Venues like The Coachworks are already blending dining, drinking, co-working, art, music and culture and creating much needed communities out of historic buildings. Elwick Place and the Curious Brewery are proving that Ashford is at the forefront of modern living and building local brands.

“The Odeon opportunity could do that in the heart of the town centre and return a much-loved and repurposed building back to Ashford for everyone to enjoy,” added Stuart.

Cllr Nathan Iliffe, Ashford Borough Council’s Portfolio Holder for Regeneration and Corporate Property, said: “The former Odeon is arguably one of the most iconic buildings in Ashford and certainly one our community feels passionately about. Having it stand proud again as an important part of the town, with new and exciting reasons to visit, is going to benefit everyone in the area.”

Who to contact
If you are interested to learn more about this exciting opportunity, please contact Alex Standen at Cradick – email astanden@cradick.co.uk or call 07770 935263.

odeon, development, town centre, regeneration (ashford.gov.uk)

We are thrilled to announce that we’ve been appointed to progress the approved Ashford Town Centre Reset Strategy that will deliver a transformative ‘town centre reset’.


Milligan was appointed following a competitive process and after assembling a multi-disciplinary team of placemaking experts especially for the project. Allies and Morrison, CACI, Partnering Regeneration Development (PRD) and Gleeds will bring together specialist skills in architecture, urban design, place identity, data, insight and social value creation.

Milligan will lead the team establishing an action plan with short and medium-term development, public realm and placemaking improvements helping Ashford Borough Council achieve its ambitious master plan, coined as the ‘reset’.


Ashford town centre finds itself at an important crossroad in its history. Its forward-thinking council has already defined several themes that are now shaping its places, destinations and the uses available in the town for its residents, workers, visitors and communities. The declining role of retail, changing needs of residential and type of cultural offers available will be key drivers of the action plan.


Paul Hanegraaf, Milligan’s Creative Navigator said, “Ashford has nurtured a very special collection of boutique places – eateries, retail and leisure hang-outs. There are emerging brands and unique finds everywhere you look. The key will be to amplify this creative heart and entrepreneurial spirit, give it structure and stability within the backdrop of a historic and well-connected town.


“Everything coming together in Ashford is bespoke to the fabric of the community. That’s the key to creating enduring places in a post-pandemic, post-online and post-consumerism destination. That’s why it was so important for us to assemble the very best minds and the very best thinking to get under the skin of what makes Ashford special and deliver an action plan that creates enduring social value.


“We’re excited about this type of innovation and think that Ashford is making a bold move that other local authorities should follow.”


Ashford Borough Council Portfolio Holder for Regeneration & Corporate Property, Councillor Nathan Iliffe said: “We’ve been listening carefully to what our residents and businesses have been saying over the years. Change in the town centre during the pandemic has been a catalyst for long-awaited transformation, allowing us to drive forward our ambitious plans for a thriving future.


“Our businesses and residents have shown true resilience over the last 18 months, and now it is time to focus on creating a town centre for everyone. Milligan have assembled a unique and skilled team who will ensure we are putting our communities needs at the forefront of our regeneration plans.”


The initial strategic work which will set-out the business plan for Ashford’s town centre is due to be completed by the project team in March 2022.


Image from left to right:

Jane Manning – Director at Allies and Morrison, Emma Powell – Development Manager at Milligan, Jo Fox – ABC Development & Regeneration Manager, Mark Chaplin – ABC Placemaking Team Leader, Emily Heritage – ABC Regeneration Officer (Town Centre), Cllr Nathan Iliffe – ABC Portfolio Holder for Regeneration & Corporate Property, Paul Hanegraaf – Creative Navigator at Milligan, Andrew Osborne – ABC Economic Development Manager

Development Manager Emma Powell, is joining a panel for a Local Government Authority (LGA) Event today. “Creating resilient and revitalised high streets in the ‘New Normal’” will provide senior decision makers, in local government planning and regen teams with insights and helpful examples from a number of perspectives.


Speaking after our friends at research consultancy Trajectory, who will discuss some of the key trends to watch out for, Emma will be giving the developer’s perspective, talking about how ESG is changing the way we work with local authorities and bringing some examples to life through our work with Ashford Borough Council.



James Lidgate, Milligan’s Head of Residential spoke recently as part of the Housing and Built to Rent conference hosted by Built Environment Networking. Alongside other panellists, James placed importance on ‘the art of collaboration’ which is needed to create enduring, mixed-use places. “The arms race to maximise floor space in single-use assets is over” said James, “We are now creating places of experience, not just places where people transact – and they are not easy to deliver. That’s why we need collaboration and bravery to make difficult decisions and compromise with customer experience being the end goal.”

James also talked about the home as the new, ultimate mixed-use space as demands rise for the space, function and form to satisfy work, leisure and entertainment needs.

The Milligan Spain team is now actively searching for its next project, after completing a five-year period of asset management, at Zubiarte in Bilbao. This was preceded by a €8 million refurbishment, concluding in 2018, which transformed Zubiarte itself and saw some exciting stores and restaurants openings, such as the IKEA concept store. During our involvement Zubiarte has helped several organisations, a standout initiative was the support we gave to the Walk on Project. We are very proud to report that despite Covid-19 the centre maintained full occupancy and before restrictions was reporting a +40% uplift in footfall and had tripled its net operating profit.

Also we are very pleased to say that Zubiarte now is important to the fabric of the city of Bilbao as a destination.

We’re immensely proud to have had such an impact on a destination so important to the city of Bilbao and its community. We wish its owners ASG the best of luck with this fantastic asset and Bilbao icon.

Access the report here

2020 has been a year of uncertainty and hardship as each of us has navigated our own personal unknown within a world responding reactively to the pandemic.  We’ve had to accept continuous changes restricting our social connection and sense of freedom. We’ve adapted our working and personal lives to follow new safety guidelines, restrictions and constraints.  It’s been natural to focus on the difficulties and limitations of this new ‘normal’.

But also, for many, these new ways of living and working have prompted discussion and exploration of new wider possibilities, and conversations at Milligan have turned to looking forward to consider how we use this experience, with a realisation we can do things differently, devise innovative strategies, discover longer-term transformations that might continuously evolve, encouraging new thinking, innovation and a change of purpose.

How should we as developers and strategic asset managers be adapting as we make critical decisions on our projects that will help to shape the future of the communities in which we work. What do these changes mean for those high streets and shopping centres that are failing today and how best do we redevelop and repurpose them.

At Milligan we have always had a fascination with social trends and a passion for listening to and understanding our customers. It’s why we’ve teamed up with our friends at Trajectory to help us navigate the path beyond the current uncertainties. We’ve worked closely with them for over twenty years during which time they helped us define and evolve our Creative Trade concept utilising our insights from owning and operating Camden Lock Market. Trajectory’s ability to identify and track trends is a powerful and important tool in helping us ensure our future developments are both relevant and successful for years to come.

Trajectory don’t claim to have all the answers, but they can point with confidence to the direction of travel, highlighting significant social trends that will shape the nature of our towns and cities. The current pandemic has reminded us that the world’s great challenges such as climate change, a fairer society or defeating a virus can only be solved by working in collaboration. It is with this in mind and by playing our own small part in shaping the future of our towns and cities that we share the findings of this report. Our hope is that the observations and understanding of this report will help us all consider how we better meet the needs of the society we serve.

John Milligan, CEO Milligan

Click the following link to take you to the report:

The Deregulation of Life and Real Estate – Report Dec 2020