New-look Point plans go on display

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The proposals for a new-look Point went on display on Thursday.

Developer Hammerson’s plans were shown the light of day at the MacIntyre Cafe with members of the public leaving their opinions on the new designs.

The new structure takes inspiration from the iconic Point, and features 160,000 square feet of retail and leisure space.

James Rowbotham, Development Manager for Hammerson said: “The ground floor will be large retail units. There’s a shortage of medium sized units in Milton Keynes and we feel it’s an opportunity for that.

“There will also be restaurants and cafes facing Midsummer Boulevard to help bring in a cafe culture in Milton Keynes.

“The final amount of leisure will be down to the occupier interest, but it should be around 40,000 square feet. Once we confirm the outline consent we will talk with the current occupiers in the scheme.”

Mr Rowbotham believes if everything goes as planned, work could begin next year.

We have a process to go through. We want to put the application in the summer and that will seek consent for the principle of development and the volume, and perhaps some other parameters, like height and bulk.

“If we’re successful, hopefully by the autumn, we’ll take on board the comments we get this week and see how we can incorporate that in the final submission and detailed design.

If we can get detailed consent during the course of next year, and get some occupier interest, it’s possible we will be starting on site in the latter part of next year.”

The plans weren’t to everyone’s liking, though.

Linda Inoki of citizen’s lobby group Xplain said: “It’s great that Hammerson have taken the trouble to revise their plans. Unfortunately we think the new design is fussy, out-dated and contrived. It looks like an exploding Toblerone - all odd triangles sprinkled with red neon lights.

“To be fair, they have tried to pick up on the public outpouring of affection for the Point last year but the resulting design doesn’t suit the ‘less is more’ philosophy of Milton Keynes.

“If they’re going to demolish it we think they’d be better to start with a clean slate. This is a very important site but so far the plan is just a box with a kitsch facade.

“We would much prefer a piece of cool, modernist architecture that knits well into the surrounding boulevards and streets. And what about some new public space? So far, there isn’t any.

“We think a rooftop garden would be great, for example, for live music or a bistro, where people could enjoy fantastic views over Milton Keynes. That would be different, and put the site back on the map.”

The exhibition will be on display again on Saturday from 10am-2pm.