Plan to demolish Agora in Milton Keynes stall after mystery bid to make it a listed building

Plans to bulldoze the controversial Agora centre in Wolverton are in jeopardy after  a mystery bid was made to turn it into a LISTED building.

Historic England experts are this week considering an application to designate the Agora as an official buildings of special architectural or historic interest.

Agora MK

Agora MK

It is not known who made the request, but the move has “dismayed” owners Love Wolverton Ltd, who plan to demolish the building and build urban apartments.

A Love Wolverton spokesman said: “We are surprised and dismayed that such an application has been made. A huge weight of policy, political and community momentum has built up over many years to seek the comprehensive redevelopment of the Agora.

“Whatever its status as a visible legacy of the New Town Development Corporation and the optimism it generated in its earliest years, the Agora has proven a long-term social, environmental and commercial failure.”

Built in 1979 and gifted to the town by the former Milton Keynes Development corporation, the Agora has divided the town both literally and metaphorically ever since.

Many people have described it as “a blot on the landscape” while others say it is now part of the town’s heritage.

Last week a local artist won applause for decorating the steel shutters with letters spelling out Agora.

“It looks amazing,” said one resident. “It’s a shame this wasn’t done years ago"

Historic England has refused to tell the Citizen who made the application to get the building listed, saying the information is “confidential.”

Earlier this year HE lost its court battle to prevent the historic Wolverton works site from being demolished for a housing development.

Meanwhile Love Wolverton Ltd, which is a partnership between developer TOWN and Swedish builder Trivselhus, recently completed its purchase of the Agora and is ready to submit its planning application to MK Council this summer.

This will not be possible if the building is listed.