The Point looks set to be saved from demolition as Milton Keynes councillors are advised to REFUSE multi-million pound planning application

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The long-running saga of The Point has taken an unexpected U-turn that could save the building from demolition.

A multi-million pound planning application was submitted by developers months ago to bulldoze the famous pyramid structure, which once housed the country’s first multiplex cinema.

They propose to replace it with 487 new flats – built in tower blocks of up to 21 storeys high.

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On Thursday next week the application is scheduled to be considered by councillors at the Milton Keynes City Council planning committee.

The Point looks set to be saved from demolition in Central Milton KeynesThe Point looks set to be saved from demolition in Central Milton Keynes
The Point looks set to be saved from demolition in Central Milton Keynes

Documents for this meeting, including a lengthy report from council officers, have now been released. And they show the matter is recommended for point blank refusal.

Granting the planning permission would lead to “the total loss of the non-designated heritage asset of high significance both in Central Milton Keynes and across the city”, states the report, which can be viewed in full here.

Officers also objected to the number of proposed flats, saying the development would be too dense. They questioned whether the number and price of the proposed “affordable” apartments was viable and even criticised parking for the scheme, saying it was below standards.

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The recommended refusal has come as a surprise because the same council granted permission for a very similar application for The Point several years ago.

This is Galliard's artists' impression of how their development of The Point would lookThis is Galliard's artists' impression of how their development of The Point would look
This is Galliard's artists' impression of how their development of The Point would look

At that time the building was owned by Hammerson’s, who also wanted to demolish it and build hundreds of flats. But despite being given the green light, work was never started and the site was subsequently sold to Galliard Holdings Ltd (GHL).

They submitted the current application, which reads: “Demolition of all existing vacant entertainment complex buildings and redevelopment to provide flexible Class E leisure/retail uses (upper and lower ground level), up to 487 apartments (Build to Rent, private and affordable) over the upper floors (up to 21 storeys with a floor to floor height of 3m plus a crown structure), re-cladding of the existing car park with Class E/F.2/sui generis leisure uses (bar, outdoor sports and cinema) at rooftop level, landscaped public realm, amenity space, cycle parking and associated access and servicing provision.”

Galliard bosses say their plan would give the site a “bright, vibrant, and sustainable future” with high-quality homes, affordable housing, new shops, leisure spaces, work hubs and community spaces.

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But many members of the public objected, saying the building was too much of a landmark and heritage asset to be demolish. Some campaigners have repeatedly tried to get it historically listed, but their bids failed.

Other people objected on the ground that there was already too many apartments, particularly in high rise blocks, in the city centre.

The planning documents show the council’s Urban Design department as one of the few consultees welcoming Galliard’s plans. They state: "The proposed development would redevelop an under-utilised and poorly maintained site in a central location, creating a memorable landmark building, paying homage to The Point's heritage.”

But this view did not affect the overall recommendation that the application be refused.

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The final decision will be made by councillors on the night. They have the right to go against the officers’ judgement but in most cases they will stick to the recommended action.

The meeting will be held at the civic offices on Thursday July 18 at 7pm.

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