Late objections from a member of the public who wanted to save Milton Keynes’ iconic The Point from demolition did not prevent councillors from removing the last obstacles to its destruction.
Members of MK Council’s Development Control Committee said they enjoyed fond memories of the pyramid-shaped former multiplex cinema – one saying he had been ‘on the pull’ there in his younger days – but they urged applicant Hammerson to now get on with the job.
Former council leader Andrew Geary said: “I came to Milton Keynes in 1972 when I was born and I have very fond memories of sitting eating popcorn and watching films, and in later years going in the nightclub on the pull, spectacularly unsuccessfully most of the time.
“I lament the passing of it but time moves on and so does this.”
The principle of knocking down The Point, in Midsummer Boulevard, was agreed by the council as far back as 2015. On Thursday, councillors were asked to approve aspects of the the layout, scale, and appearance of the replacement building, access, and landscaping could be dealt with.
Apart from Cllr Rex Exon, who said the new designs were “spectacularly unambitious” but “an improvement”, councillors including from CMK Town Council, were full of praise for the development.
Most added that they, too, had fond memories of The Point with Cllr Paul Williams saying: “The late objection is the view from many people in Milton Keynes. We have already made the decision to demolish.
“I have a deep fondness for The Point. It is sad that we have to move on, but we have to move on.
“I want to see something replace it that residents can be proud of, and I am pleased with what I see.”
The replacement has been dubbed The Piano, by campaigning group Xplain, reflecting its back and white stripes design.
The group were involved in extensive workshops and consultation as was Cllr John Bint, who said that the developer deserves “95 per cent” accolade. He said it should have been much bolder.
Cllr Terry Baines wasn’t constrained by feelings of fondness for The Point. He said: “I am a new boy in the city. I have no fondness for it because I never went there. The area needs regeneration, and I want to see that done as soon as possible.”
Councillor Baines proposed cutting the time limit for action down from the standard three years, which found agreement. The committee decided that one year would be too short, a time and settled on two years.
Cllr Geary said: “It is time to get on with it.”
Committee chairman Cllr Keith McLean said with everything happening in the city centre, including the new YMCA building, a hotel, a new office block, the pending new university and central multi-storey car park, MK was becoming a “vibrant city centre.”
“The Point does not look so good now,” he added. “It is a really good outcome.”
And the committee agreed unanimously to the design and layout plans, handing over permission to Hammersons, to consign the much-loved building to memory, and the history books.