Demolition day for Milton Keynes’ iconic The Point is set to move a step closer this week.
A battle to save The Point, a former multiplex cinema, was lost when Hammerson’s plans were given outline planning permission on February 17, 2015.
Permission was granted if aspects to do with the layout, scale, and appearance of the replacement building, access, and landscaping could be dealt with.
That day has now come and Milton Keynes Council’s professional planners have recommended that these reserved matters should be approved, subject to a range of conditions, at Thursday’s meeting of the Development Control Committee.
If councillors agree with their professional officers, The Point, at 602 Midsummer Boulevard, will be replaced by 19,930 sq-metres of retail floorspace in a building up to three storeys in height and a basement. New vehicle and pedestrian routes will be created, along with servicing areas.
But a multi-storey car park in Avebury Boulevard has been excluded from the proposed redevelopment.
It is proposed to provide a mix of new retail, food and beverages and leisure facilities, and include “mitigation against vehicle borne terrorism”, as well as cycle and car parking.
The committee will be told that the issues have been subject to a wide range of groups including Central Milton Keynes Town Council, the Town Forum, members of the public, Xplain and Milton Keynes Development Partnership.
A report to councillors says: “Through these events and internal consultations, the applicant worked with the council and their architect to prepare a suite of revised plans to address the points raised.
“Following the approval of the Design Code at Development Control Committee in August 2018, the application was subject to further consultations with stakeholders.”
The design proposes a mix of uses to include new modern retail and leisure facilities, including independent shops, in an “identifiable landmark”. Planners say it will fit well “within the existing classic Milton Keynes grid structure.
“The layout and scale as proposed will enhance the town centre primary shopping area by providing a strong sense of place and a new visual landmark building along Midsummer Boulevard to replace The Point.”
The council is set to benefit from a payment from the developer to the tune of £600,000 from so-called section 106 payments.
Central Milton Keynes Town Council has given its blessing to the reserved matters application, recognising the “positive manner in which the applicant has engaged in consultation with the Town Council and other stakeholders to achieve changes and refinements to the design proposals as originally conceived.”
The town council adds: “The revised scheme addresses all the concerns raised by ourselves on the original outline scheme. Notable improvements include an increased amount of weather protection for pedestrians, by replacing the originally proposed canopies with more extensive colonnades.
“The colonnades, being double height on the main facade, are a more impressive and elegant design solution whilst also being functional.
The change to align the main entrance with the porte cochère crossing is also a significant improvement, as is the recognition of the way the building sits within the rigorous lines of the grid, and has now been designed to provide more interesting views from north, south, east and west.
“The simplified design of the facades, along with the proposed materials, is also felt to be of higher quality than the original proposal, as it complements the established character of CMK whilst also having a distinctive presence of its own.”
Elected councillors will make the final decision at the meeting on Thursday.