The Twentieth Century Society

Campaigning for outstanding buildings

Buildings at risk

The Point, Milton Keynes

The Point, Milton Keynes – BDP (1985)

Image: Patrick McCarthy

The Point, Milton Keynes – BDP (1985)

Risk: Total demolition

Designed by Building Design Partnership, the Point was reputedly inspired by the work of avant guard provocateurs Archigram and became an instant Milton Keynes landmark upon its opening in 1985. As well has being one of the UK’s first multiplex cinemas, the unconventional structure housed a games arcade, bingo hall and nightclub. These individual functions are externally expressed as stacked, mirrored boxes beneath the 70ft bright red steel pyramidal frame – illuminated at night as a space-age beacon across the low-rise city centre.

The Point went into a decline after the arrival of the giant Xscape MK entertainment complex in 2000, with the nightclub closing in 2007 and the Odeon cinema following in 2015. Outline planning permission for a redevelopment of the site was first granted in 2014, yet expired in 2021 after several years of inactivity.

In the interim, the building has acted as a base for local charities and grassroots campaigners have launched various petitions and crowdfunders in an attempt to save the building, highlighting its community value, innovative design and landmark status. The Cinema Theatre Association – more usually seen fighting to save traditional cinema buildings – joined C20 in opposing the demolition. Richard Gray, CTA casework chairman, said that it is ‘not only a stunning visual asset for Milton Keynes, but as Britain’s first American style multiplex, it’s a building of huge historical and architectural importance’.

Following rejection of our listing application and the issuing of a COI (Certificate of Immunity from listing) by Historic England in March 2021, developers Galliard acquired The Point earlier this year, evicted the youth charity using the building and announced their intention to proceed with a £150 million housing development on the site.

How to help: Request the Point be added to the Milton Keynes local list by writing to conservationarchaeology@milton-keynes.gov.uk

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