Richard Evans

The Point - Milton Keynes

Image by Steizer at the wikipedia project.

The Point was originally built as a leisure destination and opened in 1985. Based on a pyramid, it is a genuine building of the 1980’s – a unique construction influence by art deco with typical 1980’s style and colour. It has bold blackened reflective glass and high contrasting red metal beams with red strip lighting forming an apex. To the side, a rectangular building annex encloses the cinema area with 10 screens. It instantly became the landmark for Milton Keynes. The pyramid contained The Brasserie, The Croc Bar, a games arcade and a night-club. A side entrance led to a bingo hall underneath and small newsagent stands outside.

It was the first multi-screen cinema within the United Kingdom. Cinema had been in massive decline with the advent of television and video recorder/players. From a peak of 1.6bn, ticket sales dropped to 55m in 1984. The Point was the first of the new cinema format that revolutionised and revitalized the cinema experience, after years of dwindling cinema goers. The Point sold 2m tickets in 2 years.

My first experience of The Point was when the family ventured to watch Santa Claus the Movie. It was a cold dingy day and The Point shone out against the dreary weather. The red strip lights glowed and the lit sign showing the films to be shown were bright yellowy orange. Underneath the sign was the front entrance. From within the entrance door emerged a long queue of people. We went inside to see the building. The queue continued all the way inside, down some steps and then twisted around back upon itself. We realised that time would not allow us to get the tickets for the start of the film.

The opening of The Point impacted upon the established single screen cinema within Bletchley. I remember the larger screen at Bletchley and the usherettes that served ice cream. The greater choice and modern surroundings of The Point took the customers away from Bletchley and it was shut in 1986 – incidentally prices at The Point rose at this time. However, times change, and in 2000, a new development, XScape opened. Inside were new shops, restaurants, bars, bowling, artificial ski-slope and the new Cineworld cinema. XScape being all new and opposite the theatre district became the popular place to be and it was now The Points turn to look dated. Business at the Point declined and some leaseholders left.

Although still in operation, The Point has become a neglected concrete, glass and steel shell of its former self. It is unkempt and left to degenerate. The owners claim a lack of interest in the complex has led to under investment, while its dilapidated look will discourage potential new occupants and does not engender an enticing and welcoming feel to customers.

Hammerson are the current owners of The Point.They have proposal for redevelopment at his website:
www.thepointmiltonkeynes.co.uk . A public exhibition was held on 25th and 26th May 2012 for people to view and comment on the plans. As of 09/04/2013 the last update was 30th May 2012. Media relations are managed by PPS Group http://www.ppsgroup.co.uk/.Plans in PDF format: Plans

Opposition to these plans:
XPlainMK: website: XPlainMK
Save the Point Facebook page: HelpSaveThePointMK
Current premises inhabited by:
Gala Bingo
Milton Keynes Council (Youth Work Team – includes – The Spot Youth Café)
The Point Kiosk (newsagent)
Macintyre’s Coffee Shop opened on Monday 1 October 2012 as a temporary home while Great Holm Learning Centre is renovated, planned end date November 2013. MacIntyre is a learning disability charity.

Timeline
1985: The Point opened and run by AMC Theatres in partnership with Milton Keynes Entertainment Corporation (MKEC).
1986: Run by UCI United Cinemas International, with MKEC taking ticket profits and UCI the concession stands.
1995: Refurbished to include Deep Pan Pizza, latterly The Fresh Pizza Company, and a health club/ nightclub (Oasis, latterly Nexus).
2002: XScape opened.
2003: UCI sold to EasyGroup, and renamed Easy Cinema. The rectangle building is repainted orange.
2006: Easy Cinema vacated the building after disputes over stubborn film industry sale rights.
2006: The cinema was refurbished and opened as Odeon, the brand used after a series of mergers in the cinema industry, including UCI.
2012: Hammerson proposal for redevelopment.

Sources:
Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Point,_Milton_Keynes Phil Hoad, The Guardian, Thursday 11 November 2010. http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2010/nov/11/multiplex-cinemas-the-point-milton-keynes

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