Love Wolverton Ltd. has completed the acquisition of the Agora Centre, clearing another major hurdle to the long-awaited regeneration of the prominent Wolverton town centre site.
The company, a partnership between innovative UK developer TOWN and Swedish builder Trivselhus, now owns the building outright, clearing the way for demolition and redevelopment if Milton Keynes Council approves plans being drawn up for submission in summer 2019. News of the acquisition comes on the day that a report of a workshop held on 7th March with around 60 representatives of local councils, businesses, churches and community organisations to discuss emerging plans for the site’s redevelopment was published.
Jonny Anstead, Director of TOWN, said: This is an important milestone in the regeneration of the Agora. Now the acquisition of the building is complete, provided we can achieve planning permission the scheme will definitely go ahead. The response of local stakeholders to the emerging plans we shared recently was fantastic, and their input has already improved the proposals. Milton Keynes Council has also been incredibly supportive. We’re looking forward to exhibiting more detailed plans for local people to see later in the Spring prior to putting in a planning application.
The proposed mixed-use scheme will include:
- Reinstatement of Radcliffe Street between Church Street and The Square;
- New local shops and services along Radcliffe Street and Church Street, including a small supermarket to replace the former Co-op;
- Over 100 new homes, including around 50 family homes built with the super-sustainable Trivselhus timber building system, plus new shared-ownership apartments;
- Renewable energy technologies, potentially linked to a community microgrid; and
- Flexible on- and-off-site car and cycle parking for residents and town centre visitors
The Agora is now empty and, once a formal building record has been undertaken, will be hoarded and partially stripped out in preparation for demolition. The building is in a designated conservation area, so planning permission is needed before it can be knocked down. TOWN also revealed plans for activities on the site over the coming months.
Neil Murphy, TOWN Director, said: The Agora itself isn’t suitable for temporary occupation, but we’ll be looking to work with local people to animate the space in front of the building on Church Street with activities that mark the passing of the Agora, look ahead to new uses for the site and give people extra reasons to visit the town centre over the summer. Meanwhile, the Agora car park will remain open and in use for the foreseeable future.
Public consultation on detailed proposals expected in early June prior to submission of a full planning application in July. The regeneration scheme is expected to cost £25 million and take between three and four years to complete.