For many years the Wolverton community has overwhelmingly supported the redevelopment of the Agora Shopping Centre. The first stage towards achieving this requires Milton Keynes Council to Compulsory Purchase the building.
On the Wednesday 25th July Milton Keynes Council are due to consider the option of seeking a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) for the Agora and beginning the process of securing a development partner.
We recognise that a CPO will not necessarily have to be used, but will provide a means to negotiate the future of the site. We also recognise that the re-development of the site will only happen if a Development partner can be secured.
Change is fraught with difficulty, and no one is pretending that the process of redeveloping the Agora site will take place overnight. However, the Cabinet decision marks the beginning of a process that should eventually see Wolverton Town Centre regenerated, and this petition allows us to demonstrate community support at this significant moment.
Please help us build the case for redevelopment, and give the Cabinet comfort that they are making a decision backed by the majority of people in Wolverton.
Thank you for your support
Wolverton Town Centre Neighbourhood Plan Steering Committee
We, the undersigned, congratulate the Cabinet of Milton Keynes Council for their courage and willingness to support the emerging Wolverton Neighbourhood Plan and tackle the long-standing problems and issues created by the Agora Shopping Centre in Wolverton. We urge the Cabinet to support the community’s long-held desire to see the Agora site re-developed for the following reasons:
• The Agora cuts across the grid system which characterises Wolverton, and causes day-to-day access and movement problems in the Town Centre.
• The Agora divides the Town Centre into two, hiding the shops and businesses in The Square and affecting their ability to maximise trade
• The Agora and its’ environs are poorly maintained and repaired, making the Town Centre feel neglected and “down at heel”.
• The Agora is out of scale and out of character with the surrounding Conservation Area.
• With the exception of the Co-op, Post Office and the few independent traders left (all of whom require relocation), the Agora offer a poor quality shopping experience to the local community and visitors to the Town.
Please encourage others to sign the petition!
Wolverton is a Railway Town founded in the 1830’s by the London & North Western Railway Company. A grid system of tight-knit Victorian terraces, the unique character of the place was recognised in 2001 when it was designated a Conservation Area.
Originally a separate Town with its’ own Urban District Council, Wolverton became part of the “new city” of Milton Keynes in 1969. Recognising the impact of Milton Keynes on Wolverton, Milton Keynes Development Corporation “gifted” the Town what was said to be a new Leisure and Shopping Centre, the “Agora” which opened in 1979. Although designed by an award winning architect, the Agora does not feature in his list of notable achievements.
Originally hailed as brave regeneration project and gaining some positive comments about its’ architecture, the building has been derided and criticised by most residents and visitors since it was built. Dividing the original grid street pattern of the Town, the building is seen as being out of scale and out of character with it’s’ surroundings. Once it was sold into private hands in the 1980’s the cycle of decline, that started when upkeep became costly, escalated. When administrators were brought in to deal with the affairs of the previous owners, the building was sold in June 2011 for around £1m to the current Lancashire-based owners.
Wolverton is fortunate to have a strong sense of community and a vibrant range of community projects, activities and events. The “Future Wolverton Vision” developed by the community in 2002/3 has been the catalyst for many significant changes in the Town. During a review of the Vision in 2010, despite other progress, the issue of the Agora remained prominent and unresolved.
Taking up the opportunity to apply to be a Neighbourhood Planning Frontrunner at the beginning of 2011, has led to the development of plans for re-development of the Agora site, and with the support of Wolverton & Greenleys Town Council, Milton Keynes Council and others including the Princes Foundation, the long-term solution to the Agora is now within sight.
More detail about the Neighbourhood Plan for Wolverton Town Centre is available at www.FutureWolverton.co.uk
Wolverton Neighbourhood Plan Steering Committee
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