Bletchley’s famous 1970s pyramid-shaped leisure centre could be flattened and replaced by a scheme by Holder Mathias Architects – but not if CABE has anything to do with it.
The design watchdog said it could not support the plans by Milton Keynes Borough Council, claiming that the proposed replacement was ‘low quality’, ‘lacked joy’ and was potentially detrimental to a neighbouring office block.
The council, which already has outline planning for a scheme on the site, wants to demolish the 1975 glass and steel building and construct a new ‘mega-block’ housing an aquatics centre, sports hall and bowling lanes. A later phase would introduce housing on to the plot.
However CABE has aired a number of serious concerns about the reserved matters application and, in a move which The Twentieth Century Society would be proud of, has suggested the existing pyramid should be kept and refurbished.
CABE’s design review reads: ‘We remain unconvinced that the existing Bletchley leisure centre, which is of considerable architectural quality, should be demolished, and we are disappointed that there has been no attempt to save all or part of this building.
‘The existing building, and the landscape setting which is an integral part of its design, is a fine example of its type and period.’