Plans to redevelop Basingstoke Leisure Park to include a designer outlet centre have ended with the investor pulling out.
NewRiver had become a development partner with Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council in a deal signed in 2018, which would have brought brought £300 million of private investment in the council-owned park, providing a new Aquadrome and other new leisure, alongside the designer outlet.
However, a legal challenge over procurement, despite being successfully overcome in June 2020, delayed the deal which then ran into problems in the market caused by Covid.
The council and NewRiver now say the proposals are no longer viable or appropriate in the post-Covid world.
The council’s cabinet member for finance and major projects Cllr John Izett said: “Dissolving this partnership is very disappointing as the development agreement offered the borough and our residents the prospect of extensive private investment to comprehensively regenerate the leisure park, bringing the latest leisure attractions, a designer outlet centre and a new Aquadrome, with accompanying jobs.
“But we recognise that these plans have been disrupted by significant events, firstly the legal challenge over procurement, successfully overcome, and subsequently the profound impact of Covid-19 on the leisure and retail sectors.
“The joint decision to end the development agreement allows us to get on with the work needed to put together new plans for our leisure park that are suitable and deliverable in a post-Covid world.
“It will be important to consult with councillors, other stakeholders and our residents on the best way forward. Even in this changed environment, our leisure park offers huge potential that, by working together, can be realised in a new plan.”
Jamie Whitfield, development director at NewRiver, said: “We can confirm that NewRiver is withdrawing as the council’s development partner to regenerate Basingstoke Leisure Park, mutually bringing the development agreement to an end.
“When we signed the agreement in March 2018, it was against a different backdrop to now.
“Our plans were impacted by two separate events, both outside either party’s control. Firstly, the legal challenge concerning the council’s procurement of its development partner which went to the Court of Appeal, but whilst successfully overcome, did cause a 22-month delay.
“Secondly, the global pandemic which greatly impacted both the leisure and retail sectors. Regrettably, these events overlapped, leaving the delivery of the proposed plans commercially unviable.”
The council will now go back to the drawing board and will start work on new proposals over the next few months.
Further information has been provided at https://www.basingstoke.gov.uk/leisureparkproposal
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