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News - 22 March 2016

New England House redevelopment plans stalled

A £25m plan to create a new media centre in New England Street that has been nearly a decade in the making has stalled due to legal wrangling over the adjoining industrial estate.

The leaseholder of the Langley Industrial Estate, which adjoins New England House and was part of the joint council and Arcus PCD redevelopment plans, has threatened the city council with legal action over a proposed compulsory purchase of the estate.

In December the city council agreed to a “last resort” option of a compulsory purchase order [CPO] to buy the Longley site, which is held on a long lease with 92 years remaining by Horsham based property company Maplebright. The site was earmarked for 13,000 square metres of office space and 250 flats.

The council was advised there was a “strong likelihood” that an application for judicial review would be granted. Even though the council would be likely to win the review, the expense of lengthy litigation was too much for a risk-averse and cash-strapped council. The council’s policy and resources committee agreed last week to rescind the December decision.

An offer last year by Arcus to buy Maplebright out of their lease was rejected. Arcus is now warning the council that the window to secure a viable development within the current economic cycle is “rapidly diminishing”.


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