Council leader mantains Nicholsons Centre funding is 'secured'

Council leader Andrew Johnson has maintained funding for the Nicholsons Centre redevelopment is secured and the developer is committed to the scheme.

The shopping centre is expected to be torn down and replaced with a new complex featuring shops, offices and 650 homes within towering apartment blocks.

But, construction work is yet to begin as the developer, Denhead S.A.R.L, needs to settle disputes over third party rights over the site such as rights of access and rights to parking.

During a full council meeting on Tuesday, the council leader faced a question from member of the public Andrew Hill over the project’s funding.

He asked whether funding from investment fund Tikehau Capital was still guaranteed for the £500million scheme.

Cllr Johnson responded: “Tikehau Capital is an investment fund and they are funding the redevelopment.

“Tikehau however is a retail fund so they have always said they would hold the retail assets created.

“They are now looking for partners in the market at present for the other assets that are to be developed, including investors and occupiers, as is standard practice for very large mixed-use developers such as this.”

Cabinet members are due to discuss the appropriation of land within the Nicholsons Centre scheme during a meeting on Thursday evening.

The council says in order to push ahead with the development it needs to ‘lawfully interfere’ with the third party rights which are held over parts of the site.

For this to be legal, the council must hold the land 'for a planning purpose' – which it currently does not.

It will need formally change this. The process is known as ‘appropriation’.

It allows the council to use land for development even if it will interfere with the rights of other landowners or breach a restriction on the use of land.

Appropriation will prevent the owner of an easement seeking an injunction against the development.

Instead, they have a right to compensation for the reduction in the value of their premises.

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