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Harrogate cancels Crescent Garden sale

Words: Huw Morris
Harrogate / iStock: 610423542

Crescent Gardens – the iconic former headquarters of Harrogate Borough Council – is to be put back on the market after a contract to sell it to a developer was cancelled.

The council decided to end a legal agreement after ATP (Crescent Gardens) Ltd failed to meet the deadline to submit a valid planning application for the site.

The contract between the council and the developer was subject to a such an application being received. The most recent deadline for submission was Friday (5 April) and the council served notice this week.

The sale of Crescent Gardens was originally announced in 2014 as the council moved to consolidate its various buildings into a single, purpose-built civic centre.

ATP (Crescent Gardens) Ltd emerged as the preferred purchaser in 2016 after the council marketed the building. Contracts were exchanged in 2017, but completion was subject to a number of pre-planning conditions being met ahead of a valid planning application being submitted.

Harrogate said the council’s planning service has worked with ATP (Crescent Gardens) Ltd over a number of months to develop a pre-planning application. The developer and its architects also recently carried out a public consultation event.

Despite this, and numerous assurances from the developer that a full planning application would be submitted on time, nothing has been received, Harrogate added. As the final deadline, set out in the contract, has passed, it has decided to take immediate action so the property can be sold through alternative means.

“I’m disappointed that we’ve had to pull the contract,” said deputy leader and cabinet member for economic development Graham Swift. “It needn’t have come to this, but we cannot ignore repeated false promises and missed deadlines.

“I know that redeveloping a building like Crescent Gardens is complicated and not straightforward, but we’ve made allowances for that. We have been very patient since contracts were exchanged. The time has come to take action and to realise the value of this building, not wait further on the off-chance a planning application comes forward.”

Image credit | iStock