Crest Nicholson has got the green light to undertake its regeneration of East Street in Farnham town centre after a six year battle – but the scheme faces further delays as a rival developer has lodged a formal objection.
Waverly Borough Council planning committee resolved to grant consent last week, but the scheme will not be completed for at least another five years.
Crest Nicholson faces hurdles including a CPO process and complications with its section 106 agreement that will mean it can not start on site for three years, after which it will take two years of construction before completion in late 2013.
Crest Nicholson is considering undertaking a compulsory purchase order (CPO) to obtain land owned in the town by F&C.
Vincent said: ‘We tried to engage with F&C and asked if they wanted to fund the scheme and gave them all the details and the business plan, and then found that they are talking about an alternative scheme. Now a CPO is looking like a likely route for us to take – so that will add a year.’
Crest Nicholson claims that the delays will make the scheme more viable by giving the market time to recover, and the value of the residential aspect of the scheme to rise.
The 243,700 sq ft mixed use development over 6 acres will be anchored by a 22,000 sq ft Sainsbury store, multi-screen cinema, a multi-storey car park and new community centre.
The £90m scheme will also feature 239 new homes, 30% of which will be designated as affordable accommodation.
Councillors voted 33 to one in favour of granting consent, also approving the demolition of the listed Redgrave Theatre and the conversion of Brightwell House to form two restaurant units.
The proposals still face opposition from local residents, which have lodged 5,000 objections.
They argue the development could create traffic and parking congestion problems, and would lead to the loss of historic features, public open spaces and Farnham’s theatre and bowls club.