Rochdale Council has gone back to the market for a developer for its £250m town centre regeneration scheme, after an EU ruling made its earlier choice of Wilson Bowden untenable.

It will hold an open day later this month to give interested developers the chance to look over the planned scheme before publishing a notice in the Official Journal of the European Union early next year.

The council selected Wilson Bowden Developments as preferred developer last year, however said it would have to re-tender following rulings on the tender process from a European Court of Justice and the UK High Court.

Rival bidder Sultan Properties had said it may mount a legal challenge because of the lack of transparency of the tender.

The redevelopment site includes land owned by the council, such as its offices and the bus station.

Roger Ellis, chief executive of Rochdale Borough Council said: ‘We are looking for innovative solutions to regenerate our Town Centre. There is significant public sector finance carving the way for longer-term private investment which we believe offers added security to interested partners during this more challenging economic period.’

Partners on the project include the Council, Rochdale Development Agency, English Partnerships, North West Regional Development Agency and Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive.’

John Hudson, chief executive of Rochdale Development Agency, said: ‘We now have the benefit of the last selection exercise and the public’s response to help guide the new invitation to developers.

'We can also offer even greater certainty this time having secured funding for the town centre transport interchange and with plans progressing for the new riverside Council headquarters, which will enable demolition of existing buildings to clear an impressive site for a new retail quarter.’

The decision on a preferred partner is expected to be made in May.

The council hopes work could start on the scheme by 2011 or 2012.