Developer confirms he has pulled out of race to develop historic Crescent Gardens, the former Harrogate council headquarters

The former Harrogate council headquarters Crescent Gardens.
The former Harrogate council headquarters Crescent Gardens.
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The developer behind controversial plans to transform Harrogate council's former headquarters into luxury apartments has confirmed he has ditched the project, bringing his part in the long-running saga to an end.

Businessman Adam Thorpe said this week that he would no longer be pursuing his plans to redevelop Crescent Gardens, citing political and economic uncertainty as the reason.

"We are not pursuing Crescent Gardens any further due to increasing risk in both the funding environment and in terms of clients," he told the local democracy reporting service.

"There is too much political and economy (sic) uncertainty at this stage to make the project viable for us."

The development brings to a close a saga that began in March 2017, when the authority first exchanged contracts with Mr Thorpe's ATP (Crescent Gardens Ltd).

However Harrogate Borough Council severed ties with Mr Thorpe in April this year, claiming the developer had repeatedly missed deadlines to submit a planning application.

The authority subsequently placed the historic property back on the market.

Despite that, Mr Thorpe originally insisted he would persevere with the plans, saying as recently as August that he would proceed in his attempt to turn the historic former council chamber into a set of glamorous units in a project predicted to be worth £75m.

At the time, Mr Thorpe added he had "not dealt with an organisation before that have been so obstructive to progress on the sale of their own asset" and added that he would pay an outstanding rent fee as a "gesture of goodwill".

However, Harrogate borough Council rejected his claims, saying that Mr Thorpe had failed to adhere to terms and deadlines amidst "repeated false promises", while the unpaid rent was left with its debt recovery team.

It means the authority will now seek to settle on a buyer for the site for the second time in five years.

A spokesperson for Harrogate Borough Council said in September that a successful bidder could be revealed as early as the end of October.

A spokesperson for the council stated: "We're really pleased with the number of submissions that have been received.

"There is a wide range of proposals for the future use of the building.

"The process to assess each bid is now underway."

Mr Thorpe added that a company he is linked with and is currently in the process of being wound up, ATP Co 1 Ltd, was not connected to Crescent Gardens "whatsoever".

"Our accountants are dealing with ATP Co 1 Ltd and it has no link whatsoever to Crescent Gardens, it is a separate company," he said.

Lachlan Leeming, Local Democracy Reporter