The sale of Harrogate's Crescent Gardens has been cancelled - here's why

The sale of Harrogate's historic Crescent Gardens has been cancelled. T
The sale of Harrogate's historic Crescent Gardens has been cancelled. T
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The sale of Harrogate's historic Crescent Gardens has been cancelled. The former Harrogate Borough Council headquarters will be put back on the market after a contract to sell the building to a developer was cancelled.

The council took the decision to end a legal agreement after ATP (Crescent Gardens) Ltd failed to meet the deadline to submit a valid planning application for the site to turn it into luxury apartments - a development costed at £75 million.

The contract between the council and the developer was subject to a valid planning application being received. The most recent deadline for submission was April 5.

The council served notice today, and decided to exercise its right to walk away from the sale so that the building could be put back on the market without delay. Work is already underway to re-advertise it.

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.

The contract between the council and the developer set a final deadline of April 5 for this.

The council’s planning service has worked with ATP (Crescent Gardens) Ltd over a number of months to develop a pre-planning application.

A statement from Harrogate Borough Council reads: "The developer, and its architects, also recently carried out a public consultation event. This suggested the project was moving forward.

"Despite this, and numerous assurances from the developer that a full planning application would be submitted on time, nothing has been received.

"As the final deadline, set out in the contract has been passed, the council has decided to take immediate action so the property can be sold via alternative means."

Coun Graham Swift, deputy leader and cabinet member for economic development, said: “I’m disappointed that we’ve had to pull the contract. 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 straight forward, 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.

“Residents would expect us to take positive action.”