Published on 18th February 2021
Cheltenham Borough Council and Homes England have mutually agreed to withdraw from the Homes Infrastructure (HiF) agreement for Portland Street.
The agreement was put in place to secure £3million to help facilitate the delivery of around 200 homes, 40% of which would have been affordable.
The site, which is owned by a third party, had a number of factors affecting feasibility for residential development. The council had bid for and secured the HiF grant to help with these issues and secure the development for the town. COVID-19 compounded the already difficult situation, which required the developer to reassess its options in relation to the site.
In September 2020, following a strategic review of their options, the developer put the site on the market as a car park. The impact of this marketing campaign put the milestones and time limitations set out under the HiF at risk, especially as the HiF requires housing development to come forward and would not have supported other development schemes.
The HiF money had to be drawn down by March 2022 for residential development and with no potential development on the horizon and having fully reviewed the implications with the developer and Homes England it was mutually agreed that it was unlikely that a scheme would come forward within the deadlines, even if the site remained unsold.
Paul Jones, executive director finance and assets, said: ‘’This is very disappointing for all parties. Although the council does not have ownership of the site, its officers have worked to try to support and facilitate the site for what it had hoped would be an impressive town centre, place shaping development and secured much needed affordable homes.’’
It is hoped that the ongoing presence of this popular car park will continue to support Cheltenham’s town centre economy, and the council and Homes England will continue to seek to support other schemes.
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Note: link to market listing https://www.proplist.com/listing/avison-young-bristol/a46#photo-0