March 12 2014 Latest news:
Sam Blewett, Reporter
Tuesday, February 4, 2014
Plans for a new cinema and retail development in William Hunter Way are set to be refused due to concerns that it is a bad deal for taxpayers.
Brentwood Borough Council has decided to reject the scheme proposed by developer Stockland in a council meeting on January 31.
It seems that negotiations fell through after an agreement could not be made over the retail price index element of the deal which would have kept the rent owed to the council at 2013 levels in 150 years’ time.
The authority had committed £300,000 in planning and negotiating the project which has been mulled over for the last nine years.
The development was due to boast a six-screen cinema, a TK Maxx, a Marks and Spencer and a multi-storey car park.
The council also voiced concerns over whether Stockland would be able to deliver the scheme.
The Leader of Brentwood Borough Council, Cllr Louise McKinlay, said: “We have always said that our priority has been to deliver the right deal for the residents of Brentwood – one that will boost local businesses, attract further investment and enhance the town centre.
“We had a contractual obligation with Stockland and we’ve taken independent advice throughout to ensure that we approached these negotiations in a correct and professional manner that minimises risk to the council.
“The easy thing to do would have been to just sign but that would not have been in Brentwood’s interest and I have always said that I would do what’s best for Brentwood.”
Lead councillor for the scheme, Cllr Keith Parker, added: “It’s frustrating to have got this close to an agreement but signing would have been selling Brentwood short and we would have been negligent to agree to a financial package that didn’t give Brentwood a good financial return in years to come. It was a difficult but right decision to make.”