Crescent Gardens: Developer granted permission to remain on site as he plans for £75m revamp

The Crescent Gardens building will be transformed into plush new luxury apartments.
The Crescent Gardens building will be transformed into plush new luxury apartments.

Developer Adam Thorpe will continue to work from Harrogate Borough Council’s former headquarters as he proceeds with ambitious plans for a £75m revamp of the historic building.

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The council earlier this month approved a 12-month lease for the lower rooms of Crescent Gardens to enable Mr Thorpe’s property development firm, ATP (Crescent Gardens) Ltd to continue operating from them.

The developer had previously been operating from the rooms following a prior lease agreement with the council.

A decision notice on the item stated that use of the rooms was “commercially important” to the firm, “in terms of maintaining its credibility and momentum with the re-development proposal”.

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The notice also stated that the rent paid by the purchaser will cover the council’s empty holding costs for the period during which the firm is preparing, submitting and seeking determination on its planning application.

The report said that having occupants in the building, as well as daily visits by council’s facilities team to open and close the property for ATP, would provide a presence that would assist in preventing vandalism at the old council headquarters.

Cabinet member for resources, enterprise and economic development Coun Graham Swift signed off on the extension on November 6.

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Mr Thorpe unveiled his ambitious £75m bid in March 2017, with the goal of transforming Crescent Gardens into a glitzy complex including ten to 14 apartments and two penthouses, at prices ranging from £2.5m to £10 million each.

It has now been more than 18 months since Mr Thorpe unveiled his controversial £75 million plans to transform Crescent Gardens but no work has yet begun at Harrogate Borough Council’s former headquarters.

At the time that his bid was accepted by the council in March 2017, the developer said he hoped to be applying for planning permission “within the next few weeks” and that he expected to begin actual work in summer 2017 ready for completion in 2020. In July he then admitted that the complexity of this luxurious and controversial project had delayed the plans by his firm ATP.

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Last month he told The Harrogate Advertiser that the long-awaited planning application would come in early 2019.

“We have completed the first pre application stage of planning, our second pre application stage is expected in the next three weeks, which will take a few weeks," he said.

“Following that, we expect our architects Squire & Partner to submit the formal planning application early next year.”

Lachlan Leeming, Local Democracy Reporter