New buyer for Crescent Gardens in Harrogate to be announced soon

A decision on who will take over the troubled redevelopment of Harrogate’s historic Crescent Gardens site looks likely to be announced by Harrogate Borough Council in just a matter of weeks.

Thursday, 5th December 2019, 4:38 pm
Updated Thursday, 5th December 2019, 4:39 pm
New buyer potentially in the wings - The former Harrogate Borough Council offices at Crescent Gardens.

After the collapse of the previous £75 million plans for the former council offices and grounds in April, the level of interest in buying the property has been described as “strong.”

The council has been assessing the new bids since the deadline set by Leeds-based commercial property agents Sanderson Weatherall for prospective purchasers to submit their written offers for the building passed in September.

Harrogate Borough Council’s cabinet will now hear an update on progress at a meeting on Monday, December 16 with the winning bidder set to be announced in early January.

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A council spokesperson said: “We have been very impressed by the level of interest in Crescent Gardens.

“We always knew it presented a very exciting development opportunity and that is reflected by the number of bids we received. We are now coming to the end of the process to assess each of the bids.

“This has been a detailed stage involving officers from within the council and independent, external expertise.

“An update will be presented to a meeting of the cabinet later this month.”

The potentially largest and most expensive building redevelopment of a public site in Harrogate since Harrogate Convention Centre was built in the early 1980s looked to be on the right track when ATP (Crescent Gardens) Ltd led by flamboyant Harrogate developer Adam Thorpe first unveiled plans for luxury apartments and gardens.

Mr Thorpe has always denied missing the deadline for planning applications.

But the hangover from the situation has left Harrogate Borough Council pursuing thousands of pounds owed to it.

The council is among 17 entries listed as creditors of ATP (Crescent Gardens) Limited whose total debts lie close to £11 million.

Civic groups in Harrogate remain convinced that such a public site should be used for the public good, rather than for a commercial developer.

Crescent Gardens development: A timeline

2014: Harrogate Borough Council announces the sale of the historic Crescent Gardens.

2016: ATP (Crescent Gardens) Ltd led by developer Adam Thorpe emerges as the preferred purchaser.

July 2017: Mr Thorpe admits that the complexity of his luxurious project has delayed plans.

April 8, 2019: Harrogate Borough Council says it has ended the legal agreement after its says ATP (Crescent Gardens) Ltd failed to submit plans fully in time, something Mr Thorpe denies.