A lease for the open public space in Crescent Gardens has been advertised as part of developer Adam Thorpe’s £75 million bid to turn the former council offices into luxury apartments.
The public notice in the Harrogate Advertiser announced that Harrogate Borough Council intended to lease out the area of public open space between Crescent Gardens and Crescent Road.
The public notice invites comments from the public on the proposal and they should be sent to its head of legal and governance, Jennifer Norton within 28 days of the notice.
The advert in last week’s Advertiser set alarm bells in local groups in Harrogate such as Harrogate Civic Society which have questioned the development from the start.
Some got in touch with the Harrogate Advertiser asking whether this meant the council was trying to raise funds to pay for its new base at Harrogate Civic Centre or, even, whether the whole deal was off.
But a spokesman for Harrogate Borough Council said the concerns were misplaced.
He said: “The contract the council entered into with the purchaser is conditional on the purchaser securing a satisfactory planning permission for the re-development of the building and a stopping-up order for the road in front of it.
“As part of the sale contract, the purchaser also agreed to undertake improvement and landscaping works to the public open space in front of the building.
“The proposed lease over this area to the purchaser is a means of securing the purchaser’s obligation to implement the enhancement works and to be responsible for the ongoing maintenance of the public realm in that area.
“The proposal is that:
“The council will retain the freehold ownership of the public open space.
“There will be no change of use of the land which means it will remain as public space.
“The proposed improvement works are subject to a planning application that has yet to be submitted and, therefore, some of the detail is potentially subject to change through the planning process.
“The proposed lease will only be entered into once there is a satisfactory planning permission, the purchaser has completed its acquisition of the building and the purchaser has completed the improvement to the public space.
“The improvement works will be undertaken at the cost of the purchaser.”
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