To consider Exempt Report No. RP1901 (copy attached), which sets out matters regarding the acquisition of properties in relation to the regeneration of Aldershot town centre.
Presented By:Cllr Martin Tennant, Major Projects and Property Portfolio Holder
The Cabinet considered Exempt Report No. RP1901, which set out an update on the Cabinet’s previously agreed approach to the acquisition of properties in Aldershot town centre for reasons of regeneration.
The Report set out the latest position in relation to the assembly of sites in the town centre to enable a comprehensive redevelopment scheme to be brought forward. It was reported that good progress had been made to date in this respect and that negotiations were in progress to acquire the remaining properties. The Report referred to one particular property where meetings had been held between the current owner, the Leader of the Council and the Chief Executive, with a view to its acquisition by the Council. It was confirmed that, following further negotiations, the asking price was likely to be within the range set out in a recent valuation of the property. The Cabinet was requested to agree an upper limit to enable the Chief Executive, in consultation with the Major Projects and Property Portfolio Holder, to negotiate to acquire, by agreement, the property. It was further requested that, in the event that the acquisition was not possible by agreement, the Corporate Manager – Legal Services, in consultation with the Chief Executive, should be authorised to commence the compulsory purchase of the property, at the appropriate time.
In discussing this matter, the Cabinet considered this to be a key site in the regeneration of Aldershot town centre. In answer to a question, it was confirmed that external funding that had been secured in relation to the regeneration of Aldershot town centre was at risk if there was delay to delivery timescales. It was considered that a delay would be inevitable if the Council opted to acquire the property through the compulsory purchase process. The Chief Executive drew Members’ attention to the fact that the property had been valued between £1.2 million and £2.6 million, depending on the assumptions that were made. He also pointed out that, with reference to property values in Aldershot, it was unlikely that the Council would realise a return on this purchase and it was more probable that this would be written off as a contribution to the regeneration of Aldershot town centre going forward. The Cabinet expressed strong support for attempting to acquire the property by agreement and agreed an upper negotiation limit.
The Cabinet RESOLVED that
(i) an upper limit of £2.6 million be approved, to allow the Chief Executive, in consultation with the Major Projects and Property Portfolio Holder, to negotiate and acquire, by agreement, the freehold of the property set out in Exempt Report No. RP1901;
(ii) in the event that it was not possible to agree an acquisition value within the agreed parameters, the Corporate Manager – Legal Services, in consultation with the Chief Executive, be authorised to take necessary steps to commence the compulsory purchase of the property, at the appropriate time; and
(iii) the requirement for a future variation to the Capital Programme, to enable the acquisition of all remaining properties set out in the Report, be noted.