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Borough council faces legal challenge over procurement of development partner

Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council faces a legal challenge over its choice of development partner for a major regeneration project.

The council chose to work with New River on the Basingstoke Leisure Park and designer shop outlet project.

This though has been challenged by AEW Europe LLP, Trustee 1 FB and Trustee 2 FB, the companies that manage the town’s Festival Place shopping centre.

The council said the claimants allege it breached its obligations under the European procurement regulations in the process of choosing New River.

Cabinet member for property and finance John Izett said: “We believe that we have complied with EU procurement regulations and will be strongly defending this challenge.

“The Basingstoke Leisure Park regeneration project is important for the future of our borough, delivering the top class leisure facilities our residents deserve, including a range of new activities and a designer outlet centre.

“The project would regenerate the popular but ageing leisure park, fully funded by NewRiver Leisure Ltd, without any public investment needed for the redevelopment. It would include a brand new Aquadrome, a borough council-owned leisure facility at the leisure park, provided at no cost to the council to rebuild.”

Under the council’s agreement with New River there would be a £300m investment to create 500,000 square feet of new leisure activities, double the present size, and a 200,00 square feet designer outlet village.

The council said work could start in 2023, subject to planning permission.

AEW did not respond to a request to explain the nature of its objection to the procurement process.

Mark Smulian