Liverpool City Council may seek to use a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) on the stalled New Chinatown development site.
A report to the council’s cabinet next Friday (21 July) is requesting CPO powers be used if the company behind the mixed-use scheme cannot sell the site to another developer.
To be delivered over three phases, the New Chinatown scheme was to create a new urban quarter with 790 new homes, 11,246 sqm of commercial and retail space and a 140-bed hotel.
In December 2015, phase one of the scheme was granted detailed planning consent and outline planning consent was given for phase two and three.
However since then the sales agent for developer Chinatown Development Company Ltd has been accused of fraud on the Hong Kong market which the council says had such a massive impact on sales that works on site came to halt and forced the building contractor into administration.
The council says the failure to deliver the scheme has forced it to take action.
Following negotiations, it has now been agreed the site will be independently marketed over the summer for a new developer to deliver either the consented scheme or an amended scheme.
If a commercial sale does not materialise the report recommends the local authority use its CPO powers to assemble the site at Great George Street for redevelopment under the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004.
The CPO for New Chinatown will be conditional on identifying a new developer which is prepared to agree to underwrite the council’s costs in preparing, submitting and processing the order and funding the acquisitions, including the £950,000 debt that is owed to the council in relation to the phase two site.
Deputy Mayor of Liverpool, says: “Liverpool City Council has been deeply concerned with how events have unravelled with the funding of Chinatown Development Company Ltd’s scheme.
“This report illustrates how hard we have been working to rectify the situation and the lengths we will go to, if necessary, to ensure the site is developed.
“It is vital that a new developer is found to get this scheme – or an amended one – back on track for the good of the Chinatown area, the city and those who have invested in it.”