Fringe Box



Council Wants PRUPIM To Drop Judicial Review Application For Waitrose Plan

Published on: 15 Jun, 2013
Updated on: 20 Jun, 2013
Artist's impression of how the planned Waitrose store will look from The Bars

Artist’s impression of how the planned Waitrose store will look from The Bars

Guildford Borough Council is asking PRUPIM to drop the application for a judicial review of the Waitrose planning application as part of continuing negotiations over PRUPIM’s role in the North Street redevelopment scheme, according to well placed sources.

PRUPIM’s decision to buy the Friary Centre together with a number of surrounding properties indirectly caused Guildford Borough Council (GBC) to defer its selection of a development partner for the North Street project earlier this year.

The council appeared to be within hours of approving an evaluation panel’s recommendation to choose Lend Lease as the development partner before communications with PRUPIM caused a dramatic change of mind that surprised many councillors.

PRUPIM logoPRUPIM already owns other assets in Guildford, including the Debenham’s site, but the council has said it is “unable” to say what its further property holdings in the town are. Hermes’ frustration with its non involvement with the North Street scheme is suspected to be a factor behind its reason to sell out to PRUPIM.

With the recent completion of the sale of the Friary Centre by Hermes, PRUPIM now own properties that will be vital to any North Street development scheme. In August last year, Hermes’ asset manager Ben Tolman said that that the purchase of Dominion House, within the redevelopment area: “…now gives us ownership of some 60% of the wider Guildford town centre expansion site.”

Yesterday (June 14) the development director of PRUPIM, Jon Weymouth, following completion of the property deal, said: “We are delighted to have made this acquisition in Guildford and are committed to helping the town unlock its significant potential. We intend to further enhance the Friary Centre and the surrounding North Street site.”

By completing the deal PRUPIM has also acquired the right to continue the application for a judicial review that has been made by Hermes. It is considered unlikely that it will give this up until it is satisfied with its role in the re-development scheme.

The Guildford Vision Group has also applied for a judicial review of the Waitrose planning decision. It is anticipated that it will also come under pressure from the council to withdraw its application so that a more collaborative approach can be made to the new Local Plan, the first arrangements for which are due to be agreed at the council’s next Executive meeting on Thursday, June 20.

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