Harrogate Borough Council vacated their previous HQ building of Crescent Gardens and moved into new offices on Knapping Mount around December 2017.
HBC had previously exchanged contracts (on 28 March 2017) with a local property company, ATP (Crescent Gardens) LTD, for the sale of Crescent Gardens. The contract has not been completed and is pending agreement on planning proposals.
Adam Thorpe Property Group PLC are looking to purchase the property through a wholly owned subsidiary, ATP (Crescent Gardens) LTD – a company incorporated on 20 September 2016.
On the 19 December 2017 Adam Thorpe Property Group PLC were told that Companies House had intention to strike them off. That was action that Companies House reversed on 17 January 2018 and was explained by Adam Thorpe Property Group PLC, at the time, as administrative mistakes.
HBC are also planning to enter into an agreement to lease the land in front of the building to ATP (Crescent Gardens) Ltd. The decision to lease the land was the conclusion from a consultation on the use of the land in July 2017 – a consultation that was not actively promoted by HBC and was just posted to their website.
HBC have not been quick to provide updates to the media, but perhaps understandably so. There is a appetite for news items on the development, but HBC are mid-way through a contractual progress. Media updates can be seen as cutting across everything and can be a little antagonising. That is also the reason why the sale price has never been made public and if the building needed to be re-marketed then that would prejudice HBC’s position
Progress has been painfully slow, but HBC say that they are now having “active” discussions with Adam Thorpe as he prepares a pre-application before he submits a full planning application.
Adam Thorpe and his architect (Spire and Partners) have indicated to HBC that they will submit a formal planning application early in the New Year.
Pre-applications discussions are a way to allow a planning authority and developer to discuss plans, aspirations, wish list to establish what is or isn’t acceptable in terms of planning law or local considerations. It is used as a way to save time with multiple applications potentially being knocked back for amendment which saves money and time for HBC and the developer.
In December 2017, Adam Thorpe told the Sunday Times that the development of Crescent Gardens would include two £12 million flats. If you peruse one of the house search websites then the top of the market for a town centre house in Harrogate is currently £3.5 million and if you are looking at the top end of the market in the district, it is difficult to spend more than £4 million.
HBC have a lot resting on this deal and a previous sale fell through in November 2015 See Sale Falls Through For Crescent Gardens In Harrogate
The question remains though, how long do you work with a developer making such slow progress and when should a decision be made, in the best interest of the public and council finances, to put the building back on the market?
Adam Thorpe has never made himself available for comment or returned any of our emails or calls.