Crescent Gardens sale cancelled after deadline passes for planning application submission

8 April 2019

Crescent Gardens – the iconic former headquarters of Harrogate Borough Council – is to be put back on the market after a contract to sell it to a developer was cancelled.

The council took the decision to end a legal agreement after ATP (Crescent Gardens) Ltd failed to meet the deadline to submit a valid planning application for the site.

The contract between the council and the developer was subject to a valid planning application being received.  The most recent deadline for submission was Friday (5 April).

The council served notice today (8 April).

The council decided to exercise its right to walk away from the sale so the building could be put back on the market without delay.  Work is already underway to re-advertise it.

The sale of Crescent Gardens was originally announced in 2014 as the council moved to consolidate its various buildings into a single, purpose built, civic centre.

ATP (Crescent Gardens) Ltd emerged as the preferred purchaser in 2016 after the council marketed the building.

Contracts were exchanged in 2017, but completion was subject to a number of pre-planning conditions being met ahead of a valid planning application being submitted.

The contract between the council and the developer set a final deadline of 5 April for this.

The council’s planning service has worked with ATP (Crescent Gardens) Ltd over a number of months to develop a pre-planning application.

The developer, and its architects, also recently carried out a public consultation event.  This suggested the project was moving forward.

Despite this, and numerous assurances from the developer that a full planning application would be submitted on time, nothing has been received.

As the final deadline, set out in the contract has been passed, the council has decided to take immediate action so the property can be sold via alternative means.

Councillor Graham Swift, deputy leader and cabinet member for economic development, said:

I’m disappointed that we’ve had to pull the contract.  It needn’t have come to this, but we cannot ignore repeated false promises and missed deadlines.

I know that redeveloping a building like Crescent Gardens is complicated and not straight forward, but we’ve made allowances for that.

We have been very patient since contracts were exchanged.

The time has come to take action and to realise the value of this building, not wait further on the off-chance a planning application comes forward.

Residents would expect us to take positive action.

On Friday, 5 April 2019 we asked the Adam Thorpe Group if plans would be submitted on time, we received this response.

Chris Mitcheson Operations Director, said:
I can confirm that you are right in your thinking, today was the agreed date and I can confirm that this will be met.


  1. How can the Council not only be impartial, but *seen* to be impartial, when deciding planning persmission for a property it is selling?

    Presumably, this is a transaction it wants to go through as soon as possible and will be assuring potential buyers that there won’t be much problem with the necessary compliances??!

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