The Basingstoke Observer can today reveal a shopping centre owner has launched a legal challenge over the procurement process of the planned £300m redevelopment of Basingstoke Leisure Park and new retail outlet.
AEW Europe LLP, Trustee 1 FB Limited, Trustee 2 FB Limited, who manage Basingstoke’s Festival Place, claim Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council breached EU procurement regulations when it appointed NewRiver Leisure as its development partner to overhaul the leisure park.
The legal claim was lodged at the High Court last September, and councillors were told at the time, but the matter was not made public until now.
The council said AEW Europe is challenging the process that led to the appointment of NewRiver as the council’s development partner and alleged breach of EU procurement regulations.
NewRiver was awarded the contract last March to lead the transformation of park which will see the existing facilities doubled and a 200,000 sq ft designer outlet village built alongside.
The council say it will “strongly defend” the legal challenge.
Cabinet member for property and finance Cllr 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. The outline proposals have generated lots of interest and support at the community drop-in sessions.”
Jamie Whitfield, Development Director at NewRiver, said was “excited” to have been appointed as the development partner and was “committed” to delivering the project.
It is not clear when a decision will be made over the legal challenge.
A planning application has yet to be submitted for the site, but it is hoped work will start in 2023.
AEW was unavailable for comment.