Bidder has eye on Gardens

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A ‘compelling’ new developer for a stop-start West End housing regeneration scheme has come forward.

But before entering into a contract with the un-named builder, Lancaster City Council will test private investment interest in the Chatsworth Gardens scheme by inviting other bidders.

The developer has sent in plans to refurbish council-owned properties in the Chatsworth Road and Albert Road area of the West End as rented homes.

The council owns 47 properties on the site and has so far spent £7m on the project. They also own other buildings across the West End, which will be sold to fund the main scheme.

“The increasing availability of long term rental income at market rents, and a belief that this demand will continue in the long term, is attracting interest from...funders/developers,” says a council report.

“Officers think this model has real regeneration potential and could bring many advantages in terms of the transfer of the majority of the Chatsworth Gardens development risk to the private sector.

“The developer has strong institutional backing, a long-term approach to investment/return, a high degree of competence in design/delivery...and enthusiasm for the West End”.

The scheme stalled in 2009 after original developers Places for People pulled out, but is back on the table after a £1.9m Government funding boost.