Businesses reluctant to sell up and move to make way for the extension of Eastbourne’s Arndale Centre have been given a choice to either sell or face a lengthy legal battle.
Developers have been in talks with traders in shops along the stretch of Terminus Road affected by the £85 million extension. And while some have agreed to sell up, The Herald understands negotiations are ongoing with up to six property owners.
If they refuse to accept inflated and generous offers from the Arndale Centre bosses for their properties then Eastbourne Borough Council, which has Compulsory Purchase Order powers, can acquire the property and pay compensation based on the market value.
If those businesses object, a Public Inquiry is likely to be held which could take up to nine months to complete, cost taxpayers thousands of pounds and, say observers, delay the much-needed improved shopping centre.
The £85 million plan will provide up to 24 new stores, seven new restaurants and a nine screen multiplex between the existing Arndale Centre and the former Gildredge Pub.
It is the shops and businesses between the existing Arndale Centre and the former Gildredge Pub which are at the centre of the negotiations.
In most cases, discussions with representatives of the properties within the redevelopment area have been very positive and as a result the majority of those properties have been purchased, but several remain in private ownership.
If it transpires that agreements cannot be reached, the council will use its statutory powers to compulsory purchase those premises to assist developers PRLP with the development.
Eastbourne Borough Council leader Liberal Democrat David Tutt, said, “The compulsory acquisition of premises is a last resort and one that we are taking in a measured way according to very clear legal parameters.”
Objections to the CPO notice must be made in writing to the Secretary of State by March 27 2015.
For more details visit www.eastbourneherald.co.uk