A MULTI-million pound regeneration of Horndean has suffered a major setback after a deal to buy the former Gales brewery fell through.
Developer Burton Property was to spend £20m on building 73 homes, a doctors’ surgery, a care home, a shop and offices on the site.
But, after almost three years of negotiations that saw developers gain planning permission, hopes of regenerating the village lie in tatters.
Tony Burton, managing director of Burton Property, sent Horndean Parish Council a letter saying it would not be proceeding with the scheme.
He said it was ‘unable to satisfactorily conclude our purchase’ of the site from Fullers, which owns the historic brewery that has been empty since 2006.
Community leaders said it was a huge blow.
Horndean councillor Sara Schillemore said: ‘It’s bitterly disappointing for Horndean.
‘It’s going to be such a blow for some people such as the doctors’ surgery.
‘It’s a great shame. It’s going to muck up the redevelopment of Horndean we have worked hard for.
‘After two-and-a-half years, loads of promises, planning permission, Burton has just walked away.’
The setback puts into jeopardy healthcare provision as a new £1.1m modern facility was to be built to replace Horndean Surgery, in Blendworth Lane.
Cllr Lynn Evans, chairwoman of the parish council, said: ‘We had been pressing for a start date but received this unhappy news.
‘The parish council will be seeking advice and help from East Hampshire District Council and its planning department to see what can be done to take forward the regeneration of the village centre.’
Mr Burton told The News he was still keen for the development to take place as planning permission is still live. But he said the timing of this would be down to Fullers.
He said: ‘We’re proud of the scheme for which we obtained planning consent and hope very much it will be implemented in the near future.
‘I agree this will be key to the regeneration and future success of Horndean and its community.’
Peter Turner, property director at Fuller, Smith & Turner Plc, said: ‘We had agreed an option on the Horndean Brewery site with BB Property Ventures Ltd and were pleased with the approved plans for development of the area.
‘Unfortunately they are now not willing to meet that agreed option price and it is no longer possible to pursue the deal.
‘We remain as committed as ever to finding an appropriate buyer for the site, and are in advanced negotiations with another party at present.’