MULTI-million pound plans to extend a retail park hang in the balance amid a row between landowners and Pizza Hut.
The food chain is refusing to leave its restaurant in Solent Road, Havant – scuppering a developer’s bid to transform the area with a two-storey retail unit, 250 parking spaces and potentially create 130 jobs.
Havant Borough Council has now received a request to use compulsory purchase powers to demolish Pizza Hut’s building, which was built in the last decade.
As reported previously, the council approved plans last year for landowner Hargreaves Properties Ltd to redevelop 3.6 acres of land and build a large store alongside the existing Solent Retail Park.
It was hoped a large national chain would move in.
Buildings currently on the land would be demolished, including Pizza Hut, Solent Cleaners, Motomex garage, EMP Tooling Services and Havant Motor Factors.
Some of these businesses have now relocated and some were expected to move across the road to a new trade park – also owned by Hargreaves.
To allow the development to proceed, the council sold the land the Pizza Hut restaurant stands on to Hargreaves, leaving the food chain still in ownership of the building.
A council report states there has been ‘a change in negotiation position which has now resulted in Pizza Hut not agreeing to sell its interests to the developer’.
The report adds that compulsory purchase powers are ‘not to be used lightly’. The council’s cabinet will meet tomorrow to decide whether or not they need to seek legal advice.
Councillor David Guest, deputy leader, said: ‘It’s not something we commonly do.
‘During my time on the council, I don’t think we have done it once.’
He added that he was keen to see the area redeveloped to allow new jobs to come in.
A spokeswoman for Pizza Hut Restaurants said: ‘Pizza Hut Restaurants was approached by the landlord of the property on Solent Road earlier this year with a request to buy, however this request was declined. We intend to continue operating from this restaurant and have no plans to sell the property.’
The agent for Hargreaves declined to comment.