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Home Sheerness News Article
The search for a developer to build up to 250 homes as part of a regeneration project has been put back until the new year.
Construction of the first phase in Rushenden Road, Queenborough, is yet to begin.
In recent weeks the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), which is behind the project with Swale council, completed work to make the site more attractive to potential developers by raising the ground above the flood plain.
It had been hoped to get a developer on board by the end of September but HCA is now working to secure a piece of land separating areas that are proposed for development.
Senior development manager at HCA Neil Miller said: “This adjacent land recently changed hands so we are exploring the possibility of including this as part of our plans as it could potentially enhance the already great scheme.
“We have not reached a formal agreement yet, and will continue with our original plans should this not be possible. This has led to a bit more work for us, however, in order to minimise any risk and make best use of public money when marketing the site, we want to be very clear to potential developers what land is included and what is not.
“Therefore, we want to complete these negotiations fully before marketing the site.”
It is hoped the discussions will be finished by the start of December but it means the site will probably not be marketed to developers until January next year.
The original £400 million regeneration project was formulated in 2003 and included plans for a marina, community facilities and a school.
In June, Mr Miller admitted the master plan was created in a “very different economic climate” and the plan was to work with a developer to “bring forward as much of it as we can”.
This week he added: “We are positive that we will receive good bids off the back of the marketing and can progress in earnest towards starting to build homes in 2014 as currently planned.”
Discussions are going on with NHS Kent and Medway Property Services about including a medical centre with a GP surgery and possibly a dentist as a request to developers.
HCA is working with Kent County Council to find out when a requirement for a new school might be triggered by the new homes.
Mr Miller said: “It’s likely, however, that this will be in future phases of the project, in two to three years’ time.”
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