Factory back on market after store plan rejected
A factory which went into administration three years ago is
back on the market after a plan to turn it into a supermarket was
HBC Engineering in Halfway closed at the end of 2009 and was
taken over by administrators Grant Thornton LLP.
It was then sold to developer Citygrove Securities, which had a
proposal to turn it into a food store approved last January.
However, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles intervened,
preventing full permission being granted, and Sainsbury’s, which
had been interested in the site, then pulled out in March.
A legal battle launched by Citygrove against LXB Retail
Properties, which is behind the £25m transformation and new
Morrisons store at Neats Court, followed.
Citygrove eventually withdrew its legal action and proposals
last summer and ownership of the Power Station Road site reverted
back to Grant Thornton.
The company resubmitted the same application for redevelopment
of the site to build a food store, but it was turned down
unanimously by Swale council’s planning committee last month.
Now Grant Thornton has revealed the building is back on the
market – and offers are welcome as there is no set purchase
A spokesman said the administrators had decided not to continue
with Citygrove’s legal challenge.
They added: “Although we are disappointed with Swale council’s
decision to permit only one more food store on the Island, we were
kept informed throughout the process and agreed to drop [the legal]
“We understand the council remains supportive of the re-use of
the site for alternative uses and we are continuing to market it
through our agents Doherty Baines.
“The property is back on the market and we are hopeful of
finding a purchaser."
The main reason councillors refused the application for another
supermarket was because of the negative impact it believed having
two new stores would have had on Sheerness town centre.
A retail study which the council had carried out found if two
were to be built, there would be a 41% drop in trade in the town
and Tesco Sheerness could see a fall of as much as 55%.
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