Council chiefs have drafted a Compulsory Purchase Order to knock down Dover’s worst eyesore – Burlington House in Townwall Street.
It allows the district council to take control of the obstructive buildings in the Dover Town
Investment Zone (DTIZ) without the owner’s consent.
This is enforced when a development is considered to be for the benefit of the community.
Dover District Council can now push forward with plans to demolish the outstanding buildings – the biggest of which, Burlington House, has been a blot on the town’s landscape for decades.
MP for Dover and Deal Charlie Elphicke said: “It is great news.
"It has been drawn up, we need to see progress of issuing and serving the order so we can get on with getting rid of it.”
Leader of the council, Cllr Paul Watkins, said: “We are now at a crucial stage in the development, which we know many people want to see realised.
“We have worked hard to develop the scheme to a point where we can commence the formal CPO process in respect of the land and interests not currently owned by the council.”
Individual notices will be sent to landowners, leaseholders, tenants and occupiers of any land affected, along with anyone else who may be able to claim compensation.
Notices will also be placed in and around the area.
The 120,000sqft stretch is set to be transformed into a retail and leisure area.
Cinema chain, Cineworld, will be setting themselves up with a six screen complex, while Marks & Spencers will be opening up a Simply Food store.
Plans also include a 120-bed hotel and residential development at the corner of Castle Street and Maison Dieu Road.
It is said that the council negotiations with other potential tenants are also at an “advanced stage”.
Managing director of Laker Developments John Laker, said: “We are starting the CPO process to ensure that the project will be delivered.
“However, we are hopeful that we can reach agreement by private treaty with landowners without going through the whole process.”