A ‘high quality’ development partner to help transform Chichester’s Southern Gateway area is being sought by the council.
A masterplan for the area, stretching from the law courts to Canal Wharf, was agreed by Chichester District Council back in November.
It is anticipated 365 new homes and 20,600 square metres of commercial space including business and retail, leisure and tourism facilities would be built on the 30-acre site.
A development partner is now being sought by the council, with cabinet members also approving a development brief for the site on Tuesday (October 2).
Tony Dignum, leader of the council, said: “This is a hugely exciting point in the project because we will shortly start the journey to find a development partner who will help us to make this major regeneration project a reality.
“Since the Southern Gateway masterplan was adopted last year, a lot of important background work has taken place ready for us to start the formal process of going out to the market and the project team is now looking forward to hearing from prospective developers.
“In summer a ‘soft market test’ took place – an informal exercise to see how developers might respond to the opportunity – and we were very pleased with the positive reaction we received. We used the feedback to further improve the brief so that it is absolutely clear what it is that we asking of a potential developer.
“Because of the interest expressed back in summer, I am confident that we will find a high quality partner as eager as we are to deliver this project for the benefit of the community.”
The process of finding a development partner will take six months and the council anticipates announcing its selection in June 2019.
The next stage will be for the development partner to develop their ideas and show them to the public next summer.
One of the key challenges for the project is to find sites for the Royal Mail sorting office and Stagecoach bus depot to move to.
According to council documents discussed by councillors last month relocation sites have been identified, but no further information is provided.
Plans for the Southern Gateway area aim to improve transport links, make the area more attractive for cyclists and pedestrians and secure public realm enhancements.
The Stockbridge Road level crossing would be limited to buses, emergency access, cyclists and pedestrians, Basin Road would be realigned and the layout of the Southgate gyratory would be changed.
Earlier this year the project received £5 million of funding from the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership.