Now, there seems to be a snag. St. James, who bought the site in 2004, has put forward alternate plans that they say are "in line with planning policy to attract new retail into the town centre as well as providing homes for local people". St. James' plans differed from H&F Council's preferred developer in that they:
- do not require the Pocklington Trust homes for the blind to be demolished
- will not seek to demolish the Friends Meeting House
- will not seek to build on the Council car park at the back of the current cinema
St. James says that if approved, work could begin in early 2009 and be completed by 2010. Meanwhile, Cllr. Mark Loveday, (Con) the person spearheading H&F Council's scheme and the officials, who had presumably hoped that their plans would run smoothly, are now talking about the possibility of "compulsory purchase orders" for the site.Labour have long opposed this development as a waste of public funds. St. James are expected to put their plans before H&F Council's Planning Committee and if turned down by that panel they will probably seek to appeal above the Council's head. This all raises the spectre of some rather expensive legal bills and a further waste of tax payers' money. I'll let you know how this progresses.