SWINDON Council is preparing to take action to ensure the Kimmerfields development, in the town centre, can proceed as planned.
A request to issue a compulsory purchase order to buy several pockets of land around the proposed site will allow developers to move forward with the proposal.
There are nine areas in total and although most of the sites are small pieces of land with no buildings, one of the sites is next to the underpass near Debenhams and includes the Greggs and the Cornish Bakehouse shops.
If the CPO goes ahead,compensation will be available to ensure the development goes ahead. For this just over £1.6 million has been set aside.
Talks are ongoing with landowners to negotiate the deal but the CPO is being recommended in order to ensure everything can go ahead before a deadline in May this year.
If the council does not have control of the land by then, the deal with MUSE Developments will be under threat, although the deadline is expected to be extended.
The Whalebridge car park and the residential home were completed last year but the full development will see a new bus exchange, 600,000 square feet of business space and 150,000 square feet of retail space.
In order to build the bus exchange, the area of land surrounding the underpass will be brought onto one level and made pedestrian friendly which is why the shops need to be purchased, although figures close to the development do not believe it will be a problem.
“We are in discussions with the owners of the land and hope to reach agreements with them,“ said Coun Garry Perkins (Con, Shaw) Cabinet Member for Economy, Regeneration and Culture.
“Hopefully we will not need to use any of the orders but it gives the council another weapon to make sure everything can go ahead.
“We are not foreseeing any problems with buying the sections of land but two of them are in the hands of banks so may take a little longer to negotiate.
“I don’t think there will be any problem with the businesses because we have agreed they will be re-located.”
The next stage of development will be the demolition of the Wyvern Theatre car park and the bus station car park which is due to take place later this year.
Coun Perkins said: “Now the Whalebridge car park is open there are adequate spaces in the town centre so we are planning to demolish existing ones.
“A tender has gone out and I would expect that to happen some time in the next financial year which starts in April.
“We consulted with several groups on the demolition of the Wyvern car park and there were some concerns about access to the theatre with the new car park being too far away.
“We will therefore be putting in a ground level disabled carparking space so everyone has access.”
The proposal to authorise the CPO is due to go before the Cabinet next Wednesday.