A DEVELOPER fighting to salvage his £50m leisure complex plans is urging the council to scupper a rival scheme.

Trevor Osborne wants Bournemouth council to step up its attempts to purchase the site of a rival leisure scheme – and boost his ailing Pavilion Gardens project.

Bournemouth council is currently trying to get a compulsory purchase order (CPO) for the NCP car park at Exeter Road and stop developers Licet from building a cinema and restaurant complex there.

But Mr Osborne said there was a perception that the CPO process was ‘flawed’ and this had enabled rival developer Licet to secure funding from Legal and General and a crucial anchor tenant in cinema giant Odeon.

His scheme is now hanging by a thread after council leader John Beesley decided to rescind the contract over progress concerns.

Mr Osborne’s only hope now is that councillors at an audit and resources meeting tomorrow will refer this decision back to full council or cabinet.

In a long letter to Bournemouth council, Mr Osborne said: “It remains within Bournemouth Borough Council’s power to ensure that the project is undertaken. It is clear that, if BBC can obtain confirmation of a CPO and establish a credible programme for the creation of the bus hub, then the Pavilion Gardens project could proceed.”

He has given the council correspondence that shows he was on the verge of securing funding for the Pavilion Gardens scheme but backers could not be convinced the council’s CPO would succeed. He reached detailed draft heads of terms stage with Land Securities but they “got cold feet over the CPO” and two other funds were interested but not prepared to commit until the CPO is confirmed.

Odeon then switched allegiance to West Central, citing a ‘flawed’ CPO process and the fact Licet had funding as the reasons for its change.

Legal and General, once a potential backer for Pavilion Gardens, also decided to go with West Central. A letter from Trevor Osborne’s advisors Jones Lang LaSalle said: “This is a puzzle given the CPO resolution but L&G maintain the CPO is flawed and they are clearly feeling confident to say that.”

Mr Osborne has also stated he had invested more than £3.5million to achieve their objective of developing Bath Road North and regenerating Westover Road.

And he said it would be “grossly unreasonable” if the council stuck to the terms of the contract and insisted he pay a £1.35m fee – a move that would push Osborne Bournemouth Limited (OBL) into administration.

“I respectfully suggest that, if BBC were minded to serve a rescission notice, it could only be interpreted as a vexatious and misguided attempt to demand from OBL a substantial sum of £1.35m, pushing the company into administration and calling into doubt BBC’s commitment to the project under the development agreement and its expressed covenant to act “fairly” and “in the utmost good faith”.


The two proposals...

• Pavilion Gardens is a £50m scheme for a cinema, restaurants and underground car park.

Trevor Osborne has full planning permission for the scheme on council-owned land. He has an agreement from Bournemouth council to sell him the Bath Road North car park and rent back the underground car park for up to 75 years.

• West Central is a £50m scheme for a 10-screen cinema, restaurants and car park.

Bournemouth council gave planning permission in 2006, but has stalled the scheme by withholding a small strip of its land and then by applying for a CPO. West Central would be built on private land owned by NCP and funded by Legal and General.