THE developers behind a £50m leisure complex are seeking legal advice after their rival urged Bournemouth council to thwart their project.
Licet and partners NCP are planning to build a £50m cinema and restaurant development called West Central on the Exeter Road car park but have faced opposition from Bournemouth council.
Now they have asked their lawyers to review paperwork submitted by rival developer Trevor Osborne which reveals he suggested Bournemouth council renege on an agreement to sell Licet a small strip of council-owned land.
Meanwhile, Mr Osborne has hit out at council leader John Beesley for his “autocratic” decision to end the council’s backing for his Pavilion Gardens development and accused the council of mishandling the project.
He said: “I don’t think this position should be taken by a single man acting autocratically – that’s what the leader has done.
“It’s an important decision which has ramifications for the town centre.
“I have to question whether democracy is best served by one person making a decision like this.
“Most people want this scheme to go ahead.
“But it needs the council to be competent in following its own decisions to make it possible.
“I acted in utmost good faith because it’s what I do. I wish it had been reciprocated.”
Mr Osborne has struggled to attract funding and an anchor tenant for his Pavilion Gardens scheme because of competition from West Central.
With councillors due to debate Cllr Beesley’s decision today Mr Osborne has called on the council to step up their plans to get a Compulsory Purchase Order for the Exeter Road site.
Paperwork submitted by Mr Osborne reveals he suggested the council withold its land in February 2011.
One year later, Bournemouth council told Licet they would only sell them their land for a scheme that contributed to the improvement of public transport.
Licet improved their offer but this was refused and they later re-worked their scheme to exclude the land in question.
Chris Dymond, director of Licet, said: “Together with NCP we have seen copies of the publicly available documents which have been put forward for consideration by the scrutiny panel.
“We have referred them to our legal team for review.”
Mr Osborne said: “It shouldn’t be overlooked that the council have twice now resolved to acquire the Licet site to make a bus hub.
“It’s the only place in town that would be suitable for that proposal.
“One has to question why since 2010 the council has made such little progress.”