ARRANGEMENTS have been put in place for BCP Council to buy “one of the largest brownfield sites” in the South West.

Concerns that development of the former power station site at Holes Bay had stalled prompted it to begin looking at plans to buy the land last year.

And on Wednesday, its cabinet will be asked to approve the purchase in order to build hundreds of new homes.

The site was first identified as being suitable for housing more than 20 years ago and part of the justification for building the Twin Sails bridge was that it would facilitate the development.

A planning application for the land has been submitted by its owners London and Quadrant and Land Improvement Holdings and it is included in the Poole local plan for up to 850 houses.

But concerns about the viability of the scheme, with the cost of the required new quay wall and decontaminating the ground described as "exceptional", have prevented it being moved forward.

The council said it was at “serious risk” of losing a £5 million grant from Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership to subsidise the cost of the work.

This prompted it to spend £150,000 on an acquisition strategy looking at how it could be brought under council ownership, including the possibility of using a compulsory purchase order.

A report to the council’s cabinet, published ahead of its meeting on Wednesday, says an agreement has now been reached with the site’s owners

“Negotiations have subsequently progressed with the landowners to secure an acquisition strategy for the site and this report presents a proposal for bringing this forward which has been agreed in principle with the landowners,” it says.

It says the move would be a “valuable investment” in work to build more homes in the area and help create a “vibrant and connected community”.

Councillor Mark Howell, the cabinet member for regeneration, said he wanted the council to be “ambitious” in what it did on the site.

“This is an opportunity to do something very different and up-to-date,” he said at last week’s scrutiny board meeting.

“What we don’t want to do is take a standard developer idea and roll it out because the danger is that we don’t deliver the community and a place that people want to live in.

“I feel the time is right now for us as a council to move this forward.”

Cabinet member for housing, councillor Kieron Wilson, said it was an opportunity the council “could not turn down”.

Details of how much the purchase will cost have not been made public but the council has confirmed it will have to borrow money.

Discussions are also being held with Homes England in a bid to secure financial support for the required preparation work needed before the development can be started.

Should the purchase be approved by the cabinet, a planning application is due to be submitted next year with the aim of construction work starting by 2023.

The report says it would take between 15 and 20 years to complete.