BOURNEMOUTH’S Winter Gardens site is back in council ownership after prospective developers failed to secure planning permission.

The Winter Gardens car park was sold to developers last year on condition they achieved planning consent by March 2012.

Plans for a £100million mix of a cinema, restaurants, shops, flats, hotel and public piazza were subsequently submitted but were withdrawn on the day they were due to be considered by the planning committee.

The council has confirmed it has now terminated the conditional contract with APB Park Ltd and expects the site to be redeveloped by the Bournemouth Development Company as part of the Town Centre Master Vision.

Cllr John Beesley, leader of the council, said: “A significant non-returnable deposit paid to the council will be retained, in accordance with the agreement.

“The site remains in the council’s ownership and integral to our Town Centre Vision. We will be talking to the Bournemouth Development Company about the future of this site and it will be up to the BDC to come forward with a proposal for this site when market conditions allow.”

But Tony Ramsden, of agents Planning Solutions, told the Echo a new planning application was imminent and he expected the contract for the purchase of the car park to be extended for a further three months.

He added that APB Park Ltd was already in ownership or control of all the surrounding buildings, including Keystone House, Funki Sushi and La Strada and said extending the contract would allow the council and the developers to maximise the value of the site.

Duncan Johnston, of the Bournemouth Development Company, said it would welcome the chance to redevelop the Winter Gardens site with “something Bournemouth can be proud of”.

He said: “We continue to take a holistic look at the town centre and the Winter Gardens is an important part of the jigsaw, with the potential to provide an attractive and well-planned connection within the town centre.”