Housing giant Taylor Wimpey is believed to be on the verge of quitting as the “chosen developer” for the whole of the former Whittingham Hospital site.
It is believed Taylor Wimpey has failed to agree with site owners the Homes and Communities Agency, Lancashire County Council and Preston Council the amount of funding it would be required to put towards the Broughton bypass in return for developing the site.
The news means the development of the controversial former hospital land, which first received planning permission for large scale housing development in 1998, may eventually be carried out by a number of developers, rather than just one.
Preston Rural North councillor Ken Hudson said Taylor Wimpey was considering pulling out of the multi-million pound development - except for completing a first phase of 150 new homes - at last week’s public inquiry into plans for 200 new homes on the Longridge boundary, off Whittingham Road.
Of the Whittingham Hospital site, Coun Hudson said: “We have had planning permission since 1998 and not a brick has been built. Taylor Wimpey want ‘out’, so consequently the Homes and Communities Agency has to take the site back over and do a deal with Wimpey and build on the only greenfield site of Whittingham.”
He said he believed the money from the sale of the land would then be used by the HCA to pay for the demolition of the former hospital buildings so it could “provide a clean site and sell it to another developer”.
A spokesman for the HCA said: “Whittingham Hospital is a complex site and delivery has been made more challenging by the economic downturn, but we have been working hard alongside Taylor Wimpey, Preston City Council and Lancashire County Council and have agreed the way forward.
“Taylor Wimpey will be developing the first phase of 150 units, with the HCA using receipts from this deal to fund demolition works on the site.
“The second phase of development will then be taken to the market later in 2014.
“The Whittingham Hospital site will make a considerable financial contribution to the Broughton bypass through contributions from the sale of phases 2, 3 and 4 of the site. Lancashire County Council is also putting considerable funding into the scheme as a result of the new Preston City Deal.”
Taylor Wimpey has pledged its allegiance to the development of the former Whittingham Hospital site and although asked to comment, nothing had been received by the time Longridge News went to press.
The HCA is seeking renewal of previously approved outline plans for the redevelopment of the Whittingham Hospital site for 650 new homes and 9,000sq m of office-light industry, primary school, senior playing pitch, tennis court, relocation of bowling green, recreational and play facilities, new access to Whittingham Lane and alterations to existing access to Cumeragh Lane, open space, landscaping and associated infrastructure.
This application will go before Preston Council’s planning committee on February 3.