Agenda item

Land at Foul Lane, Southport

Report of the Executive Director of Corporate Resources and Customer Services


The Cabinet considered the report of the Executive Director of Corporate Resources and Customer Services which sought approval to complete the disposal of land at Foul Lane (the former park and ride site) in Southport to Homes England. Following the disposal, the site will be developed out as part of a larger residential development proposal, dependent upon the award of detailed planning consent.


The report indicated that a comprehensive review of the Council’s asset base is being undertaken in phases, with assets defined as either supporting operational activity, having heritage value, being required to support the growth programme or being available for disposal. Land at Foul Lane was identified as being available for disposal to facilitate a housing redevelopment scheme in line with the site’s designation in the Local Plan. Foul Lane was therefore included in the Asset Maximisation: Phase 2 Disposals Programme presented and approved by Cabinet on 24 June 2021.


Homes England approached the Council in Autumn 2022 seeking to acquire the site at Foul Lane, Southport, as they had recently acquired the adjoining site known as Land at Crowland Street, which is also allocated for housing redevelopment in the Local Plan. Acquiring the site at Foul Lane will provide Homes England with single ownership of a site in excess of 63 acres, which will be subject to a detailed master plan and a planning application to deliver a policy compliant housing scheme.


Decision Made: That


(1)      the agreed Heads of Terms for the disposal of Land at Foul Lane, Southport, as detailed within Appendix 2 of the report be approved;


(2)      the deduction of up to 4% of the eventual capital receipt to cover the professional fees and incidental costs of disposal as set out in the Capital Accounting Regulations be approved; and


(3)      the Chief Legal and Democratic Officer be authorised to complete the necessary legal formalities.


Reasons for the Decision:


This property transaction ensures delivery of new housing in line with the site’s allocation in the Local Plan and allows the land at Foul Lane and land at Crowland Street to be brought forward as single master plan and delivered over a number of phases.


Alternative Options Considered and Rejected:


(Option 1 – “Do nothing”: do not dispose of the site to Homes England. The Council would retain the former park and ride site.


Risk: the site would likely remain vacant and on the Council asset register. There would be ongoing holding costs liability and no capital receipt would be received.


Option 2 – “Redevelop the Foul Lane site in isolation”: the Council could look to secure outline planning consent and to dispose of the site on market to a housebuilder.


Risk: completion of land transaction would move into a later financial year and make delivery of a single, well-designed housing scheme difficult due to the need for combine sewers across sites and potential need for construction vehicular access to be provided to the Crowland Street site, which would cause disruption for residents.

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