Pavilion: what's happening now?

Dorset Echo: THAT WAS THEN: Borough councillor Geoff Petherick and Howard Holdings' Martin Jepson study a model of the Pavilion site scheme last October THAT WAS THEN: Borough councillor Geoff Petherick and Howard Holdings' Martin Jepson study a model of the Pavilion site scheme last October

COUNCILLORS could have to think again about the £100 million Pavilion and ferry terminal redevelopment in Weymouth.

Developer Howard Holdings said fresh confidential talks had been held with the council to put several new options for the scheme before councillors, but the company denied that it had delivered 'an ultimatum'.

Both sides say more talks are planned to try and thrash out a way forward to give the council the facilities it wants, but at a price which still allows Howard Holdings to make a profit.

But it could be months before agreement is reached and Christmas before a planning application for the scheme is submitted.

Howard Holdings' original plans outlined eight storeys of apartments and up to 350 new marina berths as well as a revamped theatre, a community room and a World Heritage Centre.

But councillors, keen to rein in the size of the scheme and concentrate more on its community facilities, voted to cut back the apartments from eight to six storeys and to slash the size of the marina to 150 berths.

Howard Holdings - which had hoped to put in a planning application last July - was then asked to go away and report back on how these cuts might affect the scheme.

They have now done that, but councillors face more hard bargaining if they are to achieve the Christmas planning application target.

Borough mayor Coun David Harris was among those who met the developer and he is also due to attend next Tuesday's management committee which will be told that Howard's revision ideas were 'to maintain the viability of the scheme'.

Coun Harris said: "When the council took its decision to reduce the apartments and marina berths this clearly put financial pressure on the viability of the whole scheme.

"Consequently Howard Holdings are trying to find out the best way of providing a viable option within the parameters laid down by the council while allowing themselves a reasonable profit.

"I genuinely believe that this week's meeting with them was useful, but its content has to remain confidential because of its financial nature. We remain hopeful of Howard Holdings submitting a planning application for the Pavilion before Christmas."

Howard Holdings' regional director Gary Charman said that the council decision to reduce the apartments and marina berths had affected the scheme 'without a doubt'.

He added: "We need to look at the delivery of the whole project, not just pick up sections. What we are looking at is to create a good mix of uses development."

He said Howard Holdings had spent months trying to work things out and had finally met with councillors to set out various options before them.

He added: "We are trying to deliver aspirations within several scenarios. It is not a question of ultimatums. We are not in the business of ultimatums.

"All we have tried to do is take their views on the apartment blocks and the marina and translate them into possible scenarios for discussion."

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