Ask to build leisure centre in return for foodstore site

Simon Donohue

Bury Council has leased the site of the Castle Leisure Centre to Ask Developments on a peppercorn rent on the understanding that it identifies an occupier for a new 130,000 sq ft food store.

Ask has also agreed to fund the construction of a new leisure centre for the council, said Alex Holland, Bury's head of property and asset management.

Situated adjacent to Irwell Street and Bolton Street, Bury, the leisure centre will be relocated.

The conditions of the 250-year lease for the 6.2 acre Irwell Street site are that Ask:

  • Exchanges an agreement for lease with a foodstore operator under which Ask agrees to construct a foodstore on the land
  • Obtains an acceptable planning permission for the foodstore
  • Secures a purchaser of the foodstore, who will take a lease from the council
  • Secures sufficient funding to cover the costs of construction of the foodstore
  • Secures letters of intent from a building contractor for the construction of the foodstore
  • Any other agreements are obtained with third parties that are required in order to proceed with the development of the foodstore.

Outline planning permission for the demolition of the leisure centre and development of a new foodstore was provided to Ask Developments in October.

A separate application for a foodstore on the site of the First Manchester Bus Depot and Wallwork premises off Derby Way, Bury, was refused on the basis that the development of two new stores would be detrimental to existing trade.

The First Manchester Bus Depot application was submitted by Morbaine and First Manchester.

The planning authority concluded that the two applications were "competing proposals" and considered the combined impact of both proposals.

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Fair play to Ask, a very sweet deal indeed. If there are any other Councils out there wishing to do similar deals then please contact me!

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