Step forward along Derwent Forest development trail

The local authority owners of the 1,000-acre Derwent Forest in West Cumbria will begin formal marketing of the site for sale to a leisure developer in December.

DTZ is retained to find a suitable developer to transform the former military site into a tourist attraction.

Allerdale Borough Council and Cumbria County Council bought the site from the Ministry of Defence for £1 in August 2008. The North West Development Agency has committed £1.4m to pay for maintenance, security costs and marketing of the site for development. Funding is available until March 2012.

Profits from the sale will be split 50:50 between the MoD and the councils, with the NWDA entitled to recover its contribution.

The marketing process falls outside the usual legal restrictions of the European Union procurement process as it is a land sale. DTZ said this makes it far more flexible and attractive to potential buyers, who are always keen to avoid the costs, tight regulations and resource implications of an OJEU competitive dialogue process.

Tim Claxton, DTZ's strategic development director, said: "Derwent Forest represents a rare opportunity to develop a quality leisure based scheme overlooking the world famous Lake District. The landowners will be encouraging comprehensive proposals for the whole site recognising that the real opportunity here lies in the site's size."

The preferred development should be selected by the end of 2010. This recommendation would need to be approved by both councils and a formal application would need to obtain usual planning approval.

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