North Place, Cheltenham housing plans in disarray
PLANS to build more than 100 homes in the centre of Cheltenham are in disarray after the developer announced it is not going ahead with the scheme.
Skanska, which received planning permission earlier this year to build 143 homes in North Place and Portland Street, has decided to halt its residential development in the UK.
The homes are part of a multi-million pound scheme which includes a new Morrisons supermarket and a 642-space five-storey car park.
Jeremy Williamson, the managing director of Cheltenham Development Task Force, said he was confident another developer would come forward.
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He said: "I am sure the site will be of interest of others.
"If they are going to change the details, then it could go back to planning.
"It will depend on the extent of the changes. It will be a housing site."
The scheme, which includes 57 affordable homes, has been in planning for more than four years.
But the Scandinavian company said it would no longer be developing the site and is looking to sell the land.
A spokesman for Skanska said: "Skanska UK is proposing to reduce its investment in the consumer-facing residential development market.
"The business views that there are other markets in the UK that will provide the level of return that Skanska's shareholders want to see from its investment capital.
"Skanska will complete its development at Seven Acres in Cambridge, but has no plans to break ground on any further developments of its own for the foreseeable future."
She added: "Skanska will be divesting its land bank, but we do not have any details for specific pieces of land at this time."
It will now turn its focus to infrastructure, commercial development and the construction sector.
The other plans will not be affected by Skanska's withdrawal.
Mr Williamson said that the company's next move was yet to be revealed.
"Nobody is quite sure what approach Skanska is going to be taking, and until they show their hand, it's going to be quite difficult to know," he said.
"All we can do is sit and wait.
"It (Skanska) came in with a lot of fanfare.
"They were really into the housing market and have been very successful in Scandinavia."
When the plans were first submitted in December last year, Cheltenham Civic Society said more could be done to make the houses more attractive.
Douglas Ogle, chairman of the society, said: "This comes as a bit of a surprise.
"It was certainly unexpected.
"It's a major site and we hope any developers taking over will make this something worthwhile."
He added: "It is regrettable there is not a development happening as soon as possible, but maybe any new developers could meet the standards we were looking for."