Weymouth North Quay: Developer vows to buy offices
A developer locked in a dispute over the purchase of a former municipal building has unveiled plans for the site, despite the council saying the deal is off.
Acorn launched legal action against Weymouth & Portland Borough Council after its purchase of the authority's North Quay building fell through.
The council is also seeking to recoup costs from Acorn for the failed sale.
Despite the dispute, Acorn said it had "committed to complete the purchase".
However, the council reiterated it was "no longer engaged in a process to sell the building to them".
The dispute centres on claims by Acorn that the council gave assurances planning permission would be granted to convert the building to apartments, avoiding demolition.
The developer said, after contracts were exchanged, the authority informed it the building was "sui generis" - or one of a kind - meaning it could only be used for the purpose for which it was built.
The council, which is spending about £10,000 a month maintaining the block, said it was Acorn's responsibility to establish key details before exchanging contracts.
Last month the council ended its contract with Acorn's subsidiary, North Quay Weymouth Ltd, after it failed to complete by the July deadline.
Releasing images of the plans, Acorn said it was now committed to complete by March 2018 and would move ahead "as fast as possible" on the scheme to convert the offices and build two new blocks, creating 108 apartments.
But the council said it had left Acorn "in no doubt" the North Quay contract had been rescinded, adding it had "lost all confidence" in its "willingness and ability" to complete the purchase.
Acorn said it still hoped to proceed with the development but demolishing the "structurally sound" 3,500 sq m building would increase the scheme's environmental impact and raise costs.