John Lewis deal worth less than hoped for Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council

An artist’s impression of the planned new John Lewis at home amd Waitrose store, in Basing View

An artist’s impression of the planned new John Lewis at home amd Waitrose store, in Basing View

First published in News Basingstoke Gazette: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A SCHEME to deliver a new John Lewis at home and Waitrose store in Basing View is set to generate less money than expected for Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council.

As part of the deal to bring the store to the town, the John Lewis Partnership agreed a figure with Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council and the council’s Basing View development partner, Muse Developments, to build the store.

As part of the agreement, council-owned land needed for the John Lewis at home and Waitrose combined store will be sold to the John Lewis Partnership on a long-term lease of 150 years.

The site includes a car park, the land on which the former Poison pub stood, and a vacant plot of land which was a site of a former gasworks. This deal is set to generate at least £2.4million for the council.

But council leader Councillor Clive Sanders has now told The Gazette that the figure that will be realised is less than was originally hoped for, because the overall cost to deliver the project has increased – and any additional funding needed to cover construction costs will have to be taken from the proceeds of the sale of the land.

The Gazette has not been told how much the borough council originally planned to make, as this is deemed to be confidential information.

However, if any savings are made during the construction of the store, this money will be split between the borough council and Muse.

Cllr Sanders, told The Gazette that the £2.4m figure is “just under what we were hoping for”.

He added: “When you do the original estimate, you don’t know what is in the ground and what utility providers have got underneath. There is not much we could have done about it.”

The landmark store is a key part of the £200m project to regenerate Basing View.

Muse has been responsible for tendering contracts for the construction of the site and, in partnership with the borough council, the purchase and demolition of the Poison pub.

Members of the borough council’s cabinet are being asked to approve the £2.4m figure from the deal at a meeting on Tuesday.

If approved, the contract between the two partners will become unconditional, and construction work on the landmark store – only the second of its kind in the country – could begin in mid-July.

The John Lewis combined store – which will deliver 330 new jobs – is scheduled to open next Autumn if everything goes according to plan.

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