THE owners of Festival Place is believed to have launched a legal challenge against Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council (BDBC) over the planned £300m redevelopment of Basingstoke Leisure Park.

The group of companies, AEW Europe LLP, Trustee 1 FB Limited, Trustee 2 FB Limited, which owns Festival Place, began the proceedings over the procurement process that led to NewRiver REIT Plc becoming the development partner for the redevelopment of the site.

The borough council’s cabinet member for property and finance, Councillor John Izett, said: “I can confirm that the council has received a legal challenge over the procurement process by which we appointed our development partner, which started in 2013. We believe that we have complied with EU procurement regulations and will be strongly defending this challenge.

“The Basingstoke Leisure Park regeneration project is important for the future of our borough, delivering the top class leisure facilities our residents deserve, including a range of new activities and a designer outlet centre. The project would regenerate the popular but ageing leisure park, fully funded by NewRiver Leisure Ltd, without any public investment needed for the redevelopment.

“It would include a brand new Aquadrome, a borough council-owned leisure facility at the leisure park, provided at no cost to the council to rebuild. The outline proposals have generated lots of interest and support at the community drop-in sessions.”

AEW has been contacted for a comment.

Basingstoke and Deane borough councillors were informed about the legal challenge towards the end of last year.

NewRiver REIT Plc signed the development agreement with BDBC in March last year.

In a statement, development director at NewRiver, Jamie Whitfield said: “NewRiver is excited to have been appointed development partner, and we remain committed to delivering this transformational project for residents and visitors alike.”

It is unclear when a decision will be made over the challenge.

A planning application has yet to be submitted for the Leisure Park site, but it is hoped work will begin in 2023.

Public consultation events were held last year.