17. What happens if a suitable development partner cannot be found?
If there is insufficient interest in the project by developers, or the procurement process does not result in a suitable partner being selected, then the Council will need to decide, in consultation with Homes England, the next steps.
One option that will be considered is that if the enabling infrastructure works (including the canal and basin) have not already been delivered by the Council (see Q6), these works may be undertaken at this stage in order to ‘de-risk’ the site further and make it more viable and attractive as a development proposition.
Ultimately the canal and basin are an important part of the canal reinstatement and will be required to see the completion of this part of the canal project creating a destination and a space for boats to turn round at the winding hole for their return journey back to Saul Junction.
The canal and basin are required to take the site out of the flood plain and no development can take place without this. They are therefore both essential for any future redevelopment of the Port rather than a ‘nice to have’.
The Council may also wait for the market conditions to be right or respond to further funding opportunities to improve the viability of the scheme.