Liverpool Council begins legal action over £200m Chinatown plan

Image source, North Point Global
Image caption,
The council is demanding payment of almost £1m it says the Chinatown Development Company Ltd owes

Liverpool City Council has begun legal action against a company involved in a failed £200m regeneration scheme.

The New Chinatown scheme aimed to build 790 homes, a hotel, and shops near the Anglican Cathedral but stalled in 2016.

The council has demanded Chinatown Development Company Ltd (CDC) forfeits two leases on the site and pays £950,000.

CDC will "vigorously" defend itself against the proceedings, a company statement said.

Deputy Mayor of Liverpool Ann O'Byrne said marketing the site to a new buyer is "unviable" and the council's "position has hardened in light of new legal advice and financial information".

If payment is not received by 10 August the council will apply to wind up the company and recuperate the money via a court appointed liquidator, a council spokesman added.

CDC said in a statement that the relationship between the company and the council "has broken down".

Image caption,
The derelict site lies close to Liverpool's Anglican Cathedral

It said that "it can only be considered that this conduct is motivated by malice or some other political agenda".

The council "are aware CDC have been in negotiation for the sale of the whole site with various parties" but "seem determined to make this process as difficult as possible to progress", the company added.

In the summer of 2016 the sales agent was accused of fraud in Hong Kong, a statement from the council said.

Following that, the statement claimed that CDC failed to make two staged payments to the council of £475,000.

CDC asserted in its statement that it "has no interest" in the sales agent, which was "solely a commission based selling agent".

Image source, North Point Global
Image caption,
The redevelopment plans were announced in July 2015

The scheme aimed to build on a derelict site at Great George Street, near the Anglican Cathedral.

The council had considered using a compulsory purchase order but it decided at a cabinet meeting on Friday to start legal action instead.

Cllr O'Byrne said the authority remains "committed to the redevelopment of the site" and will seek "a quick resolution to get the scheme back on track" if a liquidator is appointed.

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