A botched attempt at redeveloping an industrial estate in Newbury cost taxpayers almost £1 million and West Berkshire Council has revealed how that money was spent.

The project to redevelop London Road Industrial Estate is back on track and on November 19 the council approved plans to publish a development brief, which will guide the next steps.

But in 2018, it suffered a major setback when the Court of Appeal ruled the council had breached EU law by failing to follow the correct procurement process when it appointed St Modwen Plc as the developer.

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The council spent £555,000 on legal fees and £160,000 on property consultancy fees.

It also paid the developer £175,000 before the court ruling and paid an accountancy firm £53,000 for advice on property valuations.

The Conservative-run council is now keen to move on from that expensive mistake and push ahead with the redevelopment of the 27.5 acre industrial estate.

It can now look to hire a developer to prepare a detailed planning application after publishing the development brief, that has been drawn up by consultants at Avison Young.

Cllr Ross Mackinnon, executive member for finance, said: “It represents the next step on the journey towards the regeneration of this site.

“It’s going to revamp and transform the eastern approach to Newbury town centre.

“It’s going to attract business, enterprise and residents to what is going to be a high-quality and first-class residential, office and business development.

“Things are progressing nicely.”

The brief says up to 544 homes, 6,023 sqm of office space and 6,690 sqm of space for other businesses could be built on the site as part of one comprehensive development.

It says the council could construct 280 homes, 3,473 sqm of office space and 5,400 sqm of space for other businesses if it develops the site in phases.

The council owns the majority of the estate but several businesses have signed long-term leases and the brief says this could “curtail its ability to deliver new development”.

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Cllr Mackinnon has said the council will only use compulsory purchase orders – to obtain property without the consent of the leaseholders – as “an absolute last resort”.

All of the decisions which were made before the council ended up in court have been scrutinised by a task group made up of five councillors.

In a report, they criticised the council for taking “a piecemeal approach”, failing to use “proper project management methodology”, not keeping adequate records and failing to draw up a detailed business case for the project.

But they also said there is no evidence to suggest the council intended to act unlawfully and it “acted reasonably having taken expert advice” from advisers.