AT least three developers are now thought to be interested in the Willow Court oval. A prime site on the corner of George St and The Avenue, the sportsground and adjoining buildings have been on the Derwent Valley Council’s disposal list for nearly a decade. A loosening of heritage restrictions on the precinct is understood to have made the property more attractive to developers.
The council has been in secret negotiations to sell the property to a supermarket developer, but this process is likely to be cancelled when a special closed council meeting is held on Monday night. It is believed that a rival supermarket developer is waiting in the wings, along with a major hardware chain. It is understood threats of legal action were made when it was learned a sale was being negotiated without there being a public process of expressions of interest, tenders, or real estate advertising to let potential purchasers know that the property was for sale with less stringent heritage requirements than was previously the case.
It is not clear whether the parcel of land in question includes the only remaining car-parking area on the Willow Court site. All other parking areas, along with some roads and footpaths, were sold to private developers some years ago. This matter went unanswered when raised by Councillor Damian Bester at last month’s council meeting.