2010 – East Herts District Council own property assets at the Causeway comprising Charringtons House office block; the adjacent offices (now demolished); the Causeway car park; and 1, 2 and 3 Old River Lane – three houses with tenants.
2010 – The District Council sell all this property, estimated to be worth £9.9m, for £6.25m to Henderson Global Investors, to take forward a development strategy.
2011 – Henderson receive outline planning permission for a new department store; 35 shops, restaurants; a digital cinema, a hotel, 670 parking spaces and 100 new residential units.
2015 – The District Council spend £19.55m buying back Henderson’s enhanced holdings. The council argue the deal makes sense because rents and other incomes mean the site could generate a return on the investment of 5 to 6 per cent.
2017 – After a competitive tender process, the council appoint Cityheart Ltd as its preferred developer for the ‘main’ Old River Lane site.
2018 – The statutory District Plan is adopted, including the policy allocation of Old River Lane as a major development site (Policy BISH 8)
2019 – Old River Lane is split into two: the ‘main development’ to be led by Cityheart; and the ‘arts centre development’ to be led directly by East Herts Councillors and property managers.
2019 – East Herts Council buy the Water Lane Hall from the United Reformed Church.
2019 – The arts centre vision is announced, based on a 500 seat, fully specified theatre.
2020, The theatre-based arts centre concept abandoned as not being viable. It is replaced with an arts centre vision based on a five-screen cinema.
2021 – The District Council’s property service consulted the public on whether they would like a cinema, and what kind of seats they would prefer.
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