A mixed use of retail, leisure and housing could take shape where Tesco had planned to build its superstore in Sleaford.
This is the regeneration plan now being developed by North Kesteven District Council, which has confirmed it has already been in touch with other developers.
With the withdrawal of plans for a Tesco superstore on the former Advanta Seeds site off Southgate, the council is to embark on fresh community consultation.
Chief executive Ian Fytche explained: “The announcement that Tesco was to withdraw came out of the blue, but they are keen to work with us to achieve the wider Sleaford regeneration aims.”
Over the next six to eight months they will be talking with all parties over the future of the site. He and council leader Coun Marion Brighton said they saw this as a ‘golden opportunity’ to rethink all options. This includes the alignment or need for a link road, depending on where funding may come from, along with the future of Southgate level crossing, although the authority said this was very much in Network Rail’s hands.
Throughout, the compulsory purchase process for land for the link road remains ‘live’, but is on hold pending the review, they said.
Mr Fytche said a lot of the ground work remains valid, adding that plans for developing the 4.64-hectare town centre site and the CPO process had all been funded by Tesco.
He said: “There is a degree of momentum and goodwill to try and find the right way forward.” He said the authority had already spoken to a couple of interested developers - but would not go any further.
And although he would not be drawn on an exact time scale - it was envisaged two to three years to construction.
Coun Brighton said: “These new circumstances open up a fresh opportunity to look again at all options to ensure the Maltings regeneration is viable and able to move forward. Our ultimate objective is to protect the Maltings and promote its future and we must now find a new route to achieving this. We effectively have a blank sheet and want to hear the thoughts of the wider town for moving the regeneration on.”
The council will press ahead with regeneration around the Corn Exchange and the new car park in the south of the town.
A spokesman for Avant Homes (developers of the Maltings) said the Maltings building consent restricts the occupation of a number of the buildings until the new road is complete: “We therefore expect the progress of the redevelopment of the Maltings to be delayed until the position over the new road and bridge is clarified.”