KIM Gottlieb, the 'rebel' councillor who derailed Silver Hill, has bought a GP surgery in the centre of the site for a seven-figure sum, the Chronicle can reveal.
Cllr Gottlieb has purchased St Clements Surgery on Tanner Street at the heart of the redevelopment area and revealed he will pass ownership to a new civic trust, set to be formed.
The Silver Hill scheme, which collapsed earlier this year, is being reconsidered by the city council.
Cllr Gottlieb, a wealthy property developer, secured a self-financed High Court victory earlier this year which derailed the £150 m scheme.
He confirmed the sale to the Chronicle.
In an email he said: "The surgery has been on the market for some time, as have the Friarsgate Surgery and other properties in the immediate vicinity.
"I simply took the opportunity that arose to help shape the future development of the site. Also, I have been able to make the practice's position secure until such time as the new surgery becomes available.
"I have not done this for any profit motive and, in due course, the purchase will be completed in the name of a new civic amenity trust."
The public inquiry into the compulsory purchase orders in 2014 valued the site at £1.8m but Cllr Gottlieb declined to reveal the price.
The purchase ends a period of uncertainty and will allow the St Clements practice to relocate to the new building which the city council is set to build on the car park on the corner of Friarsgate and Upper Brook Street.
Cllr Gottlieb said others were interested in buying the empty Friarsgate practice, currently owned the THRE, the previous developer of Silver Hill. He said: "I believe that there are a number of substantial developers presently looking at it. I am not bidding for it myself. I am, of course, very interested in its future development, particularly because it is sited where the brooks need to be opened up and because as you drive through town it would be the first thing you see of the whole site. "
Council leader Stephen Godfrey welcomed the sale: "We were trying to help the owners resolve their problems. It was one of the issues surrounding the affordability of moving to the new premises we are building for them. It makes it easier for the St Clements practice This sale will bring the modern new building further forward.
St Clements currently has 17,000 registered patients.
Cllr Godfrey said he did not know Cllr Gottlieb's plans but it was too early to give a view should Cllr Gottlieb want to develop the site separately although he said it may create an "awkward situation."
Previously the city council favoured a wholesale redevelopment of the area. But he pointed out that in the past parts had been on their own such as Kings Walk and the Iceland block in the 1970s.
Cllr Godfrey added: "I'm sure Cllr Gottlieb is doing this for the best of motives We will have to see how things pan out to see if that is the reality."