THE developer behind the controversial Silver Hill scheme is set to take the troubled project back to court.

TIAA Henderson Real Estate will appeal a High Court ruling which said civic chiefs' acted unlawfully over the city centre development.

The city centre development was thrown into turmoil last month when Mrs Justice Lang ruled that Winchester City Council unlawfully kept the city centre development from public tender when it allowed Henderson to drop a bus station and affordable flats.

It came after a judicial review was brought by city councillor Kim Gottlieb.

In a statement, a Henderson spokesman said: “After careful consideration, and having taken appropriate legal advice, TIAA Henderson Real Estate has decided to instruct its lawyers to seek leave to appeal the judicial review decision.

“We were surprised and disappointed by the decision, having sought and complied with legal advice throughout the process.

“We remain committed to the proposed development which we believe is the most viable option for Winchester. The change requests stemmed from a thorough review of the Silver Hill site, and engagement with many local stakeholders, including Winchester City Council and Cllr Gottlieb himself.

“We will continue to listen to all stakeholders and welcome further feedback which might improve the scheme and bring forward this much needed regeneration of the Silver Hill area."

The city council decided not to appeal on Tuesday after almost two hours of private debate.

The legal advice given behind closed doors will now not be published until Henderson's appeal proceedings are finished.

In an email to councillors, the group added: “Like the council, we have taken independent legal advice throughout this process and only pursued the alterations to the consented scheme on the basis of that advice. The court judgement was therefore both surprising and disappointing.

“It is important that none of us lose sight of how much support exists within Winchester for the regeneration of Silver Hill.

"We must also not lose sight of the urgent need to bring forward a financially viable scheme to regenerate this part of the city centre in order to maintain the city’s status as a thriving county town.

“As a company we remain committed to working with the council to secure the regeneration of Winchester city centre.”