DETAILS of a secret land deal to allow Winchester City Council to push ahead with a major regeneration scheme have been revealed.

First reported in August, the authority has now confirmed the deal has been completed to buy a number of key sites for the Silver Hill 2 scheme, officially known as the Central Winchester Regeneration project.

Civic chiefs said at the time they were unable to reveal details due to ongoing sensitive negotiations.

Speaking to the Chronicle, council leader Cllr Caroline Horrill said they have bought the former Friarsgate Medical Centre, currently vacant, as well as a number of units on The Broadway, from developer THRE in a deal believed to be worth £10m.

As previously reported, THRE, then known as Hendersons, was in partnership with the city council when the first Silver Hill scheme collapsed in 2016.

Cllr Horrill said it was good to finally “draw a line” between the city council and THRE, with this deal removing the last remaining link between the two parties.

She said: “I think the reality is it has certainly, for some of my predecessors, been a very difficult time. It was clearly not meant to be.”

Cllr Horrill said the deal will allow the city council to renovate the units on The Broadway, which include restaurants Gandhi, Palm Pan Asia and Subway; bookmakers Coral; and the vacant unit next door – and all would be able to stay in their units.

She added that the Friarsgate site could become a park area, with Winchester’s underground waterways opened up.

As previously reported, rebel councillor Kim Gottlieb, who took the council to court over the original plans, said in August: “The proposed acquisition of the Friarsgate surgery by the council is something I am happy to support.

“It is a prominent part of the Central Winchester Regeneration area, and its future needs to be considered within the context of a master plan for the whole site. The purchase would bring THRE’s eight-year involvement in this project to an end.”

Cllr Gottlieb added: “Their continued interest in the site, and the way in which the council preserved the original planning permission, kept alive the possibility that a development scheme that was deeply flawed might be resuscitated.

“The council should spare a thought, and possibly a thank you, for those many residents who by resisting the Henderson scheme created the opportunity for the council to make sure that, this time, the development of the site really is devised in the best interests of the city.”

As previously reported, the deal follows a team of experts, who were called to look at the council after the Silver Hill fiasco, saying the authority has been making good progress.