TODAY is D-Day for the long-awaited redevelopment of the most prestigious location in Doncaster.
Councillors meet at the Mansion House today to decide whose bid to accept for the 8.85 acres of prime residential land at the former Belle Vue football ground.
But it could be another couple of weeks before the identity of the successful bidder is made public.
The site, off Bawtry Road, which was vacated in 2006 by Doncaster Rovers when they moved to the Keepmoat Stadium, was placed on the market nine months ago.
Its sale will provide a major boost to council coffers as it seeks to realise capital assets in the face of Government funding cutbacks.
Despite the recession and depressed housing market, there has been considerable interest in the land because of its superb location, opposite the Racecourse and on the main route into Doncaster from the south. It will not include shops or offices.
Initial plans drawn up in 2008 for high-rise apartment blocks were put on hold because of the falling market and opposition from people living in Belle Vue.
The land is in the shared ownership of Doncaster Council and the former Rovers owners, Westferry Ltd, whose holding company, DRFC Ltd, still has a lease with more than 50 years to run. The parties agreed earlier this year the best way forward was a joint marketing exercise.
Since the stands were demolished for public safety the site has become a derelict eyesore and people have been wondering when a transformation project would get underway.
It is understood none of the houses to be built on the estate will be more than three storeys in height.
The winning bid should be decided at today’s Mansion House meeting but it will then be subject to a 10-day ‘call-in’ period in case any of the losing bidders want to contest the result.
Mayor of Doncaster Peter Davies said last night: “Cabinet will be considering a report which could see the approval of a preferred bidder to purchase and redevelop the prime Belle Vue site.
“It is pleasing to see continued interest from developers looking to invest in Doncaster despite the national economic conditions.”
Mike Clynch, agent for Westferry, said: “The site was tendered and the terms of an agreement and the preferred bidder should be finally reported to the cabinet and that will complete the process as far as we’re concerned.”