Housebuilder in discussions with Poole council over planning for crucial 2.5 ha of waterside land.
Housebuilder Bryant Homes is in talks with Poole council to develop the heart of a £350m regeneration scheme.

If the discussions are successful, Bryant, which is now owned by Taylor Woodrow, will submit a planning application for a plum 2.5 ha of harbourside land by the end of the year.

If the scheme goes ahead, Bryant will create a public open space on the prime waterside site. This would be the centrepiece of a mixed-use masterplan by Bournemouth-based architect Terence O'Rourke.

The masterplan covers 50 ha and includes 2800 homes. Its main strategic aim is to link Poole town centre to its Hamworthy suburb. The two areas, which are separated by water, are only connected by a single road bridge. The government has committed £14.4m to build a second bridge.

The council believes the Bryant scheme is vital for the project's success, as it is likely to be the masterplan's first significant application for planning permission.

The land is also believed to be the most expensive in the scheme.

Although Bryant does not yet own the site, it has beat off Berkeley Homes to become preferred bidder for it. It is owned by a consortium of four local landowners.

Planners hope that Bryant will also sign up to a joint venture agreement with the council and other landowners in the area, such as boat-builder Sunseeker International Boats. The joint venture would act as client for the regeneration and would involve require Bryant to invest in the area.

A council source added: "We are negotiating with Bryant on planning obligations. Bryant will be asked to sign up to the objectives of the masterplan, even if it does not join the council's consortium."

At the end of last month, lawyer Eversheds was appointed by the council to help with the joint-venture agreement.

Poole council's strategic planning officer Nigel Jacobs said: "Eversheds is advising on details of the joint venture mechanism and is advising us on our options. It is at a precontract stage."

Planning adviser GVA Grimley and financial adviser Abros have also been appointed to calculate likely costs and funding methods.