Barratt buys Brent's Brighton parcel

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BARRATT Developments has bought a parcel of land at Brighton Marina from Brent Walker, allowing the companies to settle a two-year-old dispute that has halted residential development there, writes Heather Connon.

The dispute is believed to have arisen because of a disagreement over the price at which completed homes should be marketed following the slump in the housing market. The two sides went to arbitration and yesterday's purchase means that marketing of the 30 completed homes has re-started and Barratt will shortly start work on the remaining land.

The price was not disclosed and no one was available at Brent Walker to comment on whether it had suffered a loss on the deal. Brighton Marina was one of the flagship developments devised by George Walker, Brent Walker's chairman and founder, in its 1980s heyday. However, the collapse of the market - and almost of Brent Walker itself under the weight of the borrowings taken on to finance such schemes - mean that the plans have been scaled back.

The village square, with offices, retail and residential space, has been completed but it may be years before other phases are begun. But the slump has brought bargains for homeowners. Apartments can be picked up for between pounds 105,000 and pounds 160,000. Two years ago, they cost between pounds 159,000 and pounds 195,000.