The restoration of the iconic Sun clock tower in Watford will grind to a halt unless a dispute between the developer and Watford Borough Council can be resolved.
Builder and landlord Stuart Taylor, who has undertaken to convert the locally listed building in Ascot Road into offices, has said the project has stalled over its planned car park.
The parking area drawn up in the original plans, which were agreed with a different developer in 2009, is partly on council land.
When Mr Taylor started to build on the area the council stopped him and threatened legal action.
The result is a stalemate which is threatening to derail the project to restore the dilapidated building to its former glory.
This week Mr Taylor issued a plea to the council to negotiate over the land and said he was ready to come to a compromise.
“Without the car park, the venture won’t work,” he said.
“This car park was not passed correctly. All I am asking now is for us to sit down and negotiate with the council to sell it to me, or lease it.” The planning permission for the car park, which is separate from that of the rest of the build, runs out next month, meaning the clock is ticking on a resolution for the project.
The striking white tower was built in the 1930s by Sun Printing works and was originally a water pumping station.
In recent years the building has fallen into disrepair and Mr Taylor said it had also been the target of vandals in recent months.
Watford Borough Council said it is aware of the planning permission and has been in contact with Mr Taylor over the project.
However, the council said there is a new obstacle to the resolution of car park issue.
Since the Croxley Rail Link was passed, the land next to the clock tower has been earmarked for a new Metropolitan Line station.
The project, which was given Government funding last year, will link Croxley station with Watford Junction by 2016.
At the moment the council has given Mr Taylor time to seek legal advice over the situation.
But the council has warned that if he does not cease his building work on its land and remove the barriers he has put up then legal action will follow.
The council also said Mr Taylor did not seek to purchase the land from the council before he started work on the car park.