Two charities have blamed council "dithering" and "political prevarication" for the collapse of a million-pound plus community centre to help vulnerable people.
Chapter 1 and Shekinah Mission had been working with Torbay Council to create the Rooute Centre, on Lymington Road, for a number of years.
But the charities said yesterday that they would be vacating the site in a matter of weeks after the council refused them a longer lease – making in unviable.
The centre had been designed to house a range of employment, education and training initiatives for local people including, but not exclusively for, those who are disadvantaged.
In a joint statement titled "Torbay community enterprise centre plans fall victim to political prevarication", Geoff Hawkins, chief executive of Chapter 1 and John Hamblin, chief executive of Shekinah Mission, said: "It is with regret that we confirm the proposed Torbay Rooute Centre will not go ahead.
"Torbay Council has not granted Chapter 1's request for a longer lease on the land and, without this agreement, it is no longer a viable investment for us.
"This is a sad day for us. When we unveiled the plans in 2010 we were confident we could deliver an innovative and vibrant community enterprise facility which would have benefited the people of Torbay.
"It was a long-term project, underscoring our deep commitment to Torbay and our confidence in its future.
"Chapter 1 was prepared to make a significant investment from its own resources – £1.5 million, more than half the estimated total cost of the scheme.
"In return we asked the council for a longer lease on the site of just 40 years, instead of the 21 years first agreed when we had only been asked to invest £500,000.
"Time was of the essence as the European Regional Development Fund funding of £500,000 for the project required the building to be completed by March 2015.
"The council knew of these obligations and we expected a decision on our request by the end of July. We finally received an answer yesterday, 8 October."
They said the project had been "beset by hold-ups and delays against a background of deepening economic recession".
It included "dithering by the council over the CCTV control centre and whether it would be part of the Rooute Centre" and "an unexpected and late decision by the council to withdraw an investment facility of £12 million for Chapter 1."
The chief executives added: "Throughout all of this we remained committed to the project but in the end time ran out."
They said the decision "in no way impacts on any of our other projects in the area".
A Torbay Council spokesman said: "The project has changed significantly since it was first conceived three years ago, and there was concern that the recent proposals do not provide sufficient guarantees that the facility will support local priorities; and in light of budget pressures and future uncertainty, the administration has decided not to grant a 40 year lease.
"This decision has not been taken lightly"