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Developer won't return reservation fee and deposit back after agreeing to it

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Hi guys, looking for some advice please. 

I've paid about 12k in aug 2021 deposit and reservation fee for a studio flat in Liverpool. After 5 months waiting on updates I started chasing agents and developers. 3 months later they informed me that the council has rejected the plans due to the Nationally Described Space Standard and is required redesigned of the development. All studio flats had to be converted in 1 beds. The difference between studio flat and 1 bed flat was roughly £60k-80k and they required us to pay more deposit of 38k or pull out and receive all money back in 5 months which is today. I've decided to pull out.
3 weeks ago I've emailed to the solicitor whom I paid the deposit asking for updates. His reply was that he's been chasing with developer also and he received a reply from developer property solicitor saying:
"Further in the above matter and below, our client has advised they hope to be in a position to return funds in January 2023."
Me, as an investor I have not been updated by the agent or developer regarding the above statement. 
Today I sent to them an email before action informing them that today is the day of payment and I'm not willing to wait any other minute more.
I'm sure they won't pay. If they do not return the money, what are my options, complain to the estate agents ombudsman, start court procedures?  

Any thoughts or advice gratefully received



Edited by Cristina Flavia
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