Harborough council uses £920,000 of taxpayers’ money to buy a bungalow - currently valued at £303,000
The council said it is keeping tight-lipped until the full council meeting - but some opposition councillors want answers now
Harborough District Council has forked out £920,000 of taxpayers’ cash for a Market Harborough bungalow currently valued by a top property website at £303,000, it’s emerged.
The council, which has been seriously hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, bought 87 Granville Street, Market Harborough, as it ploughs ahead with a controversial scheme to redevelop Naseby Square.
Local Liberal Democrat councillors are now demanding urgent answers as to why the authority shelled out three times the amount of cash the property is said to be worth.
And the £920,000 bungalow is now poised to be demolished to allow the land to be built on.
Cllr Roger Dunton, who represents the town’s Welland ward, has now put down a question to the full council meeting on Monday (April 26).
“From information provided on public record from the Land Registry Office I see that Harborough District Council are the owners of 87 Granville Street.
“Can I ask the leader of the council, Cllr King, if the District Valuer was involved in this purchase?
“I understand from the information provided that the council paid £920,000 on the 3rd of February 2020,” asks Cllr Dunton.
“Again on a publicly-available website it was valued at £350,000.
“If the answer is ‘yes’ there will be a full and unredacted comment document available.
“If the answer is ‘no’ then why did the council pay almost £600,000 above the going rate?”
He is being backed up by his Liberal Democrat colleague for Welland ward, Cllr Julie Simpson.
Cllr Simpson told the Harborough Mail: “I fully support the submission of Cllr Dunton's question to full council as we are talking here of public money.
“It is not unreasonable to ask the question as to why, on the face of it, the expenditure is larger than would be anticipated for a similar property and details as to why this would be appropriate.”
Asked to put their side of this story, a Harborough council spokesman replied: “A response will be provided to the question at the council meeting on Monday.”
The Mail has obtained a copy of the official Property Register document detailing the council’s purchase of 87 Granville Street on the town’s Southern Estate.
The paperwork, Title Number LT520021, shows that Harborough council paid the occupants of the bungalow £920,000 on August 20, 2019.
According to leading property website Zoopla, 87 Granville Street currently carries an estimated price tag of £303,000.
The bungalow, which sits on a generous plot and also boasts outbuildings, has three bedrooms, two bathrooms and two reception rooms.
It is now set to be demolished by the council after the blueprint to build 38 ‘affordable’ homes on the traditional old people’s complex of Naseby Square got the go-ahead in February after a three-year-battle.
Some 16 bungalows will also be knocked down at Naseby Square after the council sold its own land there to the developers, the Platform Housing Group – which owns the rest of the site.
The scheme to redevelop the elderly people’s beloved housing and community hub – which dates back to the 1950s – has sparked fury and repeated protests in Market Harborough since it first surfaced in 2018.