New homes will be built on a plot of land in Arnold which has been linked to severe flooding, after a decision was made to sell the land to developers.
After the county council chose a preferred developer, those housebuilders carried out checks on the land, which has now resulted in a lower price being negotiated.
Details of the price developers will pay has not been disclosed, nor has the amount knocked off the price.
The Rolleston Drive site has a long and complex history, and has consistently found itself at the centre of political rows.
Formerly a council depot, it was left derelict and targeted by vandals, before a major fire in 2017 gutted what was left of the buildings.
After that, it was concreted over with a slope, which nearby residents said caused water to ‘cascade’ down and exacerbate flooding.
As well as being an ‘eyesore’, the land has also been contentious, with Labour leaders in Gedling saying the Conservative-controlled county council was ‘dragging its heels’ over addressing the flooding.
Meanwhile, the Conservatives say Labour ‘did nothing’ with the site when they ran the county council up until 2017.
Now, Labour councillors who represent the area say they weren’t given all the facts about the sale before the decision was made.
Today (Wednesday, September 30), Nottinghamshire County Council – which is currently run by a Conservative coalition – voted to sell the land to developers.
But details about the price – and the reduction in price – which would usually have been shared with the local councillors, were not made available to the councillors for the area until after the meeting.
Michael Payne is the Labour councillor for the area where the new homes will be built.
He said: “I seriously hope that today’s decision means we’re now going to see some very real and visible progress, and put the site into some use after years of dither and delay by the county council on this issue.
“But ultimately, not sharing all the information with us about the sale, and how much they have reduced it by, shows a complete lack of respect for the residents.
“It has meant we were not able to express our direct views to the county council, ahead of the decision on behalf of the people we represent, for whom this site has been an ongoing nuisance for years and an eyesore in the community.”
Conservative councillor Chris Barnfather told the meeting today: “I’m very pleased to see this (development).
“The site has been a bone of contention for the local community for some time now.
“As an Arnold lad myself I used to walk past the old county workshops on my way to school. As a teenager, I walked past it with a girlfriend. As a young police officer I used to take Panda cars there to be serviced, but the site had long since fallen into disrepute and ill repair.
“Indeed under the last administration (when the county council was run by Labour) it sat and festered for four years with nothing at all happening to it.
“Then, of course, we had the fire. This administration acted swiftly to demolish the dilapidated buildings and make the site safe.
“Nonetheless it’s still been an eyesore for local residents.
“There were some flooding issues for local residents at the bottom of the site, and although ultimately they were found not to be as a result of this site directly, the very fact it sat there was clearly a blight on this community.”
A council report said: “The site had been openly marketed for sale for residential development in autumn 2019 with several offers being received on a like for like basis, all being conditional upon ground conditions (contamination and abnormal foundation depth), the grant of planning permission and Section 106 contributions.
“The cost of these would be deductible from the purchase price.
“The proposed purchaser has now completed their intrusive investigations into the site conditions and other abnormal factors as per the conditions of tender.
“These proposed additional works and costs have been studied by the council’s consultant advisers with the result that the purchase price has now been negotiated to a figure below that for which delegation was previously approved by committee so this report now seeks approval to proceed with the sale to the preferred bidder on the terms as set out in the exempt appendix to this report.”
The exact price paid, and the discount agreed, has not been disclosed by the county council, on the grounds of commercial sensitivity, but the county council said it was a ‘significant receipt’.