Questions are being asked abA piece of derelict land in Leyland was sold by the council to a property developer for just £1.out the controversial deal – after claims that South Ribble Council had been offered £10,000 for it.The piece of land on St Andrew’s Way has now been redeveloped by Bedfordshire-based Kier Living providing 18 new homes.South Ribble Labour councillor Matthew Tomlinson told the Guardian: “The piece of land is on St Andrew’s Way, next to Tesco.”He said he believed it had a value of around £150,000/£160,000.“There are houses on there with a market value of whatever it is – and we sold it for £1.”South Ribble Council says that the deal was done because the brownfield site was contaminated land, and it would have required costly and complex works to make it ready for development.A council spokesman added that the land had been appraised by independent experts before the sale.Councillor Tomlinson, who is also a Lancashire county councillor, said the Labour Group put forward their £10,000 bid after it was known the site was contaminated, but this was rejected.Councillor Paul Foster, leader of the Labour group on the council, said: “We fought for that tooth and nail. We fully disagree witb the proposals and modelling.“We even put forward proposals where the council could have bought it and built on it themselves. “How anybody can tell me a prime piece of real estate in the centre of Leyland is worth a quid is having a laugh.”The Labour leader said the developer Kier Living posted a profit of £29m last year.
A spokesman for South Ribble Council said: “The council took an exempt, confidential report to its cabinet in January 2017 regarding the sale of a piece of land that has remained derelict for a number of years in Leyland. “The land in question was an ex-industrial brownfield site, and required a significant amount of remediation works before it could be considered for development as affordable housing. “The value of the land was agreed following a detailed development appraisal – which reflected, among many issues, significant remediation costs that were required. “The land deal was independently appraised by independent, external experts. “Approval was granted for the sale following detailed discussions with both the Cabinet and the Leader of the Opposition at the time of disposal. The land in question has subsequently been developed, delivering 18 quality, energy-efficient, affordable rent housing units. “These homes have contributed to meeting the significant demand for such units within the borough. “The cost of construction of these homes was also given significant financial support by a Government agency through its Affordable Home Building programmes.“The council will continue to utilise its land assets to enhance the area and facilitate the delivery of much needed housing in the borough, where it is required and appropriate, always seeking maximum value for money for the residents of South Ribble.”