September 16 2014 Latest news:
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
The future of Croylands, in Ely, might have been settled this week after Cambridgeshire County Council agreed to sell to a private buyer.
The county council’s cabinet agreed on Tuesday that an unconditional offer made by a private buyer to turn the 19th century former rectory into a family home was the best way forward.
The decision came after the Cambridge Road building failed to reach its £650,000 reserve price at auction last month, forcing the county council to invite interested parties to enter best and final offers.
Four unconditional offers were made, alongside two which were conditional on planning permission being granted.
After considering all the offers, county council officers narrowed them down to one higher offer for a 12,000sq ft care home – conditional on planning permission – and a second, lower but unconditional offer, for a family home.
A report into the sale said: “The conditional offer is the highest offer but is more uncertain as planning permission is needed and it is not unreasonable to suggest that this might take up to a year to achieve.
“There is also a risk that planning permission might not be granted. The council would continue to bear running costs of holding the property in the meantime and the property condition is likely to deteriorate further as it is unused and not heated.”
Earlier this year, developer McCarthy & Stone withdrew its offer to build 20 retirement flats at Croylands after it was refused planning permission.
Roger Moore, head of strategic management at the county council, said that, given the long-running planning row about that application, it would be more prudent to accept the unconditional offer.
He said: “The council’s selling agents are of the opinion that the property has been exhaustively marketed and that a best value sale, in this instance, would be effected by accepting an unconditional offer.”