Retirement home specialist McCarthy and Stone appears to have abandoned its plans for Croylands as Cambridgeshire County Council this week announced it would be putting the property back on the market.

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Campaigners struck a telling blow in December as, after two years of to-ing and fro-ing, East Cambridgeshire District Council’s planning committee was left with no option but to refuse planning permission for the Cambridge Road site.

The application, councillors agreed, represented an over development of the site, did not cater sufficiently for affordable housing and did not satisfactorily address issues around the protection of the great crested newt.

It came to light during the planning process that the county council had entered into a contract with McCarthy & Stone, whereby it would agree to sell the building to the developer upon planning approval.

But, when approached this week, the county council confirmed it had put the building back on the open market.

The price agreed between the county council and McCarthy and Stone for the building looks set to remain a mystery, however, despite repeated Freedom of Information Act requests from campaigners.

A spokesman said: “The contract with McCarthy and Stone terminated on December 24, 2013. We have arranged with Lambert Smith Hampton to include Croylands in their next property auction on the February 24, 2014.

“The aim for the council has and continues to be to get the best possible return for the tax payers and community we serve.”

Despite repeated requests for comment, McCarthy and Stone had failed to respond to the Ely Standard at the time of going to press.

All enquiries regarding the auction should be made to the auctioneers Lambert Smith Hampton on 01223 276336

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