No end in sight for Croylands saga as auction fails to attract sufficient bid
08:58 26 February 2014
Controversial former rectory Croylands failed to meet its reserve price when put up for auction in London on Monday.
The 19th century property, in Cambridge Road, was given a guide price of £650,000 when put under the hammer by specialists Lambert Smith Hampton.
But the building, owned by Cambridgeshire County Council, failed to meet its reserve price - the highest bid was £636,000 - and remained unsold, though the council insists it is locked in negotiations with an interested party.
A spokesman said: “Unfortunately the auction did not reach the reserve placed on the property but negotiations are ongoing to see if a sale can be secured that achieves the best value for tax payers.
“As these negotiations are still ongoing and are commercially sensitive it would be wrong for the council to comment further.”
The news comes as a new blow in the long-running saga surrounding the building, which was left in limbo in January when retirement home specialist McCarthy & Stone pulled out of plans for a 20-home development.
The decision was welcomed by campaigners who, after two years of to-ing and fro-ing, saw East Cambridgeshire District Council’s planning committee refuse 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 with no approval gained, the county council confirmed had to 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.