Councillors are being advised to knock back a developer’s surprise six-figure bid for Angus sheltered housing which is set to be bulldozed and replaced.
Final preparations are under way to empty Inglis Court in Edzell and replace the 25 homes with 21 new properties after housing chiefs said it had become impossible to let the once-popular flats.
The scheme was significantly modernised as recently as eight years ago but the £3.5m regeneration programme will see the village site cleared and replaced with a mix of one, two and three-bedroom council houses.
Angus housebuilder Mark Guild made the surprise £250,000 offer after questioning the economic wisdom of razing the complex.
Earlier this year, the developer was successful in a court fight to save Forfar’s Lochside leisure centre from demolition and said the Edzell offer was a response to council leader David Fairweather’s statement the authority would not take that battle to the Supreme Court because it had to consider best value for the public purse.
“There is nothing wrong with these houses,” said Mr Guild, who said he would welcome the prospect of the council securing a bigger sum by offering Inglis Court on the open market.
His bid will be discussed by Angus policy and resources committee this week but an official has said a “not for sale” sign should be put up at the site.
Communities director Stewart Ball’s report to councillors states: “The sheltered housing complex was built in 1977 and underwent modernisation in 2012. It was redesignated as retirement housing in 2016.”
“Despite these improvements… demand for housing at Inglis Court fell considerably between 2013 and 2018.”
More than half the homes were empty by the end of 2018.
Councillors will be told there are currently 215 people on the housing list for the Edzell area, the majority (58%) requiring a one-bed property, in common with the Angus-wide profile of housing need.
Mr Ball adds: “In order to determine whether or not the offer represents best value for Angus Council tenants, an assessment has been made of both the financial and non-financial merits of the offer.
“The housing service has confirmed that the asset is currently not surplus to requirements and therefore not available for sale.
“This does not mean that the current building on the site is fit for social housing purposes – it is not.
“A long-standing trend of the accommodation being underutilised, alongside the corresponding loss of rental income, represents a very inefficient use of resources.
“Adopting a “do nothing” approach, regardless of the condition of the building, is simply not an option in terms of either providing best value, or in terms of managing the housing stock efficiently on behalf of rent payers.”