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Inglis Court to go after bitter words in best value row around former Edzell sheltered housing

Inglis Court is earmarked for demolition.

There is to be no stay of execution for Inglis Court in Edzell.

A bid by Carnoustie councillor David Cheape to suspend the planned demolition of the former sheltered housing complex and replace it with fewer homes was thrown out yesterday.

It saw the issue overshadowed by the handling of Mr Cheape’s motion to full council and a block on Angus developer Mark Guild being allowed to speak to the meeting about the £400,000 offer he made for the houses.

The authority is to spend nearly £4 million on a project to replace the 25 houses with 21 new affordable homes.

Mr Cheape wanted to halt the scheme to secure a full valuation of the site and options appraisal.

Provost’s ruling

Angus Provost Ronnie Proctor ruled the motion incompetent after discussing the issue in private with officials.

He said the increased offer did not constitute the material change Mr Cheape suggested it did.

It prompted claims “democracy is dead” in the district.

Mr Cheape said: “I think I and others have concerns about the ongoing delivery of best value in relation to all manner of council spending.

“Members have not had sufficient information on the value of this site and we’ve now had two offers of significant value to purchase this property as opposed to demolishing and re-developing with less properties.

“I’m completely dissatisfied with the ruling.”

He told the Provost: “The impact of your decision is huge on Inglis Court and the people of Edzell, I hope you understand that.”

Carnoustie Independent Brian Boyd told Mr Proctor: “At the end of the day this is the debating chamber and this is where we find democracy in Angus.

“You can take as much official advice on this as you want but the buck stops with you.

“This is what the people of Angus will remember you for – more a liability than a legacy.”

Brechin and Edzell councillor Kenny Braes said: “As a councillor for the area I was very disappointed the Provost did not allow me to speak when he let others do so.

“I still have huge concerns regarding value for money at Inglis Court.”

Businessman’s vow

Businessman Mr Guild said the ruling will “not be the end.”

He said: “Ronnie Proctor is a really good guy and a very reasonable man.

Mark Guild upped a previous £1/4million offer for Inglis Court to £400,000.

“The words may have come out of his mouth but they were the words of the officials and not his.

“It’s a sad day for Angus – democracy is dead.”

Mr Guild has already reported Montrose councillor Bill Duff to the ethical standards commissioner over comments he made in an earlier debate around the project.

“To ignore the public is one thing, but to ignore elected members and prevent them from debating things is another.

“We have a lot of good elected members but they are not being allowed a voice.”

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