A row over the proposed demolition of a former Angus sheltered housing complex has taken a step further, with one councillor claiming the building has been “hugely undervalued”.
In 2018 councillors decided the 24 one-bedroom flats and three-bedroom house at Inglis Court in Edzell would be demolished.
However the decision has proven controversial, with questions raised since about the valuation of the properties, as well as environmental considerations.
Councillors previously backed a £3.5 million regeneration project, which would see 21 properties built on the site.
Brechin and Edzell SNP councillor Kenny Braes has since claimed that the true value of the existing properties, the cost of the brownfield land the new development would be built on, along with the rebuild, would total more than £5m.
Mr Braes said: “The original council assessment of the value of Inglis Court appeared to be around £200,000, for 24 one-bedroom flats and a three-bedroom house.
‘Flats valued at nothing’
“It was only after we received reports showing that the properties were in very good condition, with no structural faults and meeting all the required standards.
“Then I started to look at it a bit more and the figure of £200,000 for 24 flats and a house – well the house is worth nearly that on its own. So 24 flats are then valued at nothing, pretty much.
“I had a look on local property websites and I can’t see any one-bedroom ex-council flats available for £40,000 or less.
“Three-bedroom ex-council houses generally are advertised at £120,000 or more, so I’ve no reason to believe those properties are worth any less. It appears the properties have been hugely undervalued.
‘Huge environmental consideration’
“It just doesn’t seem to me to be value for money, or environmentally. The carbon it would use to knock down the flats and rebuild is about 10 times what it would be to refurbish. So a huge environmental consideration there.”
Mr Braes said that the Inglis Court properties could have a “long life” ahead and noted that as well as the SNP group, independent councillors David Cheape and Lois Speed, and Conservative and Unionist member Gavin Nicol also backed a review into the matter.
He added: “We certainly want the reopening as sheltered housing to be considered in a full review, but there are other options such as selling it on the open market.
“If we choose not to demolish it, there wouldn’t need to be a massive hurry to sell it as quickly as possible because we won’t need the site for rebuilding on.
“Even if they’re not refurbished they can be sold as is. There’s nowhere else really you can buy a flat for £40,000 in a nice enough village like Edzell.”
In June, Carnoustie councillor David Cheape tried to raise a motion, in an attempt to halt the scheme to secure a full valuation of the site and options appraisal.
However, Angus Provost Ronnie Proctor ruled the motion incompetent after discussing the issue in private with officials.
Mr Proctor declined to comment on the matter this week, on grounds of impartiality.
He said his company Guild Homes would look to upgrade the existing houses and then work with a sheltered housing or retirement housing provider to run the complex.
An Angus Council spokeswoman said: “The matter is subject to a report coming to committee after the summer recess”.