Montrose’s Inch pavilion and bowling green is set to be offloaded by Angus Council – but not to the highest bidder.
It prompted a councillor walkout at a meeting to discuss the disposal of the common good asset.
Town Independent Tommy Stewart said it was wrong to keep the public in the dark.
But authority legal chief Jackie Buchanan told members it was protocol for such financial decisions to be dealt with in private.
And the public will learn the full details of the deal in a community consultation which must take place.
Under common good rules, any deal must also be approved by the courts.
Surplus to council requirements
The bowling green and pavilion were declared surplus to council requirements in 2021.
Several offers were received by the council.
But the top bid is not the one the authority is set to accept.
It follows a “best value” exercise by officers
“Following receipt of offers, it was considered appropriate to obtain further information from all bidders, including information on proposed consideration and proposed use, and restrictions on proposed use,” said the committee report.
But the financials of the deal were considered behind closed doors.
Independent Mr Stewart tried to bring the debate off green – private – papers in the meeting agenda and into the public domain.
“This is common good, it belongs to the people of Montrose,” he said.
“We are overseeing this on behalf of the people that elected us – they put their trust in us to look after the common good interest.
“In the interests of transparency, this needs to be on white paper.”
Montrose Conservative colleague Iain Gall added: “It’s a people’s asset, it is not ours and this should be heard in a public forum.”
Legal director Jackie Buchanan said there was a clear legal basis for the item being considered in private.
Montrose SNP member Bill Duff said: “I take the (legal) advice seriously here, there are a lot of complexities.”
Opposition councillors on the committee registered their dissent and did not take part in the sale discussion.
Montrose SNP councillor Kenny Braes condemned their stance.
“I find it very disappointing that so many councillors are abrogating their responsibility in this matter, particularly the Montrose councillors,” he said.