Kelham Gardens land - a correction: neighbours do want to buy the land - and only to extend their gardens
In our recent report on Wiltshire Council's cabinet meeting concerning waste land at Kelham Gardens, we said that neighbouring householders were no longer interested in the land. That is wrong and was a misunderstanding of the introduction to the agenda item by Council Leader Baroness Scott. Three neighbouring householders do want to buy the land.
The land is owned by Wiltshire Council who have declared it to be 'surplus to the Council's operational requirements' and have now approved its sale. The land was recently advertised for auction, was marketed and attracted quite a lot of initial interest.
However, the Council's recent decision to auction the land came as a shock to three neighbouring householders. An earlier cabinet meeting - 3 July 2017 - had approved the Council disposing of "...the site to local residents/owners subject to an overage provision [see below] if the rear land is developed."
A statement from the three residents of Kelham Gardens, which was not read to the meeting, is now in the public domain. The householders were unable to attend the cabinet meeting.
Their statement makes it absolutely clear they still want the land and have made an offer to Wiltshire Council for it. In the statement the sums they have offered to buy the land and for the 'overage provision' have been redacted - as is normal for commercially sensitive documents.
The three householders state: "We have no interest developing the land for any commercial gain and our sole interest lies in extending our respective gardens". They have also offered to give the part of the land that includes the river frontage to Action for the River Kennet.
The are fully aware of the three main constraints on other uses of the land - flood risk (it flooded in 2004), residual contamination and the road that cuts across the plot giving 24/7 access for utility companies.
Apart from the interest of these three neighbouring households and of the Town Council in the land, marlborough.news is unaware of any other parties offering to buy it.
Note: The overage payment means the neighbours would agree with Wiltshire Council a sum to cover the realisation of any extra value if and when the land was sold on for housing or a similar development. This allows Wiltshire Council to show they have gained maximum value for the land - which they are legally required to do.