Louth Town Council has expressed its ‘disgust and dismay’ to ELDC after a green space was sold without them being consulted - and despite an ‘embargo’ on asset sales.
The 70 square metre green corner, at the junction of Kidgate and Upgate, was sold to the owner of the adjoining property for £1,000 following complaints over dog-fouling and fly-tipping.
‘Is it just a ploy to get rid of every square of land so it is less things to maintain?’Councillor Andrew Leonard
According to the sale decision notice, dated February 2, the land had ‘no operational benefit’ to ELDC, and Lincolnshire County Council also agreed to sell their interest in a part of the site.
At the Town Council meeting on July 12, Coun Andrew Leonard led the verbal crusade and said that the pretext - dog fouling - was a ‘disgraceful’ reason for the land to be sold for this price.
Coun Leonard said: “Anybody could complain about any piece of land in Louth, and expect to receive it for threepence ha’penny just because the district council can’t be bothered with all the complaints flooding in.”
He added: “Is it just a ploy to get rid of every square of land so it is less things to maintain?”
Councillors expressed their annoyance at not being informed of the sale, despite requesting to be given updates on the future of the green corner back in September.
Councillors also pointed out that they received a visit from ELDC’s Portfolio Holder for Finance, Coun Nick Guyatt, in January in which he said asset sales had been embargoed until the summer - and yet the decision notice for the sale of the land is dated February 2.
Councillors added that they would like to have been notified and given the option to take over the land, with the Town Clerk pointing out that the area features on the Louth In Bloom judging route.
The Town Council voted to send a strong letter to ELDC expressing ‘disgust, upset and dismay’ over how the situation has been handled.
When approached by the Leader Coun Guyatt, said: “Specifically in this case, the town council do not appear to have contemplated buying the land. Their offer to look after it would depend on their having a responsive team to clear up the dog fouling which is why the purchaser wanted to buy the land.
“Other than the statutory notice the district council has to place, it does not have the resources to refer every minor transaction to parties that might have no eventual interest.”
A further statement from an ELDC spokesman added: “The sale of the small parcel of land at Kidgate/Upgate was a negotiated sale to an adjoining land owner who approached the council.
“An advert was placed in the local media for two weeks informing of a potential sale, and no objections were received.
“Although the formal agreement wasn’t signed until February, negotiations for the Kidgate/Upgate land had been concluded prior to January when Coun Guyatt visited Louth Town Council.”
l ELDC’s sale decision notice can be viewed at https://democracy.e-lindsey.gov.uk/documents/s40569