10:00AM, Friday 27 April 2018
The Royal Borough has moved to clarify why it spent £1.5million of taxpayers’ money buying a property in Rushington Avenue.
Neighbours had written to the Advertiser this month asking why the cash was spent on a bungalow at 2 Rushington Avenue which was listed for sale at £649,950 last year.
But the council has now confirmed that the £1.5m purchase included an empty adjacent plot with permission for a three-bed detached property, along with the bungalow.
The empty plot was not mentioned by the council when asked for comment about the purchase by the Advertiser last week.
Speaking yesterday (Wednesday), Cllr Jack Rankin (Con, Castle Without), cabinet member for economic development, property, communications and deputy member for finance, insisted that the council was committed to spending taxpayers’ money responsibly.
He said: “We are committed to getting the best value for the taxpayer.
“We received an independent valuation from our agent and I can assure you that it was above £1.5m.”
The council has a budget of £20m for acquiring properties to access the proposed Maidenhead Golf Course development and finding a development partner for the project.
At a meeting in October, council leader Cllr Simon Dudley (Con, Riverside) said that the council wanted to purchase eight properties relating to the development.
Rushington Avenue backs on to the golf course and, depend-ing on the final development plan that will be decided in July, could be used as an access point.
Cllr Rankin said that, for the time being, the property is being let ‘affordably’ to key workers.
John Hudson, Rushington Area Residents Association chairman, was still not convinced that the purchase was a good use of public money.
He said: “I still think it’s very overpriced. I do not see how the site can be worth £1.5million.
“The residents do not have any say on what’s being spent.
“It’s our money at the end of the day.
“The thing is, they bought that for access, providing the development goes through, which is not certain.
“Cllr Dudley seems to believe that it is a foregone conclusion. If the plan doesn’t go ahead what will they do then?
“They won’t give us our money back.”
Top Ten Articles
A large fire in Maidenhead caused the police to shut down the majority of the town centre.