RESIDENTS battling a controversial housing scheme claim Sheffield Council lost out on £400,000 by selling the freehold of the site to a developer.
Residents’ protest group Dore Conservation Group have highlighted how ownership of the land at 135 Dore Road was passed to Metropolitan Homes for just £2,600.
The residents accept that the council was powerless to charge a larger sum due to the law on tenants wishing to purchase freeholds.
But they argue the council could have recouped some of the money by ‘charging the developers for not complying with conditions’ on the leasehold, such as not keeping the site in a good state of repair.
Last year, the council gave Metropolitan Homes 14 days to clear rubbish dumped outside the site or face enforcement action.
An application to redevelop the site – a single detached house – with 14 apartments was refused by the council and again by an inspector after a public inquiry.
Metropolitan Homes has now submitted a new proposal for the site involving the same number of flats.
Paul Millington, of Dore Conservation Group and who lives close to the site, said: “The site is currently worth about £800,000 but our assessments have found that adding the freehold to the site would increase its value by £400,000.
“All the council has received is £2,600. It could have raised more from Metropolitan Homes by charging for incidents such as not keeping the property in a good state of repair.”
Sheffield Council said the amount it received for the freehold is worked out based on the value of rental income over the remainder of the lease.
Coun Bryan Lodge, Sheffield Council’s cabinet member for finance, said: “The freehold of 135 Dore Road was owned by Sheffield Council but was subject to a 200 year lease from 1959.
“The owner of the lease has exercised their right to serve notice to the landlord to own the freehold interest through a statutory process under The Leasehold Reform Act 1967.
“The value of £2,600 was calculated under strict rules.
“The law is the law in this instance and the council has had to deal with the sale as part of a legal process.”