September 17 2014 Latest news:
by Ajay Nair, Reporter
Tuesday, August 5, 2014
An abandoned training centre that has sat empty for six years is set to be transformed into 38 new homes and a community centre, netting the council £3million.
The sale of Warley Training Centre site in Essex way, Warley, will make Brentwood Council £2m.
The authority will also take ownership of five properties built there, which will have an estimated value of £1m.
Cllr Louise McKinlay, leader of the Conservative group, has raised concerns about the proposal to take on the five properties, which would be let on the open market.
She said: “It’s all well and good saying we’ll have five properties there, but what does this mean? How are we funding it? The decision would mean the land is worth less because the developers can’t develop it in the way they want.”
If the plans go ahead, a further 20 homes will belong to private buyers, while 13 will go to a housing association, to be rented out as affordable housing.
Cllr Russell Quirk, chairman of both the Brentwood Asset group and the Enterprise Committee, is championing the new builds.
He said: “The plan is a no-brainer and I think it’s desperately sad that they [the opposition councillors] just want to cause trouble.
“It makes no sense to leave the land and do nothing with it – it’s costing the taxpayer money.”
The site currently costs the tax-payer £50,000 a year. It has been predicted that renting out the properties will earn the authority £60,000 a year.
Cllr McKinlay added: “Whether it ends up being a good or bad idea isn’t what matters right now – we need the full facts and figures.”