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Bishop's Stortford Town Council leader warns bidders for Thorley Park land to beware of liabilities

The leader of Bishop's Stortford Town Council is warning people to beware of buying parcels of land at Thorley Park.

They are due to go under the hammer on Wednesday September 23, and Cllr John Wyllie, who is also a member of East Herts and Hertfordshire district and county councils, said the new owners would face maintenance bills for the plots at Ashdale.

Regional land and property auctioneer Clive Emson is disposing of six pieces of land on the 1970s estate, ranging in price from £6,000 to £10,000.

Land between 29 Irving Close and 66 Ashdale at Thorley Park, Bishop's Stortford, looking towards Sainsbury's. Picture: Vikki Lince (42102057)
Land between 29 Irving Close and 66 Ashdale at Thorley Park, Bishop's Stortford, looking towards Sainsbury's. Picture: Vikki Lince (42102057)

They include one which has planning permission for a garage, granted on appeal by a planning inspector despite refusal by the district council in December 2019 following objections from the town council and neighbours.

Cllr Wyllie said: "From what I have seen, the only parcel of land that would be beneficial to any new owner would be the part where the garage got planning permission on appeal. The other parts seem to me to be a liability for any owner and I will be asking East Herts Council to make sure that the new owner is made to keep the land in good order. This will be a cost to them on an ongoing basis."

Disposal of the plots is believed to be linked to the collapse in January 2018 of multinational facilities management and construction services company Carillion and the liquidation of its assets.

Bishop's Stortford Town Council leader John Wyllie (42102116)
Bishop's Stortford Town Council leader John Wyllie (42102116)

Speculators have already tried to use one triangle of land at Ashdale for commercial purposes. A planningapplication for a takeaway was withdrawn after a storm of protest and a subsequent proposal for a shoe repair and key-cutting kiosk was rejected in March.

Plans for a new two-bed end-of-terrace house with two parking spaces in a garden at Ashdale were also opposed by the town and district councils. Their objections were upheld by a planning inspector who dismissed an appeal in March.

Other sites at Thorley Park have been the subject of speculative applications.

Clive Emson is also selling a bungalow at 11 Cambridge Road in Sawbridgeworth with a guide price of £250,000-plus.

Managing director James Emson said: "Residential and commercial property, along with land, continues to attract strong investor interest, with each one of our online auctions since lockdown attracting increasing lot numbers and digital audiences.

"Bidders are searching for far better returns than can be had with cash deposits in banks and building societies during this era of ultra-low interest rates."

He said that July's online auction saw a record 135 lots on offer, with three-quarters of them being sold and 30,000-plus people watching at various times.

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