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Council Cagey Over Purchase Price Of Newport Eyesore

The Isle of Wight Council has agreed to buy an eyesore site in the heart of Newport – but is keeping the price tag under wraps.

The land on Pyle Street and East Street, once home to the Shoulder of Mutton pub, next to Coppins Bridge, has already been earmarked for a housing development.

The council has now agreed to buy the 0.5 acre site from Homes England.

Cllr Ian Stephens, the deputy leader and cabinet member for housing and finance, made the decision yesterday (Wednesday, March 27) to add the brownfield site to the council’s land portfolio.

The council feared if it did not buy the site, it would open the door for “an opportunistic developer … which may not enhance this key location or deliver housing”.

The authority suggests it could provide 40 homes (14 affordable), a ground floor commercial or community unit and on-site parking.

To carry out the scheme, planning permission is still needed.

The council has been able to secure £409,360 from the government to make the site suitable for redevelopment, including clearing, levelling and removing materials.

The actual price the council would buy the land for is confidential but the council may pay £14,000 in legal fees.

In a report, the authority said the purchase price and holding costs for the site are ‘sufficiently low’ that buying it now “and taking time to bring the right development forward would be preferable to risking someone else acquiring it, mitigating both of these risks.”

Cllr Julie Jones-Evans, the cabinet member for regeneration, wondered if the housing units could be available for student accommodation or hospital contract workers.

Officers highlighted that the decision only commits the council to buying the site, not what could be built there or the future uses of the land.

The decision will come into force on April 6, if no councillor challenges it.Homes England bought the site in 2016 as a regeneration opportunity but the council said it was never developed due to viability issues.

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