Fred Blight of Gabalfa Avenue is disgusted by the £3000 fee
WHEN Cardiff council offered a group of residents the chance to buy some plots of land for £55 each more than a decade ago, they thought their luck was in.
But last month, those same residents were shocked when the fee was hiked up to £3,000 each.
In 1997, the council knocked on the doors of the residents of 12 houses on Gabalfa Avenue, Llandaff North, and offered them the waste land backing onto their houses, which is part of a filled-in canal.
The residents said yes and after some meetings, a letter was sent out by the council agreeing a price of £55, plus legal costs of £100 for each plot of land.
But last month, Cardiff council wrote back to them asking for £3,000 each.
Following the original decision, some residents of Watson Road, whose houses backed onto the other side of the land complained about the deal, saying they wanted to use the land too.
A meeting was held between residents on both sides of the land and it was agreed that a gated lane would be created to stop young people using the land for drinking and drug taking. Many young couples would stay in the lane for the entire weekend, much to the annoyance of residents.
When the gate was opened two years ago, a residents’ association was set up, at which point Fred Blight, 68, of Gabalfa Avenue, wrote to the council reminding them of the sale.
“The next thing I knew, I received a letter asking for £3,000,” he said.
“It isn’t even proper land because it’s an old canal contaminated with metals.
“I’m disgusted with the council. They promised us. They knocked on our doors here, asking us if we wanted to take the land off their hands because it was waste ground and the cost of maintaining it every year was too much. Since 1997, the land doubled in price so I should be looking at paying £100 for it and I would be prepared to pay that.”
Councillor Ann Rowland-James said: “It’s staggering and I will fight my very best to not let this happen.”
But residents in Watson Road said £3,000 was a fair price to pay for the land.
Mr Green, 70, of Watson Road said: “It’s a big piece of land. The council levelled it all off and it has kept it tidy.
“I would pay £3,000 if I were offered the land, but I haven’t been. Mr Blight is onto a winner.”
A council spokesperson said: “The figure quoted in the letter received by residents is the current market value of the land in question.
“However, the council is exploring a number of avenues regarding the terms of disposal.”