THE COST of the Undercliff Drive scandal looks set to rise.
A five-bedroom house bought by the Isle of Wight Council for the abandoned road re-building scheme looks likely to sold at a loss.
The large St Lawrence property, Woodington, was purchased by the council six years ago to make way for the proposed re-routing of the collapsed Undercliff Drive — a scheme that never went ahead after becoming mired in controversy — for a total cost of £483,943.06.
It will now be sold on the open market and will first be made available through ordinary private sale. If the Isle of Wight Council does not receive an acceptable offer it will go to auction.
A guide price of £280,000 to £300,000 has been set, as recommended by an auction company, however a date for the auction has not been set.
A reserve auction price will be in place, but will remain confidential because making it public could prejudice the sale, according to the council.
According to the report, estate agents’ valuations varied from £100,000 to £400,000.
Any purchaser would need to pay upfront, as it would be unlikely buyers could secure insurance or a mortgage due to the landslip risk.
The detached stone house has four reception rooms, a kitchen and two bathrooms, plus substantial gardens, the council report said.
Since the property was purchased it has been let as residential accommodation but, due in part to its isolated location, the authority has decided it would cost too much to bring it up to standard.
The decision to sell the property was made under delegated powers by economy cabinet member, Cllr George Brown.
The Undercliff Drive scheme became one of the biggest scandals in the history of the Isle of Wight Council after it emerged it had unlawfully awarded the contract to build a new road to High Point Rendel.
An independent investigation into the episode, commissioned by the Isle of Wight Council, cost more than £1.3 million.
The scandal resulted in the sacking of two senior officers, the resignations of two more and the early retirement of a fifth.