A plot of vacant land in Heathcroft Avenue, Sunbury-on-Thames is still up for sale after failing to attract a buyer at a recent auction, thanks to the action of Lib Dem councillor Harry Boparai, Divisional Member for Sunbury Common and Ashford Common.
The 1209m2 of green space, described as having ‘development potential’, is used on a continuous basis by residents, and the possible sale was naturally of great concern to them. However, knowledge of a similar situation experienced by residents in nearby Bingley Road, meant that Cllr Boparai knew what action to take.
He made the necessary enquiries with Surrey County Council as to the status of the plot and once he had received confirmation that it was adopted highway land, he notified the appointed auctioneers of the implications of this information.
In his letter to the auctioneer, he set out clearly the consequences of it being adopted highway which meant that the new owner would not be able to build on the land, rent it out or prevent public access or use. Furthermore, he secured agreement that his letter would be included in the legal pack for the auction itself. He hoped that prior knowledge of these restrictions would deter any commercial developers and as a result, no bids exceeded the reserve price, and the lot was not sold.
Councillor Boparai was delighted to be able to inform residents of this successful outcome and said:
“In Bingley Road a brazen landowner had ambitions to concrete over a green area and sell it back to residents as parking spaces. In that case the residents got together and showed great community spirit and tenacity in successfully fighting their case.
I am really pleased with how the situation in Heathcroft Avenue has panned out, but it shows that we all need to be alert to this type of tactic and support our residents in challenging those who are looking to exploit them.”