Relief over eyesore building being sold after years of blight

John Marlborough in front of 'Ooty'
John Marlborough in front of 'Ooty'
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AN eyesore building which has swallowed up thousands of pounds of taxpayers money while lying empty for more than 30 years is finally set to go under the hammer.

The delapidated ‘Ooty’ building in Gillsmans Hill is being auctioned for an asking price of £80,000.

It will be sold by the Clive Emson group at the Hilton Metropole, Brighton on February 22.

The move comes as the county council this week ended controversial plans to build its Spur Road which would have seen Gillsmans Hill widened and reconstructed.

This could have meant several homes being knocked down to make way for the scheme and families and businesses having to move out.

Last year the Observer highlighted the plight of Ooty and several other properties which were originally snapped up by the authority to make way for an earlier road widening scheme. But again the scheme failed to materialise and many of the properties were left to go to wrack and ruin.

For more than three decades they were kept on, costing taxpayers thousands of pounds.

Ooty was once used as a doctors surgery but abandoned more than 30 years ago.

In recent years scaffolding was erected at the premises but it is now in such a poor state it was unsafe to carry out an internal inspection.

Nearby residents criticised the county council for a lack of action.

John Marlborough who lives in the nearby Chieveley Cottages, which overlooks Ooty, welcomed the move to sell off the property.

He said: “This should all have been done 30 years ago.

“It would not have mattered whether there was a building there or not.

“It will probably have to be knocked down anyway. It is criminal that so much money has been wasted on these buildings.”

County councillor for Wishing Tree ward Phil Scott said: “I am pleased the spur road has finally been rescinded.

“It finally lays to rest a scheme that would have changed the Gillsmans Hill corridor forever.

“We wait now with bated breath to see whether the Government will give the go ahead for the Link Road.

“If they do then there will need to be a concentration of minds of how to deal with an increase in traffic volumes along the Gillsmans Hill corridor and indeed beyond.

“The empty properties on Gillsmans Hill and Sedlescombe Road South will inevitably now be sold off as surplus to requirements.

“I have requested a sum be set aside from their sale to support any future traffic management schemes.

“Certainly Hollington Park Road would benefit from such a scheme as it has become a much used rat run over the years.”