Council Deciding What To Do With Former Chief Exec’s House

town hall windows signThe Council is in a quandary over what to do with a property on Sally Port, which was occupied by the former Chief Executive Philip Hygate.

The large, single storey house, one of sixteen owned by the Council’s General Fund, has been unoccupied since Mr Hygate moved out on 2nd April.

The Council is losing rent and has to pay Council Tax while it’s empty.

Head of Finance, Iain McCulloch said the property has “a few issues” and a survey of its condition needs to be carried out.

In his report, Iain said there were several options for the Council, including renovating it, renting it in its current condition, selling it or even demolishing the building and redeveloping the site.

We understand the property has been valued at a maximum of £375,000 in its current state and renovation is expected to cost around £100,000.

The discussion had been tabled in the part of Tuesday’s P & R meeting where the public were excluded, but after Radio Scilly disputed this it was moved to the open session.

Council Chairman, Amanda Martin, said it was right for it to be discussed publicly and she said she feels “very strongly” about the property.

Only Full Council can take a decision on whether it’s sold.

The proceeds could go some way towards filling the Council’s budget deficit.  However, it’s likely to be unpopular at a time when there’s an acute shortage of affordable housing.

In the February Community Services meeting, Housing Officer Ian Hamilton said he was under increasing pressure to help house people on the islands, asking members to understand his frustrations and sympathise with his position.

And the Council’s own housing strategy from this year states that their goal is to increase the number of affordable, rented dwellings on the islands.

One councillor who didn’t want to be named told Radio Scilly that the money gained from a sale could be used to clear the Carn Thomas site, ready for building the proposed extra care housing units. That land is being handed over to Cornwall Rural Housing Association to develop and clearing it could reduce a significant barrier to funding the project.

Members will be invited to visit the house to see its current state.

They’ve also asked for a report on the options to be brought to the next Full Council meeting on 1st August.

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