New questions over sale of Fylde estate

Melton Grove
Melton Grove
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Council chiefs have been asked to answer fresh questions over the controversial sale of a Lytham housing estate.

The Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) has contacted Fylde Council over the sale of the Melton Grove estate to a private developer in 2011.

After receiving a complaint from a member of the Melton Grove Residents Association (MGRA), the ombudsman has asked the council to look into the matter.

The authority has now written to board members at Clifton Lytham Housing Association (CLHA) which agreed to the sale of the properties to Lytham-based Windmill Group.

Controversy was sparked because, despite CLHA initially seeking to sell to a registered social landlord, the Windmill Group is a private developer.

The LGO was to investigate matters itself regarding the sale after the complaint was lodged nine months ago.

But fresh questions and points raised by the residents association mean the council has been asked to answer a number of points about the sale before the LGO decides to investigate.

Council chief executive Allan Oldfield said: “I have written to every board member of the Clifton Lytham Housing Association board about this situation.

“The complainant has raised several new points and questions and as such has asked us to look into it.

“I will be open and transparent about this and plan to share any responses I receive with the ombudsman.

“It will then be up to the ombudsman to decide whether to investigate further.”

A spokeswoman for the residents association – which acts on behalf of some of the residents of Melton Grove – added: “This is just one more step in our relentless search for the answer to why Melton Grove, an estate of 20 lovely bungalows in four acres of idyllic woodland, was sold to a developer instead of a registered social landlord.

“This question has been asked by MGRA and many other officials on behalf of or under pressure from MGRA for more than two years and Fylde Council continues to avoid giving the answer.”

Speaking at a full council meeting after the original decision was made, leading opposition Coun Paul Hayhurst heavily criticised the way the homes were sold and called it “the darkest hour in Fylde’s history”.

A scrutiny report of the council decision in 2011 was deeply critical, saying the decision had been rushed through without consulting residents adequately.

The Windmill Group declined to comment when approached by The Gazette.

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