Applicants to be charged for bid to buy land

Householders looking to buy land to expand their gardens will have to pay additional fee
Householders looking to buy land to expand their gardens will have to pay additional fee

Householders who want to buy land from the council to extend their garden will be charged £200 towards the cost of the paperwork.

And councillors agreed the fee will be non-returnable even if the sale does not go through.

The executive was told bids from owners to buy plots next to their homes are on the increase but the number of deals actually concluded is significantly less than the number received - leaving the council out of pocket.

Stuart Ritchie, director of corporate and housing, said most are withdrawn after the applicants are told how much the land will cost, but by that time each one has taken nearly 18 hours of staff time to complete.

Between 2012 and 2014, of the 71 applications received only 13 sales were concluded netting the council around £18,000.

Mr Ritchie said: “This highlights that, after committing extensive resources, the council received a potential income significanlty less than the cost involved to administer the process.

“In order to minimise the costs it is proposed applicants are advised a non-returnable fee of £200 will be applied. Additional legal fees will still be applicable should a sale proceed.”

A move by the SNP to refund the cash if an application is refused was rejected by eight votes to three.