Council disputes claims made over £1.3m home

Shefferlands. Property owned by Lancashire County Council which is for sale. Near Halton.
Shefferlands. Property owned by Lancashire County Council which is for sale. Near Halton.

CLAIMS that a £1.3m house bought by Lancashire County Council to accommodate the Heysham M6 link road has been “left to rot” have been disputed.

Tony Kenvig, former owner of Shefferlands, off Foundry Lane, near Halton, said that he visited the property recently to pick up some post and found overgrown gardens, broken windows, flaking paintwork and the kitchen flooded.

The county council bought the six-bedroom detached house in 2009 to pave the way for the link road, but, following changes to the scheme, only a small portion of the garden was actually needed. It has since been rented out but became vacant again in February.

Mr Kenvig, who lived at the house, which boasts four stables, an orchard and extensive gardens, for 12 years, said: “I left it pristine but now the gardens are overgrown, there are broken windows, the stable roof has blown off, the pond’s got algae in it, the kitchen is flooded.

“£1.3m of taxpayers money they gave me for that, it’s disgraceful.

“They put us through years of hell; I didn’t want to move, and now they say they don’t even need it.

“Why are they not selling it, why are they allowing it to happen?”

Margaret Whitmore, the county council’s principal estates surveyor, said: “We completely dispute these claims.

“Our surveyors were in the house on Monday of this week and consider it to be in good condition.

“They surveyed the whole house, including the stables, and walked round the recently mown garden.

“No windows are broken and the roof is not leaking.”

The council says that while an area of the garden was required for the original road proposal, changes to the roundabout design now mean less land is required.

It said it would retain ownership of the house until the road is completed and then sell it, but in the meantime would rent it for £1,600 per month.