Cornwall Council has dismissed claims that it has wasted taxpayers’ cash by overpaying for land for a major development, saying that it got “value for money”.

It is over claims that the the council had paid £1.45million for a parcel of land that had been bought only four years earlier for £100,000 - a percentage increase of 1,350 per cent.

The Conservative group at Cornwall Council issued a statement at the weekend demanding answers about how much the council paid for land which is earmarked for the Langarth Garden Village outside Truro.

Langarth Garden Village is set to provide around 3,500 new homes as well as schools, facilities, employment space and shops for a community of up to 10,000 people.

Cornwall Council has taken a lead on the project after a number of separate planning applications for sites in the area stalled to a halt. It has now drawn up a masterplan for the site and is due to submit planning applications for the first phases of the project and a new access road.

Conservative councillors were reacting to claims that the council had paid £1.45million for a parcel of land which had been bought just four years earlier for £100,000.

Conservative group leader Linda Taylor said: “It is sadly not surprising to see the continued haemorrhaging of Cornish taxpayer money via the money pit that is the Langarth Project.

“We warned this Lib Dem and Independent Administration that if they continued their foolhardy plans to turn Cornwall Council into a property developer for open market housing, it would ultimately be the Cornish taxpayer that would suffer.

“But no, they wouldn’t listen, and we are left with this result, where they are throwing more and more taxpayer money away to satisfy their property developer fantasies.

“Outside of a select few at County Hall, this development is universally loathed and the Conservative Group, as the responsible opposition at County Hall, will be asking for urgent answers as to how this continued splurging of taxpayer money has been deemed acceptable. How much has already been spent, and how much more are they prepared to throw at this vainglorious proposition.

“We urge them to stop playing this dangerous game with public money and get the basic things, the waste and recycling contract, supporting businesses through lockdown, and maintaining our road network right, before persisting in this folly.”

South West Farmer:

The council has now responded to the claims saying in a statement: “The council acquired a series of parcels of land in relation to the Langarth development as a package and the council is confident that in their entirety those acquisitions represent value for money.

“It is not uncommon for developers to acquire land, secure consent, package that land with other areas and increase its value.

“The council acquired the land fully aware of any risks and obligations that may exist and the decision to proceed was taken in the full knowledge of any risk and the relatively simple mitigations.

“It would not be appropriate for us to discuss the commercial aspects of the transaction publicly.

“Extensive financial information is clearly set out in the reports relating to the Cabinet meeting of November 4.”

South West Farmer:

Tim Dwelly, Cabinet member for economy and planning, who is responsible for leading on the Langarth project criticised the Conservative group for making its claims.

He said: “Yet again we see the Conservatives playing politics with new communities and scaremongering. Each and every time they claim to have uncovered a ‘mistake’ or a ‘plot’ we calmly show them the reality is otherwise. They then go quiet and drop it. It’s becoming a pattern. You will notice that they never say what exactly they would do differently to meet their own Government’s housing targets if they were running Cornwall.

“It’s very clear that the market price was paid for this particular land purchase. By buying the land Cornwall Council will be able to ensure the whole new community will be a very high quality garden village.

"Little wonder that so many people are registering an interest in the new homes there. The Conservatives are, yet again, out of touch on Cornish people’s desire for high quality new homes for their families.”