Breaking news: Willoughby House drama ended by vendor
SEATON Town Council s controversial plan to buy Willoughby House has been thwarted after the vendor pulled out.
SEATON Town Council's controversial plan to buy Willoughby House has been thwarted after the vendor pulled out.
The executor of the sale decided against the move following a public meeting, in which many residents hit out at the proposal.
A representative selling the house on behalf of May Clapp, who did not wish to be named, said the meeting had swayed him.
He said: "We pulled out because of bad feeling.
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"I have been thinking about it for a couple of weeks and all the hassle it is causing, but attending the public meeting finally made up my mind.
"I didn't want to upset the apple cart anymore and it seemed to be dragging on and on.
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"It seems the biggest worry for people is not buying Willoughby House, but the fear of losing the town hall."
He said he had entered into negotiations with the council in May, although the matter was first seen on the council agenda in June.
Mayor Sandra Semple said the vendor's decision was the "direct result of hurtful comments" made at the meeting.
She said: "Thanks to a small, but very vocal, opposition group, supported, assisted and guided by one town councillor, who disagreed with the project - Peter Burrows - we have now lost the chance to acquire a potentially valuable asset for Seaton and possibly the only close-to-town-centre site with enormous potential that will be available for many years to come."
Cllr Peter Burrows said: "I'm happy for the people of Seaton.
"The people wanted consultation, and they can get it."
Town clerk David Mears said: "Other towns have substantial assets from which they are able to derive an income and which they can develop or even sell in later years to the benefit of the community. This is not the case in Seaton where our only asset is our allotments which, quite rightly, cannot be run to make a profit.