Questions raised over land deal at Sunderland seafront

Protesting about the sale of land on Marine Walk by Sunderland City Council.
Protesting about the sale of land on Marine Walk by Sunderland City Council.
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A SIGN accusing Sunderland council of selling a plot of land for less than it is worth has appeared at the seafront.

Unhappy businessman Len Lowther paid for the billboard, which is stationed in Marine Walk in Roker, after he clashed with the authority over ongoing development work near his home.

Marine Walk, Sunderland.

Marine Walk, Sunderland.

The council has approved plans to build shops and offices on the seafront stretch as part of a £5million redevelopment of the coast.

Sunderland-based Fitz Architects unveiled plans for the development at Marine Walk in February last year, which will have apartments upstairs and commercial and retail units beneath.

Mr Lowther claims the land was sold for less than market value and bought the van and billboard to get his message across.

It says: “The land of Marine Walk was sold by Sunderland Council for a measly £25,000. When asked for the valuation report and where the land was advertised for sale, Sunderland Council now say they have no records of the sale.”

Mr Lowther, 59, owns the former lighthouse keepers’ cottages near the entrance to Roker Pier.

He said: “This goes on until I find out they are wrong or I am wrong.”

The council denies the claims.

Council leader Paul Watson said: “This land was sold in 2007 for £25,000 and there is independent confirmation the council received above-market value for council tax payers from the sale.

“The council continues to invest in the seafront and it has greatly improved the area.

“Indeed, the sale of this land has helped further private sector investment as a commercial and residential scheme is currently on site.”

Plans for the seafront include improvements to the promenade, the refurbishment of the existing play area and £1.35million for the 110-year-old Grade II listed Roker Pier.