Mystery over sale of Ottery building

MYSTERY surrounds the sale of a sought-after Ottery building as hopes it would become the town s first permanent museum were dashed last week.

MYSTERY surrounds the sale of a sought-after Ottery building as hopes it would become the town's first permanent museum were dashed last week.

Halls Estate Agents have accepted an offer for the single-storey premises in the grounds of The Old Convent but will not disclose the identity of its potential new owner as negotiations have "literally just started" and the sale "could still fall through".

Nick Hall, who is handling the sale of the building- known as 'the stables'- on behalf of a developer, told the Herald the buyer was a "local commercial business" that would "certainly be good for the area". He added the property had generated "a lot" of local interest.

The news has left Ottery Heritage Society's �200,000 museum vision for the site dead in the water, despite the best efforts of the town council.

Councillors discussed the possibility of buying the building, valued at �130,000, to "help out" the society's bid last Thursday, however, it was decided this was not a "financially viable option".

The Herald was told: "The town council were offered a take it or leave it deal by Halls. Someone is prepared to pay a good price for the building- but council decided it did not believe the asking price was reasonable, councillors were unanimous in this

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"What they were asking is way in excess of market price as a lot of work needs to be done there to rebuild the place, a considerable amount of money would need to be spent to make it fit for purpose."

Heritage Society chairman Robert Neal is disappointed but determined that the group's search will continue.

He said: "We had to find a lot of money in a short space of time, it was always going to be difficult, these things take months to come to fruition.

"We tried and failed but it's important we now look forward- to find another building in the town. We have a strong desire, a museum has always been one of the main aims of society and the search goes on.

"Ottery is one of the oldest and most historic towns in Devon with such a colourful past. Any town of any significance has its own museum where people can discover the artefacts and past that has made it what it is.