A councillor has raised concerns after Corby Council has committed to spend just over £900,000 converting eight garages on the Kingswood estate into flats.
The plans to spend £903,000 turning the redundant garages in Barnard Close into eight flats come after the council has spent £697,000 on four modular one bed flats homes in Wilby Close.
The authority said it would ‘learn lessons’ from the high cost of the modular homes however at last night’s One Corby Policy Committee Cllr Mark Pengelly asked questions about why the council is spending the large sum turning garages it owns into flats.
He compared the cost of the garage conversions, to the £1.59m budgeted by the authority to build 18 homes at Cheltenham Close on the Oakley Vale estate. This works out at an average of £88,500 per property.
Cllr Pengelly said: “Some of the figures just don’t add up. The homes at Wilby Close cost £174,000 each and when you look at the Kingswood costs they are £110,000 each. How are they so different? We own the garages. How is it more expensive to convert a garage than to build a brand new flat at Oakley Vale?”
Property website Zoopla currently is advertising one bedroom flats for sale in Corby at £70,000 which is more than £100,000 cheaper than the cost Corby Council has paid for each Wilby Close flat build.
Cllr Pengelly said the costs of the new builds had become the topic of conversation on social media with people ‘having a go’ at the council.
Chief finance officer Adrian Sibley said the costs had gone before the council’s regeneration committee and there were not good economies of scale with building four flats at Wilby Close. He also said that because the council was one of the first using the modular homes it was more expensive as it was ‘early stage’ for the product.
He said: “You pay a price for being first in the queue for that.”
The garage conversion work is being done by Derby based firm Woodland Property Services.
The modular homes in Wilby Close are still to be finished off and are currently being bricked up.