THE proposed sale of a former care home has been called into question, amid claims Bournemouth Council may be selling the site too cheaply.

Leybourne House, a 40-bed property which sits in the middle of a 4,000 square metre plot in Western Avenue, Northbourne, is set to be sold to BCHA for £360,000.

The council claims this is “full market value” and BCHA hopes to build 26 two-bedroom flats on the site.

But ward councillor Sue Levell is concerned the land has been undervalued.

She said she had no objection to plans for affordable housing but wanted to ensure the land was being sold at the right price.

A three-bedroom bungalow in Western Avenue is currently on the market for £339,950 and a semi-detached property in East Howe Lane, immediately behind Leybourne House, sold for £310,000 in 2006.

“The council has a responsibility to all residents of the town to obtain the best consideration on the disposal of assets,” she said.

“As the land has never been put on the open market or had an independent valuation I’m sure other development companies would offer a much better return for such a large site.”

Developer and landlord Steve Wells, of the DWP Housing Partnership, also felt the land had been under-valued.

“BCHA have achieved a great deal,” he said. “If they get 24 flats at £15,000 a plot that’s extremely cheap.

“If we were putting in a bid to purchase it, it would be around the £30,000 to £35,000 mark, depending on what our planners said.

“I would have willingly paid more for it, as I suspect would many other developers.”

The sell-off will be scrutinised at a special council meeting at the town hall at 5.30pm next Tuesday.

Tanya Coulter, service director, Legal and Democratic, said questions about the market value of Leybourne House would be answered at next week’s meeting and it was inappropriate to comment further in advance of the meeting.