No move to tropical island for man whose house won't sell
UNCERTAINTY over a major development in Cheltenham has added to the troubles of a man at risk of losing his home and on the verge of bankruptcy.
Former HGV driver Andrew Smith wants to sell his house so he can move to the Cayman Islands, where the weather is better for his rheumatoid arthritis. But he says he has been left in limbo as plans to build hundreds of new homes have not come to fruition – yet continue to put off buyers.
The 51-year-old has been trying to sell his Uckington home in Tewkesbury Road for the past five years.
But he believes potential buyers have been put off as it is next to land earmarked for hundreds of homes.
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He has also had no luck trying to sell his house to developers.
Mr Smith, who grew up in Whaddon, moved to his home in spring 2005.
In 2007 he was forced to put his house on the market for around £250,000.
He had been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and had to leave his job, but it meant meeting his mortgage repayments was a challenge.
He said: "It seems very unfair. The plans for the fields nearby were so massive and the estate agents said it was this putting buyers off.
"I'm unable to maintain the mortgage payments and if I lose the house it will mean being on housing benefits and needing extra support from the government."
Land between Swindon Village, Uckington and Elmstone Hardwicke was previously earmarked for housing developments under the now defunct Regional Spatial Strategy.
Campaigners believe the land is still under threat from future developments.
Sales negotiator James Russell, from Andrews Estate Agents in Bath Road, said: "Something like that certainly can out potential buyers off.
"New regulations that have just come in say we have to tell people about anything like this before they make a financial commitment.
"But there are other factors such as the right buyer may not have come along or he might be expecting too much for it."
Councillor Ray Theodoulou, Gloucestershire County Council cabinet member for finance, said: "We keep all of our assets under review and any future applications would be decided by the local planning authorities, Cheltenham and Tewkesbury Borough Councils."