You may remember Michael Lowry’s worthless land in Wigan.
Last week, the Independent TD said he didn’t declare his co-ownership of a 22-acre site outside Wigan in the UK to the register of members’ interests in the Dail because it had no value. All land worth over €13,000 is supposed to be declared.
Yesterday, the Irish Examiner‘s Conor Ryan posed as a potential buyer and made a bid for the land.
He reported how he contacted Lowry’s agent and made an offer of £300,000 per acre.
He said he was told the whole site could fetch up to €6.7million.
The agent also told him he believed the greenbelt stretch of land would eventually get permission for residential use.
Mr Ryan reported:
He said it was in the region of what was acceptable in a poor market.
“[With the £300,000 offer], you are talking about development of 12 [houses] to the acre… So you are talking about £25,000 a plot which, let’s be honest about it, that is cheap. If you can get it for £300,000 an acre you are doing well. But everything has got a price,” he said.
When the agent was contacted later to explain the true context of the original call, he said there was an agricultural value of £4,000 an acre (€110,000 in total) but, as with any investment, there was a speculative “hope value” linked to its likely rezoning.
He said 18 of the 22 acres jointly owned by Mr Lowry and Liam Carroll were suitable for development and had road access to an adjoining estate.
In September, the key adjoining landowners put a proposal to Wigan Council for the whole area to be included in plans for 2,300 houses. The submission said the other landowners were in favour of development. Mr Lowry did not comment.
Mr Lowry went on Tipp FM this morning to take issue with Mr Ryan’s story.
This is a transcript of the interview, which has been tweeted by Mr Ryan:
Mr Ryan has since clarified his position on his twitter stream.
More as we get it