Land wanted by village sold to mystery buyer for £50,000 more
- Credit: Archant
A village bidding to buy land to save it from future development has been thwarted after it was sold for more before the auction.
Filby had raised close to £80,000 ahead of the auction due to take place on October 20 and was hoping to secure it as open space on the day.
However, it was snapped up ahead of the sale for "£200,000 plus" to a mystery buyer.
Borough councillor and Filby champion Adrian Thompson said it was disappointing, but praised the village's rallying spirit after close to £80,000 was raised in pledges with more time still to go.
Having registered the village's intention to bid he was told late on Friday that it had already gone for more than the estimated sale price of £150,000 for "£200,000 plus."
He said: "As a village we got to £78,500 in pledges with ten days to go to the auction so were heading towards it, but it is not going to happen at this stage.
"But we never say never. We do not know who has bought it or what will happen.
"It could come back on the market again and next time we will be prepared."
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Mr Thompson said the sale had caught him "on the hop" but that next time the village would be ready.
To prepare they were planning to set up a "fighting fund" that would "bubble along" in the background in case land came up for sale again on the open market.
He said Filby had a history of raising money for open space having paid £450 for the six acre playing field site in 1952.
As far as the land in Pound Lane was concerned there was no change, he said.
With a bid to build 15 houses on it refused at ministerial level on appeal all the reasons for blocking it still stood, giving it protection for ten years.
"We were prepared to go to auction and prepared to bid," he said. "If it comes on the market again in a few years we will be prepared."
He had previously said while buying it represented a poor investment, the reward was saving a slice of Norfolk.
The land was being advertised by Auction House East Anglia. A spokesman said the vendor had accepted an offer prior to the sale.