Fears that the high price paid for half an acre of land near Bideford Grammar School may now prejudice the availability of playing field space for the town’s new comprehensive school were voiced yesterday by Mr Peter Fletcher, chairman of the governing body for Bideford’s secondary schools.
He has called a special meeting of the governors for next Wednesday to consider the situation.
At a public auction attended by about 50 people at Bideford on Tuesday, the half acre of land concerned, belonging to the Devon and Cornwall Police Authority, was sold after a five minute spell of bidding for £25,700 to Robeda Ltd, a firm of local builders.
Bideford school governors have made no secret of the fact that they would have liked the land to have been included in the playing field area for the comprehensive school and Mr Fletcher, making what he described afterwards as ‘a gesture against bureaucratic humbug’ opened the bidding with an offer of £2,000. He told auctioneer Mr Tim Malone, of Messrs J C Webber and Son, that he did so ‘in the name of future generations of Bideford schoolchildren’.
His bid of £2,000 was quickly followed by one of £10,000 and bidding increased to £16,000. It then went up to £24,000 and then by £500, £250 and finally twice by £100 before the land was knocked down to Mr Clifford Dark, managing director of Robeda.
The land has outline planning permission for three pairs of semi-detached houses and Mr Dark said that his firm hoped to start building early in the New Year.