AN AUCTION of the earth beneath the roads and pavements in a residential area of Chineham did not go ahead.

As previously reported in the Gazette, the land in Minden Close was put up for auction on Right Move, leaving residents confused about why it was for sale, and worried about the consequences, sparking fears that they might end up being charged for maintenance by a private owner.

The listing for the sale on Right Move which had a guide price of in excess of £5,000, claimed the land is “suitable for a variety of uses (subject to obtaining all relevant consents)”.

It added: “Purchasers are deemed to rely on their own enquires with regard to any possible development potential for this individual site.”

The 6,023 square metres of land was meant to be sold by Auction House London on March 25. However, the lot was withdrawn on the day of the auction, which was due to take place online. There is still a mystery as to why the land was for sale, and what a buyer might be able to do with it.

Cllr Paul Miller, borough councillor for the Chineham ward, told the Gazette that the land for sale was the layers below the Hampshire County Council adopted highway.

He added: “Minden Close is a highway maintained at public expense and will be an ongoing cost to the public purse. Nothing can occur to Minden Close, notwithstanding this private ownership, as all roads and footways have their designation of public rights of way.”

He labelled the description of the land on Right Move as “misleading”.

The Gazette spoke to a member of staff from Auction House London who explained that it does not carry out checks on auction lots, and simply provides details given by sellers. It is therefore not responsible for any inaccuracies contained in a description.

Fellow Chineham borough councillor Elaine Still said the land is owned by Percy Bilton, of Bilton Land Limited, but still subject to highway rights, reassuring residents that they won’t have to pay for maintenance to a private company.

She told the Gazette: “The key issue is that Hampshire County Council maintain the road and will continue to do so despite the intended sale.”

Cllr Miller added: “It’s a mystery why someone would want to buy it.”

The Gazette has attempted to contact Bilton Land Limited but has not yet had a response. HCC has also been asked for a comment.