NEW flats intended for sheltered housing will be bought by East Lothian Council for 20 per cent above the valuation price.

The new development in Tranent will see four one-bedroom and eight two-bedroom flats bought by the local authority for £1.8million.

Planning chiefs said that the decision to pay above the district valuer’s recommended value of £1.5million was taken because they believed it was good value for money.

And they argued it was hard to value the new properties correctly as there were no other homes like them in the town.

The flats, being built on the site of a former dairy on Elder Street in the town centre, will be bought by the council once complete.

A report on the purchase, which has been agreed by the council with the local developer, said that although they were designated as sheltered housing, no warden accommodation or common room was included on the site.

It said: “Whilst these properties will be restricted to specialist housing, discussions are currently being held as the preferred client group. This may result in the designation being changed from sheltered housing in the future.”

The report revealed that the final purchase price for the flats, which will include a lift and sprinkler system, was above the district valuer’s valuation of the property’s worth by some £300,000.

However, planning chiefs said there was evidence that the development represented value for money. The report adds: “The valuation of these flats in Tranent is difficult as there are no other similar flats for sale in the area to make a comparison with and consequently may be under-valued.”

The flats will be added to the council’s rental stock once available.