PROPERTIES bought for millions of pounds to make way for the doomed M4 relief road are now being put back on the market.

One senior politician has hit out at what he described as an "outrageous waste of taxpayers' money" and said the bill for the cancelled project was now likely to top £20 million.

Mr German expressed anger that the Assembly will have spent more than £6 million on buying land and property that lay in the path of the proposed route only for them now to start selling them back in a depressed property market.

Although six of the 14 properties were sold on the open market they realised just under £1.9 million.

Michael German, South Wales East AM, uncovered the figures through a written question to Deputy First Minister Ieuan Wyn Jones.

Answers provided to Mr German showed that the 14 properties were bought for £5.2 million with another £342,000 in fees, disturbance and home loss payments.

Another two properties are in the process of being acquired at estimated value of £950,000.

There was a legal obligation to continue with these as statutory blight notices were served before the decision not to continue with the new road.

Liberal Democrat Mr German said it was a staggering amount of money to buy up a small number of properties and it was unlikely the Assembly would get back all the money that was spent.

"This outrageous waste of taxpayers' money is down to the indecision of the Plaid-Labour government. They were elected to make a decision back in 2007 and have spent over two years unable to make up their minds and the result is £20 million of taxpayers' money lost."

It was revealed in the summer that the Assembly spent £16 million on design and development work for the new motorway before the plans were scrapped.

An Assembly spokesperson said: "We are undertaking a review of the ‘protected status’ of the previously proposed route of the M4 Relief Road, on which the remaining properties lie.

“After considering this review the Deputy First Minister will decide on whether or not to continue protecting the preferred route for planning purposes. In the meantime we are receiving an annual income of £85k in rent from the properties.

“All properties are bought and sold at the current market rate determined by the District Valuers Office."