Town Council's windfall as Chantry Lane toilets sell for double their valuation

Written by Tony Millett on .


Marlborough's Chantry Lane public toilets, which have been closed for some months, have been sold at auction for more than double their valuation price.  Small as the footprint is of these toilets, they have been bought from the Town Council for development.

The auction sale in Bath on June 22 saw the toilets sold for £164,000 - they had been valued by the Council's surveyor and estate agent at between £50,000 and £70,000 without planning permission.  After legal fees and the agent's commission, the Council will receive £158,750.

Councillor Guy Loosmore attended the auction: "Bidding started very slowly - and my hopes fell. Then suddenly it hit off - with two or three bidding against each other."

The boarded up toiletsThe boarded up toiletsThe valuation of the toilets if they had had planning permission was set at £80-100,000. However, the building did carry 'favourable pre-planning application advice' from Wiltshire Council.

The Town Council had to persuade Wiltshire to grant a 'Deed of Release' to cancel five restrictive covenants on the future use of the toilets.  

This cancellation enable the building to be sold on the open market with the proceeds destined for the renovation of the George Lane Car park toilets, which had been transferred to the Town Council by Wiltshire Council when the latter gave up providing public toilets.

So they could do the necessary work on the George Lane toilets before closing the Chantry Lane toilets, the Town Council had to take out a £90,190 'Public Works Loan'.  To date only Phase One of the work on the George Lane toilets has been completed - so they could be re-opened.

Final decisions on Phase Two - which may include an additional toilet cubicle, roof repairs and a Tourist Information Point - will be made soon.

There is a 'but' to this happy saga:  all the proceeds from the sale have to be spent on the George Lane toilets.  Any money left over will have to be split 50-50 with Wiltshire Council.