Littleport councillors kick up a stink over sale of toilet block

PUBLISHED: 13:05 10 April 2008 | UPDATED: 10:20 04 May 2010

Cllr Fred Brown

Cllr Fred Brown

LITTLEPORT councillors have kicked up a stink over the asking price on a set of run-down toilets. The parish council will now need to find £50,000, almost half its annual income, in order to use the decommissioned toilet block as a neighbourhood police o

LITTLEPORT councillors have kicked up a stink over the asking price on a set of run-down toilets.

The parish council will now need to find £50,000, almost half its annual income, in order to use the decommissioned toilet block as a neighbourhood police office.

Cambridgeshire Constabulary had allocated £60,000 in this year's budget to renovate the High Street toilets, which have stood unused and dilapidated for more than 10 years.

Parish councillors have agreed wholeheartedly to a police office in principle, but cannot lease the land to police until they own it.

Littleport district councillor Fred Brown, said: "The land was inherited by the county council so the cost to them was nil. It's only when we wanted to change the use of the land that we've come up against this. County council have signed up to the Community Safety Partnership agenda with great gusto, but it really comes down to whether they want to work in partnership with us and the police to get a police office off the ground."

If neither the district, nor the parish council cannot find £50,000, the site will be sold on the open market.

Suzanne Stones, surveyor for the county council, wrote to Littleport Parish Council: "As you are aware, the county council is under a statutory duty to obtain Best Consideration on the sale of surplus assets. Therefore, the policy is that each asset should be sold at Best Consideration unless otherwise agreed by cabinet."

But Cllr Brown insisted that the county council could be more flexible in its approach.

"They have several other concessions they can make to best consideration, for example if the asset will be used for community benefit. County have stripped the village of all youth facilities and provision and have just got a vast capital receipt from the site of the old Village College.

"The simple fact is, the county council have a moral obligation to put something back in to Littleport." he added.

A county council spokesperson said: "We've had this conversation with Littleport Parish Council a number of times, and we have a statutory duty to get the best value from our assets. If they can put together a formal business plan and make a case as to why we should give it to them at less than market value, then we will consider it."

The spokesman added: "We are sympathetic to their situation."

It was confirmed that the site would not be put on the open market "at this time." The toilets have also been offered to East Cambridgeshire District Council.

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