Tuesday this week saw a bidding war take place between 10 eager gents as each made a mad dash for a decommissioned public toilet. Some went expecting only to pay a penny, but Cawston builder Nick Willan came away £104,000 lighter, having paid £74,000 more than the guide price. Reports indicate that the rest seemed exceptionally uncomfortable at the result.
In a romantic twist, Mr Willan reportedly revealed that the building, a two bedroom, two storey, single unit holiday property located on the sea wall in Sheringham, was a 30th anniversary present for his wife. Decommissioned only in 2006, we understand that a makeover including a spiral staircase and mezzanine floor could be in store for the hundred-year-old sea front dwelling.
Tim Goodwin, the www.propertysurveying.co.uk member Chartered Surveyor for Sheringham, added: “The property is a classic ‘loo with a view’. The planning permission gives an opportunity to convert the property to a two-bed holiday cottage and benefit from a superb sea view. The property is situated literally on the sea wall and such unique opportunities nearly always attract a great deal of interest.”
Council officials commented that the money, hugely more than expected, would cover the costs of a plush new toilet block with thousands to spare and yet this is not the first time a public convenience has proved extremely convenient to budget strapped councils. It has been reported that a two-storey lavatory near Fulham Broadway in London was sold for £403,000 – four times the guide price – just three years ago. Not only this, but the previous year saw a one-storey loo in St Andrews reportedly sold for £195,000 – also more than four times the expected figure.
It could be that this trend continues to grow over the coming years as more public service buildings move into private usage. Many authorities, therefore, will be hoping that this isn’t just a flash in the pan.
31st May 2011