Fancy buying our public toilets?
PUBLIC toilets in two towns are set to be sold off by a cash-strapped council.
Staffordshire Moorlands District Council is considering selling off the toilets and five parcels of land with six of the sites expected to be sold before the end of the year.
The authority hopes to raise cash and cut maintenance costs by selling the assets, which include the public toilets which have been closed since 2003.
Cabinet members were updated on the asset disposal programme at their meeting yesterday.
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Their report reveals that 'considerable progress' has been made since the sites were first identified for disposal in 2009.
The assets are:
Former public toilets in High Street, Cheadle, Ball Haye Green, Leek and Mill Street, Leek;
77 Tunstall Road, Biddulph;
Land at Wharf Road, Biddulph;
Land at Newcastle Road, Leek;
Land off Kiln Lane, Leek;
Employment land at Victoria Business Park, Biddulph.
Terms of sale for the site in Tunstall Road have already been agreed, while the former toilets in Cheadle are currently on the market.
Most of the other sites are set to be reviewed for their suitability for sale or letting.
The land at Wharf Road is currently being used as a site compound during the construction of Biddulph Primary Care Centre, and will be marketed once the building work is finished in the spring.
The district council is working with the Government's Homes and Communities Agency to market plots at Victoria Business Park for disposal.
Now a further review is expected to identify more assets for disposal. The report to cabinet states: "The review of all assets will identify any surplus buildings.
"Once approved these buildings will be sold to generate capital receipts and reduce the council's backlog maintenance liability and revenue spend.
"It is essential that all assets held by the council are challenged to ensure that the council is maximising income streams and managing the portfolio and identifying opportunities for further development."
Council leaders today stressed that next year's budget was not dependent on the sales.
Conservative council leader Sybil Ralphs, below, said: "These assets are surplus to requirements and so disposing of them is just good housekeeping.
"We are hoping to dispose of all the assets which have been identified, but time will tell if that happens."
Meanwhile, negotiations over the disposal of the old council offices in Cheadle are continuing.
Cheadle Town Council looks likely to take over the Leek Road building, but the deal has yet to be finalised.
Mrs Ralphs added: "That building costs us up to £90,000 a year to maintain, and the only thing it is used for is Cheadle Town Council's meetings.
"The current plan is for the town council to lease the offices and then look to give them two years' free rent.
"We are hoping that the town council will put a business plan together with ourselves."