Property sales continue to raise council cash

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Foley House
Image caption,
John Nash grade 11* listed Foley House in Haverfordwest is currently empty but was used as magistrates court offices

Cash-strapped councils across Wales are continuing to sell off surplus property.

A snapshot survey by BBC Wales found councils selling off parcels of land, old public toilets and the odd listed building.

Even smaller items are for sale and earlier this year Conwy council said its eBay account has raised over £16,000 in six years.

It has sold everything from a photocopier to a 19th Century desk.

Tim Goodwin, from Williams and Goodwin The Property People, in north Wales said the company regularly sold land and property for local councils.

"There can be a cross section of property available and a toilet block in south Wales was brought recently by an investor, purely because it had fantastic views not because it was a former public convenience," he said.

"The quirky building will be of more interest but invariably it depends on the location," he added.

A former school at Bodorgan on Anglesey was one of the latest properties up for auction.

It came with a guide price of between £50,000-£60,000 and with planning permission to develop a three-bedroomed house, he said.

Despite the ups and downs of the property market, millions of pounds have been raised in council property sales over the past two years.

Since April 2009, Pembrokeshire County Council has sold 53 properties and land worth approximately £2.7 million.

Out of this, eight properties were council houses sold for £645,000 under the Right-To-Buy scheme.

"We currently have four items for sale at an approximate value of around £500,000," said a spokesman.

"These include the former Pennar School in Pembroke Dock, a Grade II listed building, Foley House in Haverfordwest, plus a council depot in Crymych," he added.

Image caption,
For sale by tender by Gwynedd Council - former offices in Tywyn

Cardiff Council said it has raised £3,851,530 "from property sales completed in the last financial year and to date this year".

Wrexham council meanwhile sold an industrial unit, residential property, a former youth centre, a farmhouse, and a former care home (sold to enable the development of an extra care facility on site).

Those sales over the past two years total £1.56m.

"The council currently has one former school on the market following the development of a new school at a different location in the area," said a spokesman.

"Generally the council's policy for the use of the proceeds of sales is to invest in school buildings," he added.

In Powys, public toilets, small holdings, former schools and offices have raised around £13m.

Still for sale are a community centre in Welshpool with offers of around £130,000 invited, and a small-holding with Grade II listed farmhouse in Meifod.

Gwynedd, council has raised £1.52m from sale of its property and currently has former offices at Tywyn institute, a former Ministry of Defence and scout hut at Bethesda, and a plot of land at the Agri Food Park in Llanystumdwy for sale.

Former council properties are sometimes "not the easiest" place to take on however.

"A Victorian toilet block might be listed and so be more difficult to redevelop, whilst a 1960s block could be knocked down and something else built," said Tim Goodwin.

The property market as a whole was "unpredictable", he said.

"But as always the right property for the right price always sells," he added.

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