Do ‘priorities’ spring to mind?

Hastings Observer letters
Hastings Observer letters

From: Richard Heritage, Old Bury Hill Gardens, Dorking

Following the various articles and letters over the past few months in the Observer of public toilets being closed due to running costs, how there is penury in the council coffers forcing various other cutbacks.

I was quite astonished when I read Mr McGinley’s informative letter where he revealed the council is spending £79,000 on this diminutive seafront kiosk opposite the weather station. This entrepreneurial venture by HBC to provide some unknown seasonal business investment is a trifling amount if you consider their other recent purchases many may be unaware of what they have cost.

At the beginning of this year HBC announced it had purchased the old Focus DIY site, now reoccupied, on Seddlescombe Road North.

Cllr Chowney said it was a good investment earning the council £150,000 in rents from Dunelm Mills and Pets at Home.

What they didn’t disclose was the purchase price. Just a cool £7,252,500 according to Land Registry records, without of course the legal fees.

While not claiming to be a property investment expert, I have to wonder how the council came up with the notion this was a great investment.

This income generates just two per cent gross which means it will take about 45 years to break even.

With the dire shortage of affordable housing could this money have been used to build some council houses that would probably generate a higher gross profit and give some deserving people a home?

Within the last 12 months HBC purchased Aquila House (now Muriel Matters) for over £4 million from an offshore Caribbean registered company having rented it for several years.

Is this seventies concrete structure a good investment for the money?

Another large expense one cannot overlook on the issue of spending tax payer’s money has been the cost of Rocklands – Ecclesbourne Glen debacle and the Bunker, a mere £92,000 incurred for legal, professional, surveys and report costs.

Now going back to a basic amenity, those public toilets, does the word “priorities” spring to one’s mind?

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