EXCLUSIVE: Fury over loss of 12 parking spaces
By Simon Hacker | 22nd September 2023
A row has erupted over the sale of a block of garages for development in a Cotswold town with accusations that the local council, which owns the facility, has ignored the community's needs.
Having instructed the garage tenants to vacate the site earlier this year, Stroud District Council (SDC) enlisted London agents Allsop to auction its block of six garages with an adjoining roadside apron of parking for six additional cars, in Wotton-under-Edge.
The section of land, opposite recent new development at Dryleaze Court, sits between existing bungalows and warden-assisted accommodation. SDC previously prepared the sale with outline permission for demolition of the garages and replacement with a 538 sq ft one-bedroom bungalow.
Marketed with a guide price guide of £50,000, the hammer fell on the sale yesterday at £84,000 and local interest was reported to be strong, with at least six buyers hoping for a winning bid.
But Wotton shopkeeper Mike Smylie, who pursued the sale along with a business partner, hit out at the final sale. Having bid with his partner up to £60,000, he told Punchline-Gloucester.com that they had planned to retain two garages and secure the remainder for people in the town who are desperate to find parking space.
Mr Smylie said: "Stroud District Council should be ashamed of itself.
"We were bidding as we wanted to keep the garages as they are, rather than knocking them down to make way for one poxy one-bedroomed house which there is now planning for.
"We had six garages here with six parking spaces in front, so 12 spaces in all – all lost for one tiny, irrelevant house which will have one parking space. Parking is already a problem in our town and they have just made it worse."
However, a local property developer who attended the sale has suggested that the bungalow conversion is not now a practical proposition – and they anticipate that the garages will survive to meet the town's needs.
The developer, who asked not to be named, said: "It's been quite a bungle because they sold the planning permission with a deadline that now runs out on November 24th, which obviously presents quite a flawed proposition for any buyer who will now have to sort the purchase and get spades in the ground by that date.
"As such, I think it more than likely that the garages will end up staying put, which is good news for local needs - though they certainly paid a handsome price for the deal."
Punchline-Gloucester.com has approached Stroud District Council for comment.
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