EYPE BEACH near Bridport – part of Dorset’s world-famous Jurassic Coast – is to be sold by West Dorset District Council.
The beach’s value is reckoned by the council to be £1.
“Anticipated proceeds” from the sale of Eype Beach are also officially recorded as £1.
The beach was first bought by the Borough of Bridport in 1932 to protect it from gravel extraction. It was inherited by West Dorset District Council when that came into existence in 1974.
So, could you or I really now buy a Dorset beach for £1? It is possible that more would have to be paid.
In response to a query from Real West Dorset, a council spokesperson said: “As part of its Asset Management Plan, West Dorset District Council’s technical services team has conducted a general review of the council’s property assets.
“Reviews such as this ensure that the council adopts a strategic approach to managing its property and is prudent given the current economic climate.
“Eype Beach does not provide an income to the council but the property does have associated management costs and legal liabilities. The report therefore concludes that there is no reason why the council should continue to own it and recommends that it is sold.
“The lack of income generated by the beach accounts for the low asset value recorded in the report. However, this is not an indication of what a buyer may pay for the property.
“The council has an obligation to its council tax payers to get the best return it can from its assets and the capital obtained from the sale of property pays for the capital investments that the council makes into the local community.”
The proposed sale of Eype Beach is part of a series of property disposals that West Dorset District Council hopes will bring in £1.5 million.
That’s aside from the millions expected to accrue from the sale in Dorchester of Stratton House (anticipated proceeds, £3 million), Glyde Path House (£500,000), the frontage of Trinity Street car park (£114,000) and the long lease of Charles Street car park (judged with the Old Market car park to be worth £1,579,211).
UPDATED: The artist Amanda Wallwork has pointed out that West Dorset District Council’s executive committee did resolve to give the council’s technical services manager approval to dispose of a long list of property “in acordance with the council’s disposal policy”. The only proviso with regard to Eype Beach – and land at West Cliff & Great Piece, West Bay – was that specialist auctioneers should be sought.
The statement below was put out by West Dorset District Council on January 11.
- In response to strong media interest in a council report in which Eype beach was included on a list of properties to be considered for sale, West Dorset District Council has released the following statement.
Speaking about Eype beach, West Dorset District Council Leader Robert Gould said:
“This land was acquired by the local council many years ago in order to protect it against gravel extraction. The land is not being sold at the moment, but we will be taking specialist advice before deciding how to proceed.
“It is good practice for public organisations to regularly review the assets they hold on behalf of the public.
“Eype beach does not currently provide an income to the council, but the land has associated management costs and legal liabilities. This is why a nominal value of £1 has been recorded in the council’s asset management plan. Clearly this is not an indication of what a buyer may expect to pay for the land – it is a nominal figure only.
“Eype beach is part of the Jurassic Coast world heritage site and a popular beauty spot. It is loved by many local people and visitors alike.
“If the council did decide to sell the land it would want to ensure future public access and responsible management of this important land.”
At this time West Dorset District Council has only one property for sale. The Tannery Road site in Bridport consists of four shops and a café. (Click here to read about the sale of the Cafe Royal). The site is to be sold by public auction 25 February 2011 and the selling agents are Symonds & Sampson.
Contact details for Symonds & Sampson: 23 South Street, Bridport, Dorset, DT6 3NU – Tel 01308 422092
People interested in this matter are advised that West Dorset District Council are unable to offer any further information at present. Media enquiries and requests from members of the public will be met with the statement provided above.