Fenland Council flushed with success after auction of assets raises over £216,000

PUBLISHED: 12:54 24 February 2020 | UPDATED: 13:25 24 February 2020

A room which is situated between two businesses in Wisbech was sold for £1 by auctioneer Simon Arnes, from William H Brown. Picture: Archant/William H Brown

A room which is situated between two businesses in Wisbech was sold for £1 by auctioneer Simon Arnes, from William H Brown. Picture: Archant/William H Brown

Archant/William H Brown

Fenland Council bagged over £216,000 from the sale of a handful of assets that ranged from redundant public toilets to a former garage site.

Disused toilet block in Chatteris sold at auction for £17,000.  Picture: FENLAND DISTRICT COUNCILDisused toilet block in Chatteris sold at auction for £17,000. Picture: FENLAND DISTRICT COUNCIL

The six surplus buildings and parcels of land all sold at an auction in Norwich.

It will mean a new owner, and new use, for public conveniences in Chatteris that saw bidders drive up the guide price by 70 per cent.

The toilets on Station Street sold for £17,000 against a guide price of £10,000.

A former garage site off off Crescent Road, Whittlesey, with outline planning permission for three homes, sold for £90,000.

Also reaching its guide price was a plot of land north of 7 Glebe Close, Chatteris, with outline planning permission for a single home. It was snapped up for £30,000.

Fenland Council also own a former parking space adjacent to 80 Upwell Road, March. It had a guide price of £45,000 and was sold after the auction for £44,750.

In Wisbech a a 0.14 acre piece of land with permission for a single home had a guide price of between £25,000-£35,000. On the day it fetched the top estimate and was bought for £35,000.

The sixth asset sold at auction fetched the least but attracted the most publicity.

It was sold at auction for just £1 - even though the new owner will need to find a way of getting inside.

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In the most remarkable sale, a curious historic room in Wisbech went under the hammer in the saleroom and did not even make its £100 guide price.

Instead, auctioneer Simon Arnes, from William H Brown, brought the gavel down for just £1. The buyer was a local businessman who didn't want to comment about why he had bought it, but with the property next door in the historic line of buildings coming up for sale, he may be looking to extend.

Mr Arnes, who has been in the business for almost 50 years, said: "In all my career as an auctioneer, that's the lowest amount someone has paid at auction for a property."

His auction manager, Victoria Reek, agreed. "It sold for £1, just £1, how amazing was that? But we sold it and he is a local businessman."

The buyer will have paid more in fees than the actual price of the property, paying around £1,000 in total and no doubt paid for the lot in full rather than simply putting a deposit down.

The lot, in Nene Quay, which came up at the sale held at Dunston Hall Hotel, was a curious one because no one, including the auctioneer, had accessed the room, situated over a passageway and known as a "flying freehold". Until the businessman manages to access it, no one even knows what's inside.

The auction details state: "This is an opportunity to acquire a flying freehold which extends over part of a vehicular access passageway and comprises a single, currently inaccessible room, measuring approximately 12 sqm.

"There is limited information and we have not, at this stage, gained access."

Situated at 5-6 Nene Quay, it is between the Tasty China restaurant at number 5 and Bridge Insurance office next door.

A flying freehold means it has no structure underneath but extends over a passageway.

Historic documents show the buildings along Nene Quay were originally shops and granaries, timber-framed and jettied with the upper floor built protruding from the lower floor.

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