Debate Magazine

"Dorchester Car Park Spaces to Cost £40,500 Each"

Posted on the 15 August 2018 by Markwadsworth @Mark_Wadsworth

From the BBC:
A council which spent nearly £1m buying and relocating a church wants to use the site for 23 new car parking spaces... Council documents valued the church at £350,000 but, at the time of purchase, the site's redevelopment potential pushed the value up to £700,000.
The Conservative-led authority also agreed to pay the church £205,000 for its new building next to Damers School in Poundbury and £25,000 in professional fees.
Liberal Democrat Ms Hosford, who represents Dorchester North, said: "The projected income from the extra spaces created cannot possibly justify the huge amount of expenditure that will have gone into producing them."

A council paying for 'redevelopment potential' is madness, because quite what the permitted development is is up to the very same council to decide. Had the council made it clear that they would refuse all planning applications, they could have bought the site for peanuts. Had the council granted permission for a twenty-storey tower block, the redevelopment potential would have been much higher, so why not grant that permission and then pay £10 million for the site?
Be that as it may, the Lib Dem lady is succumbing to the 'big scary numbers' fallacy. Google Maps shows that the church is in the corner of an existing large car park, so they can now re-jig the layout and add maybe 30 or 40 parking spaces, not just 23.
The council ought to know its average income per parking space, let's assume it's £5 a day, Mon - Sat, 52 weeks a year. Potential income from 30 extra spaces = £46,800, which in this day and age is a reasonable return on an outlay of £1 million.


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