A car park and public toilets at a Peak District beauty-spot are set to handed over to a hotel – for just £1.
The Monsal Head public toilets and 12 spaces in the adjoining car park are to be sold to the Monsal Head Hotel, which sits at the beloved Monsal Dale viewpoint and is owned by Penelope Thornton Hotels.
It has rented the 12 car parking spaces from Derbyshire Dales District Council since 2006 and currently pays £4,000 a year to do so.
Now the council is set to permanently hand over these spots, along with the public toilets, for £1.
The toilets and adjoining site require around £20,000 in repairs and the overall value of the land set to be handed over is £70,000 – which would be £100,000 if the land did not have to be retained as a car park and toilet block.
Council officers said: “The public conveniences building is in poor condition and would require significant capital investment to address building defects and bring up to modern standards.
“The area of leased car park land is partly maintained by Penelope Thornton Hotels (PTH) under their lease with the remainder (which is in poor condition) being the responsibility of the district council.
“It is envisaged that the arrangement with PTH will enable future provision of public convenience facilities at this site at no cost to the district council.
“There will be some loss of rental income by selling the currently-leased parking spaces but this is more than offset by the savings in running costs of the public conveniences and the capital expenditure required to repair the areas not covered under the car park lease to PTH.”
Full refurbishment of the public toilets would be set to take place in late 2019, during which members of the public would be allowed to use the hotel’s toilets. Once fully reopened, it would remain open all year – except in “extreme weather”.
Minor refurbishment currently ongoing at the site will enable the toilets to reopen later this year.
In April, Derbyshire Dales District Council agreed to close ten of its 26 public toilets – which were costing the authority £467,000 each year overall.
It hopes that local businesses or parish councils may take on the ownership of these sites to prevent their full closure.
The ten loos which were closed as of May 14 are: Ashbourne’s Recreation Ground, Bakewell’s Riverside, Birchover, Darley Dale, Artist’s Corner Matlock Dale, Matlock Bath Pavilion, Matlock Hall Leys Park Play Area, Monsal Head, Monyash and Thorpe.
Alongside this, six sites will have a 20p charge introduced.