Further update on Castle Toward

I am pleased to say that officers relented on their wish to keep secret the costs of keeping Castle Toward empty. I was given an apology because the information had already been the subject of a Freedom of Information request, which is fine, but it still doesn’t work for me that the elected member of the ward in which the property is, finds it hard to get the figures.

There is no need for me to do anything other than paste below what I got the other day. It’s still a huge sum of money but the daily costs have come down due to the non-recurring costs being calculated over the longer period. The period is  23 August 2013 to 20 July 2016.

What the figures omit is the council officer time devoted to this property, which must be substantial. Perhaps Alan Stewart’s numbers were about right once officer time and travel are factored in, but who knows, because this isn’t counted.

There is no doubt, though, that had there been any willingness whatsoever to make the community buyout succeed, these costs would have been much less. It is still utterly shameful what has happened.

(a)    Security – £538,612.97

(b)   Maintenance and Repairs including asbestos removal – £57,398.38

(c)    Utilities – Heating oil – £40,740.84; Electricity – £11,231.19

(d)   Ground Maintenance – £16,306

(e)   Internal charges – £0

(f)     Any other costs not specified above but which relate directly to the property or its grounds – Insurance – £32,372.09



  1. Whatever the true figure of the costs incurred in keeping the castle out of the communities hands, these quoted figures are eyewatering. However they have not included council officer time, of which there is a lot. Not included the marketing costs, which will be large given the size of adverts placed in the Times and other mainstream publications. And not included are the substantial legal costs incurred in the protracted negotiations with the preferred bidder. I suspect that if all the real costs are added up if the sale ever goes through, that the council will sell at a loss. Yet more commercial incompetence from our council.

  2. Aye Michael clear as mud from Kilmory as always. The waste in total £696.661.47 and this is acceptable,53 FULLTIME JOBS AT 13K A YEAR and they never blinked .Not to mention the cash sum the Council would have had in its hand from the sale of the building by i.e. the community approx£680,000.00 I believe .But at the same time Kilmory is threatening and progressing with massive cuts to local Council services , to public sector jobs, to the voluntary and community sector, and to local people’s well being and safety . We don’t have to accept this! I set up a petition last year” No confidence in the administration at Argyll And Bute Council “ in an attempt to urge the Scottish Government to sack the whole administration.


  3. Aside from the costs to date, and who knows when the tap can be turned off, the inordinate tIme its taking to conclude the sale would appear to indicate one or several major obstacles which are perhaps irreconcilable, or the prospective purchaser doesn’t have the “readies”. Doing nothing then becomes an option and maybe an opportunity to identify a scapegoat.

  4. Thanks for that info Mike this should be out for public view maybe in the shop window again. Its a huge staggering amount that could have been used to save jobs. Really have to get of the yes men at next years election.

  5. From 23 Aug 13 – 2Aug 16 = 1075 days @ £650pd = colossal £704,533 spent by A&BC on ONE EMPTY property. How many other properties does A&BC have awaiting a sale, disposal or transfer of use also incurring huge amounts of money daily?

  6. Michael hello

    Well done on this – you’ve stuck to getting the facts out.

    The other to the area of cost – or rather income foregone – is that of council tax (from any trading businesses such as those sought by SCCDC) not available to be collected and the wider income effects from employment being created on the Estate. This cannot be quantified without a development proposal in place (such as that put forward by the community) but is part of the continuing loss to Cowal, Argyll & Bute and Scotland more widely.

    Kind regards


  7. Well done Michael..
    Council find it acceptable to spend our council tax on this but when we ask to have our HAZARDOUS waste bin emptied fortnightly we are told ” We need cuts”!!!! What part of HAZARDOUS don’t they understand? I know where the cuts should be made!!

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