Unique Property Bulletin 21 October 2012

Towering Tribute – Kevin McCloud

Bailey Water Tower (c) 2012 Savills

Two things happened this week to light up life here at this end of the computer keyboard, and the Unique Property Bulletin website. We received emails from readers whom we adore. One specifically asked for us to look out for a water tower for him. Hence this listing above. NOT one of Kevin McClouds, BUT it is for sale and fresh – only brought to market a few days before this edition.

The second thing to happen this week was the consistently popular Grand Designs television series hosted by Kevin McCloud celebrated it’s 100th edition. It did this in considerable style, with a very impressive water tower restoration in the centre of London. The 100th edition of Grand Designs did not disappoint. Indeed an impressive 3,000,000 people tuned in to watch this ever popular and enduring property programme favourite ….

“The biggest change I have seen over the years is that people’s ambitions are much less grand. Because they can’t spend their way out of a hole the way they could before the recession, it’s been good for their ingenuity, and ultimately that makes good television. So I think this is our strongest series yet. I’m really excited.

Television is a short-term world, but we plough on. In the lifespan of Grand Designs we’ve had 24 directors, five series producers, three executive producers and we’re on to our sixth commissioning editor at Channel 4. I’ve been on the back burner all this time, in the shadows, under trees, pootling along. I’m very happy to continue to do that.

It’s not a job; it’s a way of life for me. It’s what I do” – Kevin McCloud.

Kevin, you do it well. 100 Grand Designs and still as popular a television programme as ever. Thank you. Here is a “before” photo of the 100th Grand Designs project. Brave souls tackling this. Very impressive seeing these guys turn a crumbling derelict eyesore into a centrepiece of the area in which it stands.

Lambeth Water Tower – Before Renovation (c) 2012 Stephen Craven

For the avoidance of doubt, the photograph above is of the 100th Grand Designs project and is NOT for sale and NOT the Bailey Water Tower we have also listed in this edition. The above Lambeth Water Tower is pictured to show what CAN be accomplished by the sort of eccentric people that watch programmes such as Grand Designs. Here is a link to the finished item….


Though if owners Leigh Osbourne and Graham Voce, ever wish to sell their Lambeth Water Tower, please let us know? It really is a special building, and all the more so with the 360 degree panoramic view over THE London skyline.

Back to this weeks Unique Property Bulletin, and the other tower – the one currently for sale. Named the Bailey Water Tower in Bedfordshire. Specifically included for one of our readers, we have this Grade II listed property that has been newly converted into a most spectacular home.

Bailey Water Tower, Bedfordshire General Accommodation:-

4 Bedrooms.

3 Reception Rooms.

5 Bathrooms.

1 Cinema Room.

A Lot of Stairs, Plus Fortunately An 8 Person Lift.


Exquisite Detailing – Bailey Water Tower (c) 2012 Savills

The property was originally constructed in 1900 in a bold Arts and Crafts design by Henry T Hare. It was build to supply water to Stopsley Park after the drought in 1898, but was then decommissioned in 1960.

The View From The Tower Top (c) 2012 Savills

The Bailey Water Tower has been carefully converted into accommodation set over 6 principal floors, plus a further mezzanine level over the master bedroom. The property provides some of the most up to date and cutting edge technology which complements the high quality and most luxurious fixtures and fittings. The stylish contemporary interior blends beautifully with the magnificence of this most historic building.

The View Inwards Is Quite Good Too (c) 2012 Savills

This building is well placed for those seeking to commute to London with Luton Parkway Railway Station being 1.5 miles away and providing access to London (Kings Cross/St Pancras) from 33 minutes. For those travelling by car, Junction 10 of the M1 is 1 mile away. For the international commuter, London Luton Airport is just 2 miles distant. The historic town of Harpenden is just 4.5 miles distant offering an excellent range of shops, supermarkets, banks and restaurants. The major town of Luton provides a comprehensive range of shopping facilities including the Arndale shopping centre and indoor market.

Nice Interior Design – The Bailey Water Tower (c) 2012 Savills

There are varied sporting and recreational facilities close by with Stockwood Park Golf Club on the doorstep, Luton Hoo Hotel, with Golf and Spa, and Aldwickbury Golf Club all with easy reach.

Before completing the narrative for these two water towers – London and Bedfordshire – this website, the Unique Property Bulletin, would like to place on record a heartfelt thank you to Kevin McCloud and Channel 4 Television for so much enjoyment they have given with the 100 Grand Designs so far filmed. May another 100 Grand Designs follow. Not least, but they have given some of our readers the chance to actually buy one of these Grand Designs as featured in an earlier Bulletin editions …


Grand Design Previously For Sale (second one from the top).

Indeed it would appear that a FEATURED Channel 4 Grand Design is STILL for sale. If curious, please just follow the web link to our Bulletin Archive By Clicking This Blue Link

Even more interesting is the price has reduced from £1,500,000 to £1,250,000.

Meanwhile for this listing, the Bedfordshire Water Tower that has been fully renovated and is for sale can be found at …

Location: The Bailey Water Tower, West Hill Road, Luton, Bedfordshire, LU1 3LY.

Tenure: Freehold.

Guide: £1,500,000.

Contact Savills Tel: 01582 465 000 – Samantha Schon

Online Brochure ….



Library & Literal Legacies

Former Starbeck Library, Harrogate (c) 2012 Pugh & Co., Auctioneers.

Andrew Carnegie started the ball rolling in 1883 with what was to become, by any standards, one of the top ten most philanthropic efforts in history. Indeed no one will ever know how many educational seeds were planted in inquiring minds that then went on to add to the general good of humanity by some young person reading a book from one of the many Carnegie Libraries. It is estimated Andrew Carnegie funded some 3,000 libraries, located in the United Kingdom, plus some 47 American States, and also in Canada. An incredible amount. For anyone with a heart for this sort of human spirit, it is well worth reading a little about this inspirational person…


On the topic of libraries, there is also an important article about Public Library Advocacy


So where does this leave the former Starbeck Library in Harrogate – and MANY other libraries?

Just a thought, but lots of people the length and breadth of the UK are getting fed up of austerity and cuts.

A particularly harsh cut is the fact an increasing number of libraries are closing. This is a fundamental issue. Why does this matter? Please look around you. Your home, almost everything in it. Every building, or car, or television, or computer; all the hospital machinery that saves lives – the heart bypass machines, the MRI scanners, the operating theatres. Everything man-made was, to be literal, made by mankind. Dug from minerals and resources of the earth. There’s a thought to give some consideration to.

Here’s more: a significant part of that creativity of the human race dates back to Johannes Guttenberg and the invention of the printing press….


This huge leap forward with the creation of books, of course led to libraries. Without libraries, it is a fair thing to say that humanity would not be as advanced as it is today. Monumental philanthropists such as Andrew Carnegie saw, ahead of his time: the importance of educating the next generation.

So our plea, from Unique Property Bulletin (and we try not to do this too often) is for someone to do something unique here. Consider buying a former library as an experiment.

As many readers know, we have had accidental successes similar to this in other unusual experiments – the renovation and reopening of closed shops for example – Unique Property Syndicate – Shop Reopening Initiative

What does this have to do with libraries? Well here is an idea. If you buy an old closed building such as the Starbeck Library (in fact if one comes up for sale in Scotland we will join the idea), perhaps consider applying for PART change of use. Install some residential accommodation, BUT also keep a library style function in the remaining part of the building. We would recommend adding an internet-cafe function to update the library appeal and usefulness – Unique Property Syndicate – Part Internet Cafe Reopening Project (ninth photo down the page) as we have found this to be a very popular idea. Books, Computers, Brains, Coffee. It really is more popular than you might believe.

This Unique Property Bulletin has a profound wish for libraries to continue in some form as a public service and educational facility. Rather than closing – to transfer an old closed library to a small family ownership and run entity is not perfect. BUT it does still keep alive, and in spite of massive public funding cuts, a way of having a library in most towns.

Former Starbeck Library, Harrogate (c) 2012 Pugh & Co., Auctioneers.

This particular library in Harrogate for example may very well lend itself to a full and separate mezzanine floor being installed. As you cans see from the photograph there is plenty of room to install a second floor. This would allow most of the existing library area on the ground floor to be utilised as a library and internet-cafe. The newly installed floor above could be used by the new owner as their unusual home. There is even a lifestyle job within the idea.

So what would you have? A unique achievement. A unique home, along with a unique place to work. You would also have a library and internet cafe and keep at least some of the old building alive in the way the Andrew Carnegie’s of this world intended.

Your dividend? A unique home and a unique lifestyle. Plus maybe something more. Something that little bit special. You may have a literal legacy.

Next step: if this private-home-and-privately-funded-library remaining open idea appeals? Try a chat with the Local Planning Office, Harrogate Borough Council, Council Offices, Crescent Gardens, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, HG1 2SG. Tel: 01423 500 600.

Please let us know how you get on?

Location: Former Starbeck Library, The Avenue, Starbeck, Harrogate, West Yorkshire, HG1 4QB

Tenure: Freehold.

Guide: £175,000 to £185,000 BUT this failed to sell at auction. Combined with the principle of a privately owned home-and-library idea, if presented to the council selling the building, they might, just might accept a significantly lower offer to help you get this project under way.

Contact Pugh & Co., Auctioneers Tel: 0844 722444.

Online Brochure ….



Beautiful Beamed Bergholt Barn

Threshers Barn, Colchester (c) 2012 Fine Agencies

Threshers enjoys a private south westerly facing partly walled garden and has been completed to the highest standard. In brief on the ground floor you will find an impressionable vaulted reception hall …

Threshers Barn, Colchester (c) 2012 Fine Agencies

…. capacious kitchen dining room, utility room, living room with covered sun terrace and guest bedroom. Whilst on the first floor there is the gallery overlooking the vaulted reception hall and two sizable bedrooms both with en-suite.

Threshers Barn – Impressive From Any Angle (c) 2012 Fine Agencies

Located in desirable East Bergholt, and tucked away down a country lane, the three barn-style homes offer space, style and views out across open fields.

Property Summary:-

3 Bedrooms – Main Bedroom With balcony

Kitchen/Dining Room


Under Floor Heating

Garden & Water Features

Location: Threshers Barn, Moores Lane, East Bergholt, Colchester, CO7 6RB.

Tenure: Freehold.

Guide: £899,500.

Contact Fine Agencies Tel: 01206 564259.

Online Brochure ….



Cheeky Cheapie Church

Former Baptist Church (c) 2012 Wilsons Auctioneers.

We aim to cover ALL of the united Kingdom, and ALL budgets for our readers. Having started this Bulletin edition with a building at over a million pounds, and the second entry under that level, but only just, here we have a modest offering. You could buy 20 of these for one of the barns above

Located just off Walkinshaw Street this spacious single storey property is currently a church premises and comprises of a wide welcoming substantial and well maintained single storey building. It would lend itself to many purposes as its location is near the Town Centre facilities. Reception Hall 18’00 x 15’1, Stage Hall 49’3 x 29’00 plus area of stage, Church Hall 21’00 x 35’3, Meeting Hall 20’11 x 14’9, Creche 15’10 x 15’1 with toilets 9’6 x 6’1, Kitchen 13’8 x 9’4, Gents Toilets approx 12′ x 8′, Vestry 12’11 x 11′. Plus additional passages and storage cupboard. Total area in excess of 3500 sqft.

Location: Former Baptist Church, Walkinshaw Street, Johnstone, PA5 8AF.

Tenure: Feuhold (Scottish Equivalent of Freehold).

Guide: £48,000 BUT failed to sell at auction (18th Oct 2012) so maybe a cheeky offer starting with the number “3” might elicit an interesting response. Either that or the auctioneer will cough his coffee all over the keyboard (only kidding – he won’t – we know him – he is an absolute gentleman)

Contact Wilsons Auction House Tel: 01294 833444 – Mr Paul Bott.

Online Brochure ….



Odd Tower & Extras

Stone Tower, Manor Lane (c) 2012 Knight Frank Agencies

Continuing our theme this week of towers, we now land in Warwickshire. Here we have one that doesn’t quite sit right on the page. It is significant building, but the upper decks really do need a little adjustment to straighten out what currently appears inconsistent and at odds with an otherwise fine vernacular.

That having been observed, this is an unusual building. It also has additional accommodation which in many circumstances can be very useful. The main building has a definite historic feel about it, but with subtle lighting and creature comforts…

Stone Tower, Manor Lane (c) 2012 Knight Frank Agencies

The Stone Tower has been described as architecturally and historically one of the most puzzling ancient monuments in Warwickshire. The tower has been thoroughly restored and adapted for modern living and the ground floor wing, designed by the architect George G Pace to complement the main building. The property is full of interesting features and elements and offers excellent accommodation. Features include solid oak doors, hardwood double glazed windows to the wing, Cumberland slate floor, stone mullion windows, sandstone walls and stained glass window depicting the arms of Richard Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick dated 1439.

Stone Tower, Manor Lane (c) 2012 Knight Frank Agencies

Where the Tower meets the garden is a lovely room. The ancestor of a modern day conservatory. Within the tower is a first floor drawing room and study with gallery over. Atop, there is a fine roof terrace with far reaching views. In the grounds is extra accommodatio – a cottage with two bedrooms. Further features include a double garage, and well stocked mature gardens – with a parterre garden with box hedging and urn and walled garden plus ornamental pool.

Detail Summary:-

5 Bedrooms

3-4 Reception Rooms

3 Bathrooms

Gardens & Land


Secondary Accommodation

Private Parking

Approximately 1.26 acres (0.5 hectares)

Location: Stone Tower, Manor Lane, Claverdon, Near Warwick, Warwickshire, CV35 8NH.

Tenure: Freehold.

Guide: £1,750,000.

Contact Knight Frank Agencies Tel: 01789 297735 – James Way.

Online Brochure ….



Mill Emailer

Mill House, Roxburghshire (c) 2012 Smith Gore Agencies

“A converted mill in the north please”.

That was what the straight forward email said as it was read.

Hopefully this might fit the bill. A sympathetically converted mill with adaptable accommodation. Mill House has six bedroom property with an annex. Ideal as a combination of an interesting family home and holiday accommodation or a Bed & Breakfast business. All located in a peaceful edge-of-village setting, just a mile into the Scottish Borders.

A particular feature of the house is the stunning drawing room, with glazed door opening to a balcony giving spectacular views across the Bowmont Valley. The luxury breakfasting kitchen has an Aga as its focal point and is the heart of the home, whilst a terraced garden extends to the front of the property with a double garage ample gravelled off-road parking for a number of vehicles.

Mill House Interior (c) 2012 Smith Gore Agencies

The property is located on the edge of Kirk Yetholm. The twin villages of Town Yetholm and Kirk Yetholm lie either side of the valley of the Bowmont Water, about a quarter of a mile apart, and benefit from a village shop, butchers, post office, primary school and two pubs. The market town of Kelso (8 miles) provides wider shopping and professional service facilities whilst Berwick-upon-Tweed (21 miles) provides direct mainline railway services to the regional cities of Edinburgh and Newcastle upon Tyne (both circa 50 minutes), as well as London Kings Cross (approximately 3½ hours). Edinburgh (53 miles) and Newcastle-upon-Tyne (59 miles) are commutable.

Location: Mill House, Main Street Kelso, Kirk Yetholm, Kelso, Roxburghshire, TD5 8PE.

Tenure: Feuhold (Scottish Equivalent of Freehold).

Guide: £695,000.

Contact Smith Gore Agencies Tel: 01289 333030.

Online Brochure ….



In case you missed it, and in addition to our weekly Unique Property Bulletin – our monthly FEATURE has been uploaded and is available via this link ….

Click Here For Monthly FEATURE


…. and finally

Six Lautner Buildings For Sale

The Schaffer Residence – Film Home To Colin Firth (c) 2012 Crosby Doe

Following our Infinite Space Feature, we have just discovered that no fewer than six of these wonderful buildings are for sale just now.

Curbed LA have announced five Lautner homes are currently on the market …

Schaffer Residence (Glendale): small jewel that was featured in A Single Man, featuring Colin Firth. Currently listed at $1.395 M.


Carling Residence (Hollywood Hills): one of three Lautner designs that feature a three-point steel truss support, eliminating the need for interior posts. Listed for $2.995M

Bergren Residence (Hollywood Hills): one of the earliest, the house was rebuilt after a fire and has experienced other changes since. Listed for $1.495M

Baxter Residence (West Hollywood): actually a remodel that has been since remodeled. Some Lautner touches remain. Listed for $2.995M

Polin Residence (Hollywood Hills): another of the three featuring a three-point steel truss support. For lease at $10K/mo.


Plus a sixth Lautner building on it’s way to market ……

The Garwood Residence in Malibu – listing at $15.9M.

Any Unique Property Bulletin readers who have an interest in Lautner, but are having any difficulty locating the Realtor concerned, please email us by clicking on this link and we shall do our best to help.


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