Unique Property Bulletin 23 September 2012

Plockton Parishioner Paradise

Hamish MacBeth’s Loch Dubh – But What Is For Sale? (c) 2012 Mr Richard Dorrell.

You don’t know what you have ’till it’s gone. Yesterday I was emptying the loft and came across some old police shirts from a previous occupation of many years ago. This obscure point is mentioned as so often happens, the oddest of things set in train a thought process that lead somewhere unexpected. Those old shirts brought back wonderful memories of a time on the island of Islay. Occasionally, the Police Landrover – almost identical to Hamish MacBeth’s – would need to be taken across via the small car ferry to the adjacent island of Jura to show face. It took some figuring out that whenever a policeman set foot on the remote island of Jura, there was just the one car, resplendent with the one car tax disc parked outside the local hotel. To this day it is only rumour, but a fellow officer mentioned with a wry smile that one of the islanders had a marine VHF radio set tuned into the same frequency used by the ferry – allegedly. It seemed islanders knew when the stripy Landrover with the blue flashy thing atop was on its way across to visit. All Jura island cars miraculously melted away behind the brewery, and behind the locked gate. All perfectly legal. My colleague said the islanders apparently all club together for the one tax disc. Just to make the effort. A community sponsored car tax disc if you will. Anyone who has visited the wonderful west coast island of Jura will realise it would be an imposition of any mainland government, not to mention a downright cheek, to charge Road Fund Duty on the three-sheep-wide track otherwise known as the Jura M1.

Not realising it at the time, those were very happy days. Just like Hamish MacBeth. So the old police shirts being cleared out leads us directly to a treble feature unique listing.

Firstly, it is one of our favourite forms of unique property, a church. Secondly, it is in the fictional home town of Robert Carlyle a.k.a Hamish MacBeth, Highland Polis – the village of Plockton. Thirdly, a rare treat: the very best webcam in the United Kingdom. It must be, for Ken Bruce of BBC Radio 2 says so. We add our voice to that chorus. At some considerable cost to Calums Seal Trips (it would raise your eyebrow if you knew how much the camera costs to keep going), we have CalumCam live from Hamish MacBeth’s Loch Dubh ….


Indeed CalumCam is almost a Hamish MacBeth storyline in itself. It has a wonderful interactive facility where you, the viewer can direct the camera remotely from the very computer keyboard in front of you. However, the Loch Dubh camera has its own ideas. When you direct it to “The Island” for example, some times it has a fondness to visit and view Mrs McIvor’s cactus on her kitchen window ledge instead. Some days the camera takes a notion to look into windows – and activate it’s zoom lens no less – where you have the distinct impression it shouldn’t be. Oh what will Rory and Esme be up to next !!! Carry On CalumCam. Wonderful.

Anyways, this reverie must move onto the first building listed in this week’s Unique Property Bulletin

Old Church Court, Loch Dubh – Plockton (c) 2012 Strutt & Parker

This is a two bedroom flat and part of a completed church conversion.

A most attractive spacious apartment within a converted B listed church building with views over the beach and beyond. An Aird is a well presented apartment located in idyllic surroundings within a charming Grade B listed converted church building providing spacious accommodation over two levels. The sale of the property will suit a variety of buyers, those looking for a comfortable holiday home in beautiful surroundings and equally those looking for an attractive investment opportunity. The current owners of the property successfully rent the property as a self catering apartment which has its own website and further details on this are available on request or at


and don’t miss the photographic tour …


The property is entered via a communal entrance hallway and comprises entrance hallway leading to two well proportioned double bedrooms. One of these bedrooms has an en suite shower room and there is also a family bathroom complete with white bathroom suite comprising wc, wash hand basin and bath. The staircase leads to the upper level and a naturally bright and airy living space with lovely views of the beach and beyond. Features include gothic style window, tiled hearth and fireplace. The kitchen comes with a range of solid pine wall and base storage units and space for a dining table and chairs.

Old Church Court Interior, Plockton (c) 2012 Strutt & Parker

Plockton is considered one of the UK’s most beautiful areas and enjoys a mild climate because of the Gulf Stream. Colourfully painted cottages, lines of palm trees on the waterfront and a backdrop of stupendous wooded crags lend Plockton an exotic charm that is rarely found in Highland villages. Sheltered by a headland from the wind and open sea, the small community is located at the mouth of Loch Carron. There are unspoilt sandy beaches on the seaward shore, reached only by footpaths, and a maze of narrow lanes explore the hinterland of forests, lochs, mountains and moors. Plockton developed as a herring port in the early 19th century and is now a haven for summer visitors including artists and yachtsmen. In 1973 the village was the location for the feature film The Wicker Man and in of course, in 1995 Plockton was chosen for the popular television series Hamish MacBeth.

Old Church Court, Fine Location For Fishing, Plockton (c) 2012 Strutt & Parker

The village itself has its own reputable primary and secondary schools and a good local village store that provides for everyday needs and requirements. Plockton village also has a number of inns, small hotels, restaurants and pubs. There are endless opportunities for outdoor pursuits which include hillwalking, sailing, golf and fishing with stalking and shooting also available on nearby estates. Moorings for boats are available in the bay. Nearby Plockton airstrip, built by the Royal Engineers in 1966, is available for use by private light aircraft. The village is also served by rail from Inverness. The Inverness to Kyle line was featured in a series by Michael Palin who stated that this was one of the most beautiful railway journeys in the world.

Location: Old Church Court, Innes Street, Plockton, Ross-Shire IV52 8TW.

Tenure: Feuhold (Scottish Equivalent of Freehold).

Guide: Offers over £220,000.

Contact Strutt & Parker Tel : 01463 723597 – Kerry Grant.

Online Brochure Including Floorplans ….



Norfolk – Nine, Fine & Divine

North Elmham Chapel (c) 2012 Fine Agencies.

This remarkable looking building, so finely restored and converted with exquisite craftsmanship, comes with a significant number of bedrooms – nine.

This listing is in reply to an email earlier in the week from one of our readers who is looking to buy a church. Hence this Chapel, and also the Plockton Church conversion above. We have probably gone over budget (and over the number of bedrooms needed). A minor point to make at this stage – we absolutely want folk to email with their favourite style of buildings, but if you are actively looking, please can you detail a ballpark budget and a general geographic area please? This will assist in our finding one or two to place on the main online Bulletin, and also return a private email with perhaps a couple of other candidates added for the enquirer’s consideration, as we have many unusual properties on file.

North Elmham Chapel (c) 2012 Fine Agencies.

Back to this lovely building. Surrounded by countryside, the Chapel is an outstanding conversion dating back to the 1800s. This beautiful conversion offers six bedrooms and an impressive first floor drawing room, while amid the six acres (STMS) of grounds there is a detached three-bedroom annexe, a double garage and a workshop.

The current owners bought this building 28 years ago, and so extensive was the work to convert it into a home that it was a further six years before it was ready to move into.

North Elmham Chapel (c) 2012 Fine Agencies.

The Chapel is set in rural Norfolk but is just six miles from the bustling market town of Dereham, and just 13 miles from Fakenham. Both towns have a wide range of shops and amenities.

Location: The Old Chapel, North Elmham, Dereham, Norfolk, NR20 5LE.

Tenure: Freehold.

Guide: £975,000.

Contact Fine Agencies Tel: 01603 622017 – Darren Neave.

Online Brochure With A Full Range Of Photographs ……



Before The Above?

The Old Chapel, Boston (c) 2012 Countrywide Property Auctions.

To round off the reply to the email we received earlier this week asking for some churches to be featured in the Unique Property Bulletin, and to cater for a range of budgets and geographic regions, here we have a “before” candidate. A property that the first two buildings listed above probably looked like prior to the tender loving renovation each had lavished upon it.

This economic ecumenical edifice is up for auction at Countrywide on 18th October 2012.

The guide is low. The land is probably worth that without any structure upon it. However, a previous owner has gone to the considerable time and effort in obtaining planning permission to convert this interesting building into FOUR flats. Whilst the current owner has reapplied and obtained permission to convert it into a single family home. It should be noted that whilst both planning permissions have lapsed, a precedent has been set, and there is a comfort to be derived in the knowledge that there has already been granted a planning permission to change the use from a church building to a home.

The Old Chapel, Boston (c) 2012 Richard Croft.

An important thing to note, and this is a very BROAD issue – from direct experience. If you have a building with planning permission under existing rules, an issue may arise about the planning consent running out. Our advice: START SOME BUILDING WORK AND TIME STAMP IT. Some years ago, we bought a plot of land where the planning consent had been granted 17 years earlier, but because the owner had put in foundations and COMMENCED the building work WITHIN the designated planning permission timeframe – albeit then coming to a long term halt – the planning permission could not expire. It was still valid 17 years later! Thought this little bit of knowledge may be of interest to some of our readers.

Back to the Chapel at Old Leake, Boston. The property comprises a detached premises in it’s own grounds.

Full planning permission was granted by Boston Borough Council on the 26th September 2003 for change of use from Chapel (Class D1) to form one residential unit (Class C3), Ref B/03/0538. Full planning permission was also granted by Boston Borough Council on the 22nd June 2006 for change of use from former Chapel to 4 flats and demolition of attached annexe Ref: B/06/0335.

Location: The Old Chapel, Chapel Road, Old Leake, Boston, Lincolnshire, PE22 9PP.

Tenure: Freehold.

Guide: £50,000. Auction on 18th October 2012. Please remember, even if you read this AFTER the auction date, it is ALWAYS worth going back to check whether the property actually sold at auction. Failing that, consider writing to the enw owner and asking if they would sell to you if this building does it for your requirements.

Contact Countrywide Property Auctions Tel: 0870 2401140.

Online Brochure ….



Monastic and Monumental

St Benet’s Monastery (c) 2012 Edward Symmons

The last of our buildings that have a former religious theme. A monastery. This is a very large project – Just look at the full size building in the bottom right hand corner – dwarfed in comparison to the main structure. In all, approximately 7,761 square feet. Equating to about £64 for each of those small squares for you to own. So much space. What to do with it. If you find a use, or take on this humungous project, please let us know how you get on ?

Also, it is always worth considering a possible syndicate of three or four friends when looking at something of this size and nature. There have been several successful examples we have had where a group of friends and like minded individuals club together to buy a large building capable of subdivision so that it is manageable, both in the dent it takes from respective bank accounts, and the sharing of the project size to more digestible proportions for each syndicate member.

General Description: St Benet’s Monastery is located to the north of the River Wear in a mixed-use area within walking distance of the city centre, the Stadium of Light and Sunderland’s University campus. The surrounding area comprises a mix of commercial and residential uses with a range of retail occupiers located on the nearby Sunderland Retail Park.

The property comprises a substantial three storey former Monastery of brick construction, which is understood to have been built around 1900. The building is south facing occupying an elevated position overlooking the private car park and gardens.

Location: St Benet’s Monastery, The Causeway, Sunderland SR6 0BH.

Tenure: Freehold.

Guide: £500,000.

Contact Tel : 0113 245 8454 – Nick McTague

Online Brochure ….



Classical Columns In Cornwall

Homan House (c) 2012 Alder King Agencies.

More emails. Most welcome. This time a surprise to us as we never know quite who reads Unique Property Online. This latest email asking for a particular type of building was surprisingly from a fairly well known resident of Bristol. The enquiry was for something mansion-like in the Cornwall area. Still no budget to work to, but given the tv work this chap has, the prospect of a classic for half a million seems not too far outside the box. We also do our best to email privately with a couple of extra unusual building candidates.

This imposing building is named Gladys Holman House, and is being sold with adjacent lawned areas and land which has been the subject to a planning application to convert into 12 flats in 3 blocks. Though it is up to any future owner whether to use this fine building as a single residence or convert into several flatted dwellings. There is an alternate proposal for 10 flats – 10,196 square feet. With the 12 flats in 3 blocks totalling 9,294 square feet. Prospective purchasers will need to make their own enquiries as to the suitability of this building for their own purposes.

The Holman Estate is situated to the north of the town centre, directly accessible from Rosewarne Road.

Gladys Holman House is a substantial and extended two storey period house believed to date from the Georgian period having solid stone elevations including dressed granite to the front and side elevations under a pitched roof. The building incorporates a former cottage/stable to the rear. Internally there are many period features to include granite floors and columns. The property was most recently used for institutional purposes and has now been vacant for some time. Externally the property has been boarded up for security reasons and the property has fallen into a poor state of repair. All parties wishing to view the property internally will be required to conform to health and safety regulations required by the selling agents.

Location: Gladys Holman House & Land at Holman Park, Tehidy Park, Camborne, Cornwall, United Kingdom, TR14 8FE.

Tenure: Freehold.

Guide: £500,000.

Contact Alder King Agencies Tel: 01872 227005 – Mr Tom Duncan.

Online Brochure ….


Full PDF Format Brochure ….



The Heat Is On?

Melrose Fire Station (c) 2012 Mr Walter Baxter.

Just to finish off our email request driven Bulletin for this week, we did promise to pop another fire station onto the website if an interesting shaped building came up. Here is one such candidate. It should be noted that there is a little “history” with this. It has been for sale, then off the market, then back on. The current position is this building is FULLY available for sale (contrary to what an alternate website states). A closing date has been set for offers, so the heat is on.

Offers need to be in by 3rd October 2012. Apologies for the shortness of notice. But it is an interesting building, and if it does light anyone’s fire (sorry) most folk can get things moving for the right sort of building in double quick tome. For those who aren’t perfectly placed to bid, please do not worry. Another one will be along in due course.

Lothian & Borders fire Service are seeking to dispose of their absolute ownership of the building.

Although there is no specific planning allocation, residential development would be the most preferable use for the site which extends to 0.09 hectares (0.23 acres).

None of the services in the property have been tested and it is recommended any prospective purchaser makes their own investigations in this regard in order to satisfy themselves as to their working order.

The property comprises single and two storey elements under a pitched slate roof. Constructed in the 1970’s and is of brick construction rendered externally. Access is provided via a main entrance door overlooking High Street with additional access to the garage area gained via roller shutter doors to the front and rear of the property.

The accommodation comprises of:

Ground Floor: Watchroom, switch room, locker/muster room, store, drying room, male and female washrooms and wc, appliance bay. Internally the property has concrete floors and walls are predominantly of tiled finish. Artificial lighting is provided in the main by suspended fluorescent striplighting.

First Floor: Lecture/Meeting room, Kitchen. Timber flooring at first floor level with painted plaster walls. Electric heating provided throughout.

There is a drill yard to the rear of the property that is bound by a 5ft high stone wall and which is accessed via a side street leading to Melrose Primary School. The yard/car park area is of tarmacadam surface.

There is a gas governor situated to the East of the site (32.3 sq m) and is to be excluded from the sale of the subjects.

Due to the substantial yard area, the property lends itself to additional development.

The property is located in the Central Borders town of Melrose, approximately 4.5 miles east of Galashiels. It is situated at the South Western side of the High Street and is immediately to the east of the intersection of St Mary’s Road, Huntly Road and High Cross Avenue.

Melrose is an attractive residential and tourist centre and is located in an area of scenic beauty. It has a wide range of recreational facilities and well regarded local schools. A bypass enables good access to the A7 and A68 roads linking Edinburgh (approximately 36 miles) and the North East of England.

Location: Former Melrose Fire Station, High Street, Melrose,TD6 9RU.

Tenure: Feuhold (Scottish Equivalent of Freehold).

Guide: £250,000.

Contact Edinburgh Council Property Dept., Tel : 0131 529 6560 – Mr Robbie O’Donnell

Online Brochure (PDF Format)….



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:-

Last week as a last extra bit, we had What Lays Beneath. This week we have What Lays Within !

A core part of our job is to keep an eye out for unusual property that fails to sell property auction for our readers edification. This recent listing didn’t sell at auction. By now you probably know the script. A bargain may be had. Your honour. Well it is a former Magistrates Court, AND a Cop Shop included. Just the job to finish on a Unique Property Bulletin that started with Hamish MacBeth. OK so this isn’t located in Loch Dubh and is more of your “Heartbeat”, Nick Berry sort of building style and area. But at a bargain price guide price of £85,000 and it DID NOT SELL AT THAT PRICE, so what offer might be accepted? Seventy something? Sixty something? If you do buy this, please let us know how you get on and what your renovation looks like. Thank you.

Millom Magistrates Court & Police Station (c) Pugh & Company Auctioneers.


(As at 23rd September 2012)

Just Telephone Roy Pugh Auctioneers on: 08442 722444.


Former Magistrates Court and Police Station, Station Road, Millom, Cumbria, LA18 5AA.


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