Unique Property Bulletin 8 July 2012

John Travolta Aircraft Home – UK Version ?

UK Version? Former RAF Sandtoft (c) 2012 Steve Fareham.

Famously in America, John Travolta lives at a “Skypark” style home. Only in America !


This magnificently eccentric and fairly unique lifestyle usually comes at a price. John Travolta, who has trained to commercial aircraft pilot rating standard, owns and operates a vintage Boeing 707. He parks it outside his private aircraft runway located home.

You might think that to emulate this sort of lifestyle in the UK is very difficult. But there are dozens upon dozens of hidden gems in the form of World War II Airfields dating back to when the United Kingdom was almost a virtual landbased aircraft carrier. There is a classically utilitarian building referenced here ….


Please note the structure IS NOT FOR SALE but added as an example of what does exist elsewhere, and what might be acceptable as the style of a newbuild on your newly acquired airfield at Sandoft, to the local planners if you bought this airstrip.

Our case for planning, and this applies to many recycled buildings or rennovation/job creation/facility preservation projects we have been involved in is almost describable as the Ronnie Barker principle. From his television series “Open All Hours”. That is the great tradition of living above the shop. We firmly believe for many reasons that this style of life will return to fashion. To reduce commute times; to improve quality of life; and in the example of this airstrip, a simple answer to airfield security. If you have a house, especially one you build in the vernacular of the traditional WWII Air Control Tower, then you can keep an eye on the security of the aircraft on your doorstep.

You would also manage to strike a positive note for the local community. There may be some local concern that this former RAF Sandtoft airfield could be built over by factories or industrial units and the flying function lost forever.

By keeping the local flying community together and living on site in the style suited to the airfield, it is a fairly elegant way forward.

A slight glitch with planning might occur in that the old RAF Sandoft Tower was converted into a house ….


This is NOT included in the current listing. The point may be that local planners could argue they have already allowed an air tower to be preserved and recycled on-site. So to present a case for a newbuild unique home in this style on the part of airfield you are buying may present a challenge.

Ironically from experience in America, in many States, no planning permission is needed. It has its downside, but on many levels is a breath of fresh air. Our own planning laws in the UK really do need reforming but that is another story for another day.

The Former RAF Sandtoft parts that are for sale include:

Sandtoft Runway (c) 2012 Glyn Drury.

An Aircraft Runway:

Re-laid in 2010 and extends to 2,913 sq ft in length and 60 ft width.


24,441 sq.ft 2,271 sq.m.


11,164 sq.ft 1,037 sq.m

Total Available

35,605 sq.ft 3,308 sq.m. Subject to on site verification.

Location: Sandtoft Airfield, Belton, Doncaster, Yorkshire, DN9 1PN.

Tenure: Freehold.

Guide: £ On Application.

Contact Knight Frank Agencies: 0113 297 2448 – Mr Owen Holder.

Online Brochure ….



Crispy Construction

Former Fire Station At Gillingham (c) 2012 Clive Emson & Co.

This is a relatively simple piece of property. A classic former fire station with two stories, and potential for conversion to either commercial, residential or a combination of the two for home/office style living. Subject of course to all the necessary consents being obtainable.

Former Fire Station At Gillingham (c) 2012 Nigel Chadwick.

This building is scheduled for auction with a very reasonable guide price. Though if you read this listing after the auction of 23rd July 2012, it is always worth checking to see whether the property sold, as buildings that fail to sell at auction can represent VERY good bargains. The buyer is in a very strong position in such circumstances.

Location: Former Fire Station, 42 Green Street, Gillingham, Kent, ME7 5TJ.

Tenure: Freehold.

Guide: £40,000 to £45,000 at Clive Emson Auction Scheduled 11am 23rd July 2012.

Contact Clive Emson Auctioneers Tel: 0845 8500333.

Online Brochure ….





Forestry Station

Forestry Station, Embo (c) 2012 Bell Ingram.


Not quite the perfect forestry setting we had been looking for – with a surplus of full grown trees – but still, here we have almost half an acre for the price of a pokey flat in many a UK town elsewhere, but here you have ample space to live and breathe.

There will of course be a requirement to apply for change of use. Though the conveyancing law allows for a clause within the binding offer for change of use prior “purification” of the offer to bind.

Set on a large plot of approx 0.43 ha and presently unoccupied the subjects comprise a single storey timber framed building with profiled metal sheeting pitched timber framed roof. Double glazed windows throughout. Internally the premises are divided into a large general office, 10 further offices, a meeting room, kitchen and two WCs.

In total the property has a net internal area in the region of 203.3 sqm

There is tarmacadam parking for a number of vehicles to the front of the building.

What we had been looking for was a bit of forest for sale to have some imaginative treetop fun in ….


Location: Forestry Commission Offices, Embo Street, Near Dornoch IV25 3PW.

Tenure: Feuhold (Scottish Equivalent of Freehold).

Guide: £125,000.

Contact Bell Ingram Tel: 01463 717 799.

Online Brochure …




Money In Muck

Brown Land With Planning Consent (c) 2012 Halls.

Not often have we featured a Jobbie Farm. Though they aren’t that rare. We nearly bought one once. The one we bid on was a former sewage treatment works, but not what you would think. It had been redundant for a while, and the treatment beds were spectacularly full of flowering plants. Makes sense with all the nutrients that were in there. As the old Billy Connolly sketch goes, munchetty munchetty !

The current one featured in this listing is a disused sewage treatment works and former farmstead with resolution to grant planning permission for 141 residential units on part and potential for additional development on the remainder, subject to planning.

Talk about building on brown land.

As with an earlier listing, not quite the glorious poo farm we had in mind. But at around £21,000 a building plot a bargain. Indeed with the lack of bank lending to the commercial sector we could see this pile (really sorry about that) going for nearer the £1,000,000 which is not something to turn your nose up at.

Approximately 1,015,819 square feet.

Location: Former Sewage Treatment Works Caledonia, Brierley Hill, West Midlands, DY5 2PA.

Tenure: Freehold.

Guide: £3,000,000 A lot of jobbies !

Contact Halls Commercial Agencies Tel: 01905 720104.

Online Brochure ….




Lookout !

The Lookout – Ground Floor Apartment (c) 2012 Sowerby Agencies.

This particular Old Lookout is on the coast at Cromer Norfolk. This style of building has a warm place in our collective heart as it was in a Scottish Lookout Building that we had in 1984, the Unique Property Bulletin was born !

This listing is an apartment – number 4 – within a former East Anglian Lookout. The accommodation consists of 2 Bedrooms, 2 Bath/Shower Rooms, Kitchen, Sitting Room, and of course a magnificent sea view.

The Lookout – Cromer Pier (and wet photographers feet) (c) 2012 Sowerby Agencies.

The apartment is on the ground floor, located right on the Promenade and “The Lookout” contributes to the stunning facade of the town, best appreciated looking back from the beach and pier, which are only yards away…..

The Lookout – Perspective and Views (c) 2012 Sowerby Agencies.

The contemporary designed and extremely well presented accommodation includes a large sitting room, fitted kitchen with integrated appliances, open-plan dining room/bedroom, shower room and staircase up to the feature mezzanine accommodation comprising of a viewing landing, double bedroom and a further shower room. A wonderful opportunity to acquire a permanent home or letting flat in order to watch the world and the ships go by and being only yards away from the award winning sandy beach and the historic Victorian Cromer Pier, with lots of entertainment:-


Location: The Old Lookout, Promenade, Cromer, Norfolk, NR27 9HE.

Tenure: Long Leasehold Apartment.

Guide: £249,950.

Contact Sowerby Agencies Tel: 01263 710 777.

Online Brochure ….



The Last Post !

Old Post (c) 2012 Fields Commercial

Following our promise to a reader we are making extra efforts to feature some properties in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire.

Here we have an attractive period property with the all important planning permission and listed building consent to convert to a 3-bedroom house The ground floor layout would provides a fine open plan living area with kitchen and study with a courtyard garden to the side. The first floor approval is for three bedrooms and a bathroom. There is also a cellar below the front section of the ground floor. A small enclosed forecourt is provided at the front of the building. The property is well-located in one of the main roads in the village fronting on to Churchway. Haddenham has a number of local shops, school and public houses and is situated between Thame and Aylesbury. Access to the M40 at junctions 6 and 7 is within easy distance..

For those so minded to seek a unique lifestyle, it may very well be worth a chat with the local planning officer to establish whether it might be possible to change the planning consent to allow for a smaller scale residential unit upstairs and retain some shop or business/amenity function on the ground floor.

This would likely help establish a useful form of income to go with the unusual nature of this fine and character full building.

It wouldn’t do the prospective buyer any harm with the neighbours to keep some life in this part of the village.

Last but by no means least, the original price was £275,000 so someone may very well buy a bargain here. please let us know how you get on, and whether you catch the last port.

Location: 23a Churchway, Haddenham, Thame Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP17 8AB.

Tenure: Freehold.

Guide: £210,000.

Contact Fields Commercial Agency Tel: 01844 261121.

Online Brochure ….



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