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The Big Council Sell Off

by Sarah Halloran

St Giles Hospital in Camberwell is set to be sold by NHS Southwark.  With its imposing turrets, wrought iron gates and clock tower you would be forgiven for thinking this Georgian hospital was way outside the budget of your average house-hunter.  Whilst the price has not been announced yet, this Grade II listed building is set to be one of the bargain historic buildings on offer as part of a country-wide ‘sell-off’ by local councils.

Conisbrough Priory near Dorchester, the public swimming baths in Rotherham, and two large Georgian terraces in Greenwich are also amongst the buildings that will be on sale.  Property investment experts said shrewd house-hunters could snap up a real bargain as a result of the ‘Big Council Sell Off’.

Let’s take a look at those prices then.  Doncaster Council has given Conisbrough Priory a guide price of £275,000 whilst the swimming baths in Rotherham are up for a measly £150,000.  Lluesty Hospital in Wales was sold at auction earlier this year for £275,000.  The classical hospital building, which comes complete with a parapet and its own court yard, was snapped up by a group of property developers with huge plans to build 70 houses within the grounds.

According to auction houses based in London and Yorkshire, over 100 properties have been put up for sale recently by a number of councils.  And it’s not just local authorities that are getting in on the action.  Central Government is having a stab at reducing its estate with sales hitting £115 million in the past nine months alone.   These sales have included buildings such as Lincoln’s Inn Fiends in London, the former home of the Land Registry offices.

However, before you get out your chequebook and pen it does of course pay to do your research.  Property experts have warned that many of the public buildings on sale could be too dilapidated or large for the novice property developer to take on.

If it’s holiday properties you’re after then maybe you’d like to consider a cottage situated next to the Tate in picturesque and sought-after St Ives in Cornwall.  This will set you back a paltry £150,000.

Investment analysts at Stock Market Review are doling out a lot of encouragement to house and property hunters advising them to keep an eye on the list of buildings that are put up for sale each month.  A post on their website read “People who want to renovate a former public building into a modern residential home could scoop a bargain if what they want does not sell well in the auction room”.

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