Mystery property with no access sold for £1

Previously published on my blog to be sold on auction for a guide price of £100, this mystery town centre property with river frontage and far-reaching views has been snapped for a cool £1 at auction.

Although it might seem like a bargain, the drawback is there is no way to get into the 12sq m first-floor space.

Property in Wisbech

However, the room, wedged between two properties and suspended over an alleyway in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, appealed to one bidder whose hand shot up when the £1 price tag was announced.

The guide price of £100+ was dropped to £1 at the last minute.

The unusual property is in a terrace of old buildings, believed to have been built as granaries or shops in the 16th Century on Nene Quay.

It is bricked up from both sides and even the auctioneer had not been in to see it.

Fenland District Council, which has owned it since 1966, put it up for sale alongside other “surplus properties” with Norwich-based auctioneers William H Brown

There is no record of anyone ever having used the room and the contents and condition remain a mystery.

Property for sale in Wisbech

When it first went on their books, auctions partner Victoria Reek described it as “certainly one of the weirdest ones we’ve had at auction” and admitted it was “probably just full of cobwebs”.

She said the vendor instructed the auctioneer to remove the £100 guide price just before the auction opened.

“So we told bidders the first one to offer £1 could have it – one gentleman put up his hand and it was gone – all done and dusted,” she said.

It is not yet known who bought the inaccessible room.

Source: BBC News

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Building planning permission for domestic properties

Building planning permission refers to the approval needed for building or extension (including significant renovation) of a property. Generally, the new building works must be inspected during construction and after completion to ensure compliance with building regulations. Planning permission is also dependent on the environment and area.

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Local councils are responsible for planning permission and if you have any issues that need to be discussed or clarified, the first thing to do is to ask the planning department. Your local library may also have information and literature to help in understanding issues that are specific to your local authority. The government planning portal website is very useful to find out whether your building project needs planning permission or building regulations approval.  There are common projects and interactive guides to use and find out about permitted development limits or to explore in-depth guidance to understand about what you need to consider at each stage of your project.

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Planning permission are required for new building and depending on the environment or area in which you live, you may need planning permission for any of the following:

  • house extensions and additions including conservatories
  • creating a basement
  • sun lounges/conservatories
  • adding a porch to your house
  • swimming pools
  • demolition of buildings
  • enclosing existing balconies or verandas
  • loft conversions
  • dormer windows and roof additions
  • garages
  • garden sheds
  • greenhouses
  • fences, walls and gates
  • patios, hand standing, paths and driveways
  • satellite dishes, television and radio aerials
  • decoration, repair and maintenance.

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Suspended mystery property with no access on sale for £100

A property has gone on the market for just £100, but it is shrouded in mystery as no-one knows how to get inside.

The 12sqm room is up for auction next month and comes with a flying freehold, as it has no structure beneath and is suspended in a passageway between two other buildings.

The room is in a row of historic buildings, some of which date back to the 16th century, but it appears to be sealed from both sides and there is no other access.

Victoria Reek, auction manager for William H Brown’s East Anglian auction centre, selling the room in Nene Quay, Wisbech, said it was one of the most unusual lots she had ever come across.

She told the Cambs Times: “There is no way in or out from the outside, we have been instructed to sell it and we’re starting the price off at £100.

“We think it would make an ideal store room for a market stall holder but it gives you no access rights, it really is just a room which at the moment, you can’t get into.

“We do come across all kinds of interesting lots like this in Norfolk but this is probably one of the most unusual.”

The room is being sold by Fenland District Council along with a number of other pieces of land, it has had in its portfolio for years.

The auction takes place on Thursday, February 20 at Dunston Hall Hotel in Norwich at 11.30am.

Source: Mirror

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Safety at Home: Children’s Room

In addition to ensuring that individual items are safe, it’s important to take an overall approach to safety in your child’s room.

The safety precautions that you take will depend upon the age of your children and your judgement of how sensible they are.  Bear in mind that the only thing you can predict about children is they’re unpredictable.

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Below are safety tips you can use to ensure your children’s room are safe;

  • Floors should be non-slip and not too hard underfoot.
  • Avoid placing floor or table lamps where they could get in the way of games, consoles and gadgets and be knocked over.
  • Use the current wattage of bulb in lamps and ensure that there are no  trailing flexes.
  • Make sure shelves are firmly fixed to the wall. Children will inevitably climb up them when trying to reach something.
  • Fasten any heavy, free-standing furniture that could be pulled over securely to the wall or floor. See the source image
  • Check electrical items regularly for fraying wires or other obvious faults and never overload a plug socket.
  • If the room is above the ground floor, ensure that windows can’t be opened far enough to climb out of ( though you should be able to exit them easily in an emergency) and don’t put anything under the windows that can be climbed upon.
  • Any glass at low level (in doors for example) should be safety glass or, at least, covered with shatter-resistant film.

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Property Refurbishment: Should I improve or extend?

When undertaking property refurbishment, to make the decision of whether to improve or extend your existing property there are things you have to consider with cost being top of the list.  You will need to consider what your requirements really are.

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For example, here are some of the reasons why you may consider carrying out improvement and alteration, as opposed to building an extension – to:

  • Create a larger or open plan kitchen
  • Enlarge the dining room
  • Enlarge the living room or create an open plan living space
  • Create space for en-suite bathroom to the master bedroom
  • Create a utility room
  • Create a play room
  • Create more storage space
  • Create a grand entrance hall
  • Create additional bedroom

See the source imageMany properties may offer the space to achieve some of the above without the need to extend. Improvements and alterations may cost considerably less and could be carried out without the necessity of obtaining planning permission, although it is advisable to contact a professional builder or structural engineer to ascertain the structural implications when planning to remove dividing walls or chimney breasts, etc. Depending on the age of the property, and other factors associated with, for example, historic buildings, you may need to contact the planning office to ensure that you do not need planning permission to carry out the work.

If you are in two minds about extending or improving your property, it could be beneficial from a financial point of view to start off by making small non-structural improvements. This should in any case add value to your property and make it more desirable. It will also give you the opportunity to see if it meets with your requirements, and if it doesn’t you can then plan for the next option.

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Does ‘Building Regulation’ apply to internal alteration within my home?

This is one of the major question home owners ask when planning to make alteration to their home for various reasons such as open plan living, bigger kitchen, knocking down internal walls etc.

Yes – Building Regulation is most likely to apply. 

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The UK building regulations specify the forms of alteration that amount to ‘material alterations’ and are therefore ‘Building Work’, taking account of the potential for the proposed work to adversely affect compliance of the building with specific requirements, such as: if your project involves alterations to the structure of the building (e.g. the removal or part removal of a load-bearing wall, joist, beam or chimney-breast); if fire precautions either inside or outside the building may be affected; or if it will affect access to and use of the building. On the assumption that the regulations do apply, all the work involved in the alteration must comply with all the appropriate requirements.

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You should always be aware of the fact that although the work involved in a building project may not amount to building work and consequently not be subject to the building regulations, there are other statutory regulations that it may be subject to. If the proposed project could result in a dangerous situation or damage to your own property or that of your neighbour, it may also result in your own and/or your neighbour’s building no longer complying in some way with the building regulations.

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Dennis Bebo – MSC, BSC, DEA, CeMAP

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Safety at Home: Carbon monoxide kills

Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odourless, colourless, non-irritant gas, killing 50 people each year in the UK and making hundreds more seriously ill.

CO poisoning occurs when gas-fired appliances such as boilers, cookers and fires are not operating correctly. With research indicating that nearly a quarter of UK homes have one or more defective gas appliance, it is vital your appliances are checked regularly.

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If your boiler is more than 10 years old or has been infrequently serviced in the past, you really should get it checked by a Gas safe registered engineer. Fitting a European standard certified audible carbon monoxide alarm is a vital second line of defence after having  your appliances safety checked. It is essential that your alarm is marked with the EN50291 safety standard and with the CE mark.

Vital signs and symptoms to look out for CO poisoning include:

  • Sooting and staining on or around your gas boiler or other gas appliances.
  • Excessive condensation in the room where an appliance is installed.
  • A lazy, yellow-orange gas flame instead of blue.
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Tiredness
  • Nausea and can be mistaken for flu, a virus and even food poisoning.
  • Breathlessness
  • Lost of consciousness

For more information on carbon monoxide poisoning visit http://www.hse.gov.uk

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How to turn your home into a luxury property for less

Fancy making your home a luxury property for less than you imagine? Get inspired by some tips in creating a glamorous living space;

Stunning  seating 

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A luxurious living room needs a variety of seating which is both comfortable and stylish, with the sofa being the centre of attention. Shop for a classic, well upholstered furniture with a look of timeless and a distinguished design like leather Chesterfields or clubSee the source image armchairs. If you got space then go for an ergonomic modular corner sofa. For the ultimate in decadent seating, choose a sumptuous chaise longue or a classic recliner leather armchair.

Luscious lighting

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With the right lighting, your living room will have a warn, intimate feel. Nothing shouts luxury more that a statement chandelier. This elegant form of lighting has a ‘wow’ factor and it doesn’t have to look traditional; there are plenty of striking contemporary designs available. You will need to supplement the chandelier with other forms of lighting, place wall lights on either side of a fireplace, table lamps around the edges of the room, and a floor lamps behind your main seating area. Use accent lighting to highlight favourite pictures, ornaments or other treasured objects.

Fabulous fabrics

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In a luxurious living room, you can really go to town with fabrics. Choose sumptuous velvet, satin, linen and silk rich in autumn colours like purple, raspberry or chocolate. If you prefer more subtle colours, go for sophisticated neutrals and muted tones of blue, coffee or grey. Pile the sofa high with cushions of different textures, the more the better, and add a soft throw or two to ring the changes. Dress your windows with extravagant full length curtains or softly folding Roman blinds in prints or plains.

Wonderful Walls

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Be bold with colour and pattern of wallpaper in your living room. There are amazing designs with striking patterns you can choose from such as over-sized florals on one feature wall or pick a subtle design for all your walls. Paint is still one of the cheapest ways to give rooms new look and it’s easy to create a luxurious effect using metallic shades on a feature wall, picking out decorative details with gold lustre, or adding stencilled patterns.

 Fantastic floors

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A beautiful, plush carpet will automatically make your living room feel and look luxurious adding pattern, texture, colour or elegance.  However, as this is generally a high traffic area, you need to get the balance right between durability and quality.

Accessorise

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No luxury living room is complete without a feature statement piece such as fireplace, mirror or artwork. Finish off by adding a bit of sparkle with gold vases, lampshades, diamante-edged photo frames and a mirrored table.

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How to identify damp in your house

Damp is one of the last things we want to face at home. It doesn’t matter if we’re a homeowner or a renter, it’s not a good thing. It can make a room feel cold, unwelcoming and unhealthy, and at worst it can mean structural or weatherproofing issues.

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Structural dampness is the presence of unwanted moisture in the structure of a building, either the result of intrusion from outside or condensation from within the structure. A high proportion of damp problems in buildings are caused by ambient climate dependent factors of condensation and rain penetration. Capillary penetration of water from the ground up through concrete or masonry is known as Rising Damp.

From condensation to penetrating damp and the dreaded rising damp, different types of damp present different problems, below is how you can identify defects that will cause damp in your house and fix them on time before they cause structural and health issues.

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Damp checks

  • Flashings at junctions to roofs and chimneys.
  • Uncapped pots to open chimneys.
  • Badly eroded mortar joints to brick or stonework in walls.
  • Leaking gutters, downpipes and overflow pipes.
  • Leaks around windows and door flames.
  • Windowsills that don’t project out from the wall sufficiently, or have eroded drip grooves underneath.
  • Garden shrubs or mounds of earth banked up against walls.
  • A lack of ventilation indoors allowing a build-up of condensation from steamy kitchens and bathroom.

 

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Making space in your home

Space – some of us have it and some of us don’t, but whether you live in a five-story mansion or a compact studio flat, you’ll want to make the most of every square inch you have. Luckily there are few tips that could get you making the best space from your home – whatever its size.

 

  • With a little creative thinking, any look can be created, despite the architectural restrictions, for example a lower ceiling immediately makes a large room feel cosier or a dropped lighting raft adds elegance and a desire mood to a room.
  • Having simple furniture that you can see through, such as the fine wishbone chairs, minimises fuss and helps make the room look bigger.
  • To make a space look more interesting, add small but significant details such as side and table lights, spotlights, handles on wardrobes, doors and units.
  • Textures add warmth and comfort to a room for example chenille, brushed cotton and velour will really help to warm up a space if it feels a bit corridor-like.

 

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Dennis Bebo – MSC, BSC, DEA, CeMAP

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