Archive | June, 2012

Arrested Developments: Swag An Ex Police Station At Property Auction

24 Jun

police sign

Today I am overwhelmed by the choice of former police stations for sale in just one property auction catalogue!

On July 10th, I can travel up to Manchester (where the auction is being held at Manchester United football club) and I can bid on no less than FIVE former police stations going for auction. Yes, 5 ex-police stations in one property auction – now that’s got to be worth saying:

“Hello, Hello, Hello…what’s going on here then”:

Former Police Station, Silver Street, Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria, CA17 4HA

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Located in Kirkby Stephen, 4 miles from The Yorkshire Dales national park, this former police station with an additional three bedroom semi-detached house offers great potential.  The former police offices total approx. 600 sq ft and the three bedroom house has gardens front and back, and parking.  With potential for change of use to residential (subject to planning) this lot could offer plenty of redevelopment opportunity for a budding developer.


Former Police Station, Main Street, Cockermouth, Cumbria, CA13 9LQ

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Located in the town centre, just 3 miles from the edge of the Lake District National Park, this mid terraced two storey former police station with separate rear store and an adjoining car park could be a great lot to bid for.  Offering total accommodation of approx. 3790 square feet, this handsome period building and car park could be a developer’s delight if you get your planning right!


Former Police Station, High Street, Cleator Moor, Cumbria, CA25 5LB

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Located in the centre of Cleator Moor less than 1 mile away from the Lake District National Park, this detached former police station offers plenty of possibilities.  The accommodation offers approx. 1893 sq ft, situated on a site of 924 sq yds with parking, gardens, an enclosed yard and workshop currently on site.  Could this be redevelopment heaven?


Former Barrowford Police Station, 22 Gisburn Road, Barrowford, Nelson, Lancashire, BB9 8NE

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Located in Barrowford town centre adjoining retail, commercial and residential properties, less than one mile from Junction 13 of the M65 Motorway, these former police premises offer great potential.  The two storey stone built former police station offers a net internal area of approx. 2982 sq ft with a rear yard and parking for 8 vehicles.  The property offers opportunity for redevelopment or possible conversion (subject to planning).


Ince Police Station, 492-494 Warrington Road, Lower Ince, Wigan, WN3 4TB

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Located approximately 1½ miles from Wigan town centre and 2½ miles from Junction 25 of the M6 motorway, this former police station is a handsome lot.  The premises offer approx. 6155 sq ft of accommodation and a rear yard comprising car parking spaces and four garages with a total site area of approx. 1016 sq yds.  The property already benefits from Planning Consent for change of use to offices or a children’s nursery – but there could be scope for more potential.  Get your developers hat on…and start thinking!

All of these former police stations can be bought at property auction next month.  They offer a variety of possibilities and development potential – so – get your (hard) hat on…and set your (police) siren for success!

For more auction details visit the auctioneers website

Learning How To Blog Properly

23 Jun

So, after a telephone call with a tenuous connection (involving the boyfriend, an ex-colleague and his wife who is a published author) I am proving the popular hypothesis of the “6 degrees of separation”, and I find myself invited to and attending THE blogging event of the year: BritMums Live 2012.

Admittedly it’s not immediately (or even gradually) apparent from the title “BritMums Live” what this has got to do with blogging, but despite the title of the day, I can tell you – this is the conference of all conferences on how to blog…properly!

It’s a seriously full on agenda of workshops and talks with everything from SEO tips, to how to create an eBook, to WordPress Plugins and creating a social media plan.

I will, of course, share my learnings from the day with you…and I rather hope that sometime soon I can start implementing the tips I will learn so that I too can start to “blog proper”

The Secret History Of Our Streets : A Property Lover’s Must See

14 Jun

I don’t really watch a lot of TV and so programme recommendations are not my “thing” (well apart from Homes under the Hammer – but that’s because I’m addicted to property auctions!), however I have been watching a series on BBC2 “The Secret History of Our Streets” and I felt I just had to share.  This is a great series and I don’t want you to miss out!

Admittedly, it is more London based – so perhaps will appeal more to those people in property who know London, however I think this series is absolutely fantastic in both it’s historical, cultural and present day analysis of property and people.

“The Secret History of Our Streets” uses as it’s focal point Charles Booth’s epic survey carried out in 1886, which mapped the social conditions of every street, every house and every family in the whole of London.  The survey took 17 years to complete and Booth colour coded each street, from yellow for the ‘servant keeping classes’, down to black for the ‘vicious and semi-criminal’.

The programme, with the aid of Booth’s maps, returns to certain streets to see how life and the people in these areas have changed over the course of 125 years.

What is absolutely fascinating about “The Secret History of Our Streets” is to see how areas change, how residents change – and how this affects property in the area – for better and for worse!  It really is a fantastic watch for anybody who wonders about property trends, how areas can be regenerated – or for that matter how areas suddenly lose their shine.

In the first episode they looked at Deptford High Street, and in the second episode they explored Camberwell Grove.

And the beauty is – you may have missed it – but with BBC Iplayer making the unmissable, unmissable you can watch again at your own leisure via their website (or iPhone app).

Here are the links – hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

The Secret History of Our Streets: Deptford High Street

The Secret History of Our Streets: Camberwell Grove

And if you want to put a date in your viewing schedule for “The Secret History of Our Streets” it is on a Wednesday at 9pm BB2

Is Now A Good Time To Buy A Holiday Home In Spain?

11 Jun

Amid the news that Spain needs a bailout and the banks are collapsing, Brits appear desperate to cash in on the “Costa Catastrophe” or “Costa Crash” as the popular media have dubbed it, and are rubbing their hands together in glee at the “not-to-be-missed” property bargains which will soon be available.

But, is now really a good time to buy property in Spain?

Of course, when you look out the window on this June lunchtime and see nothing but grey skies and rain (which it’s been doing for the past two weeks) it’s very easy to shout “YES!”

And when you see you can buy a “bargain” beach side apartment for less than the price of a new family car, it is very easy to shout “YES!”

But let’s just wait a minute…This hasn’t been dubbed the “Costa Crash” or “Costa Catastrophe” for no reason. And let us not forget that many Brits who bought in Spain (and planned to retire there) have since had to return to the UK due to currency fluctuations – and for the really unlucky – those who lost their homes and their life savings due to dodgy developers and restrictive Spanish planning laws.  So it’s not all sea, sun and sangria when you buy property in Spain!

But that’s the problem – the Spanish know we Brits are suckers for a bargain. And when it comes to a property bargain – well, we’re up there in a league of our own. The German’s may be known for marking their sunbed territory with a towel, but it’s nothing compared to us Brits’ obsession with property prices and trying to buy any property which appears “cheap”.

Which is probably why the major Spanish banks have now launched real estate websites in English which proclaim mammoth discounts off their new-build developments and repossessed property in Spain.  You have Altamira Santander’s Spanish property website; La Caixa’s Servihabitat; Bankia selling it’s repossessed property through BankiaHabitat ; and if you want some comparables then Idealista is the Spanish equivalent of UK’s Rightmove.

The Spanish banks are desperate to sell. So desperate in fact, Spanish banks will probably also give you a mortgage with which to buy your bargain property in Spain, which is more than can be said of trying to get a mortgage in the UK right now.

But just because the property is “cheap” is now a good time to buy a holiday home in Spain?

Many commentators claim Spanish property prices still have further to fall – so today’s bargain, may be tomorrow’s swizz.

But I think this line of thinking and obsession with the price of a property highlights what has gone so very wrong with the property market.  We have endless conversations about property prices, about what our home is worth, about how much equity we have (or have lost) and everything is all about the price.  Rarely do we think about what a home actually means – it’s real worth to us as a place which keeps us safe and secure and is a place which feels home.  For most people, the real value of a home seems to have got lost – somewhere in between the price paid for it and what it may be worth in two years time…

In Britain, we seem to treat our homes like giant ATM machines – a “bricks-and-mortar-bank-account” – which we can cash in when we want. And that is where the meaning of a home, let alone a holiday home has got lost.

So: is now a good time to buy a holiday home in Spain?

Yes, if you want, and can afford a home in Spain then now is as good a time as any – but remember a home is a home, property doesn’t always have to be an investment.  You could always try buying a house just because you want to live there as a home rather than for what the property may be worth in a few years time.








A Jubilee Weekend To Remember – And A BBC Radio Interview I Would Rather Forget!

5 Jun

Today has been a fabulous culmination of the Diamond Jubilee events which we have spent the weekend enjoying.

I was one of the lucky winning ticket holders to attend the Jubilee picnic in the gardens of Buckingham Palace and the Jubilee concert last night.  Here are a few pics:

It was an absolutely magical occasion to have the opportunity to walk around the Queen’s gardens and see London from her vantage point (her full size tennis courts look so tiny), and the lake – it’s got be to be the size of  Heathrow!  I cannot begin to imagine what her “garden” is worth or how many properties you could fit! Honestly, just the land value of the garden alone of Buckingham Palace has got to make the Queen the Richest Woman in the UK!

Plus, we were lucky enough to get seats for the Jubilee Concert in front of Buckingham Palace that night, with so many stars and famous names appearing – from Kylie Minogue, Shirley Bassey and Grace Jones to so many Sir’s – Sir Elton John, Sir Cliff Richard, Sir Paul McCartney – I could go on and on the list was tremendous!

And there were so many highlights – from Madness appearing on the roof top of Buckingham Palace, to Renee Fleming and Alfie Boe performing “Somewhere” from the balcony of Buckingham Palace, Grace Jones hula hooping her entire way through “Slave to the Rhythm” to Paul McCartney’s explosive rendition of “Live & Let Die” to seeing the Queen appear on stage and Prince Charles deliver an emotional speech.

Honestly there were just so many highlights. So many amazing moments…

And, of course, when asked which was my favourite moment I had so many to choose from – so many amazing memories.

But I have learnt that when on live radio, what you thought you were going to say, is not quite what comes out of your mouth.


In my telephone interview with Gaby Roslin on BBC Radio London this morning, for some reason my highlight of the evening seems to have escaped me…

And I think this is what happens when you’re on the spot.

What you thought you knew. You don’t.

What you thought you were going to say. You don’t.

So this is my “radio version” of my favourite moment of the Diamond Jubilee Concert – not quite what I thought it was…but there we go – that’s live radio for you!  But, as my brother has consoled me – at least I said it with confidence!

Sam interview BBC radio london