Unusual Auction Property

From Gas Governess to Lumberjack And Service Station Owner – It’s All Possible At Auction!

Like a shopaholic finding an original Gucci handbag in Poundland, a lot being sold NO RESERVE at auction is a property buyer’s wet dream.

Seriously No Reserve means just that: the property will sell for whatever someone is willing to pay for it – which could be – not a lot.

So I wanted to get to the auction where the seven lots with No Reserve may potentially sell for “not a lot” on the off chance of bagging a bargain.

Three bits of land had taken my fancy which were being sold by the Highways Agency.  This meant, for the most part, they were close to roads.  Which is a good thing because I seem to have got rather obsessed with the idea of owning some roads.  Admittedly, I’m a little short on ideas with what I would do with a road, so I think owning land next to a road is probably a better option.

So the first lot I fancied the look of was a scrap of land (0.062 acres) in Sandy, Bedfordshire.

sandy land for salesandy land for sale

It piqued my interest as there was a 99 year lease with Transco for their “Gas Governor Station” which was situated on the land.  I figured there would be some rental income – plus maybe even the future potential of redevelopment of the site.  That was until I realised the “Gas Governor Station” was in the way of any redevelopment ideas I may have had.  And then there was the small issue of the rent which Transco would be paying: one peppercorn per year.  Call me old fashioned, but I prefer pounds to peppercorns and so I decided to pass.

The next site I fancied was in Ely, Cambridgeshire.

ely land for saleely land for sale

Adjacent to the A10 and comprising a freehold site of 1.193 acres.  The land was mainly woodland – which for a tree-loving potential lumber jack such as myself – was right up my street (!).  I have no idea how to value woodland next to roads, so I decided a nice round figure of £5,100 would be my bid.  And as the bidding started at £50 I thought I may be in with a chance.

But, that was short lived.  The £50 soon jumped to £500 to £1000 and then eventually sold at £7,500.

So that left me with my “star lot” which I really did fancy: a freehold wooded site of 1.045 acres adjacent to the A1M in Stevenage.

stevenage land for salestevenage land for sale

Now for me, Stevenage is just down the road and beyond the obvious usage of this land as a personal garden extension where I could spend many happy evenings with a glass of wine and watching the traffic sail by, I also know the local council are under massive pressure to build more houses.

I know it’s speculative and a bit of a “bottom drawer” investment, but I decided – you never know…

And so I had done my research on the site and what I had noted was, besides access from the A1 (which is a major motorway to London) the site was in fact land-locked.  The bit where I would need access, if I was ever going to redevelop the land, needed access from the less major road.  But if you look closely, you will see a tiny strip of land is not included in the parcel of land for sale. (I have highlighted it yellow).  This is what is known as a “ransom strip” – because whoever owns that strip can hold you to ransom when you want to access your land!

stevenage land for sale


So I pondered some more.

And while sat in traffic on the A1 and gazing at (what I thought to be the piece of land) I happened upon what could be a “top idea”.  I decided I could build a mini-service station.  I could call it “Sam’s Services”.  I know it’s a long shot – but I thought “just maybe”.

I know the chances of success are pretty unlikely – however if redevelopment was possible – there could be some stunning rewards on offer.

So I decided my limit was my cash ISA for the year.  I didn’t do any fancy pants mathematical calculation – because in all honesty, this is a complete gamble.  £5640 was my bid limit.

I admit: it was a churlish bid limit.

Sam’s Services in Stevenage will not be opening in the near future:  it sold for £8,000.


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