The Jumbo water tower in Colchester, Essex has got to be the most elephantine property I have ever viewed.
It is colossal.
It is immense.
And surprisingly it is a Reverse Tardis! Yes, it may be toweringly magnificent – but inside? Well, I can tell you now floor space is at a premium – which is going to make any sort of conversion or development incredibly costly.
What would I do with this gigantic water tower?
Glass and *lots of it* springs to mind – but it’s doubtful the end use would be commercially viable. It used to have planning permission for one single dwelling, but I’m struggling to see who would spend all that money (and by my reckoning you’re talking hundreds of thousands) to covert this to just one home.
Leisure or office use may be the most economically viable way forward – but still you’re talking about a mammoth sum to invest and I just can’t see if the statement building you’d get at the end would be justified by the spend involved. This is Colchester not London.
So what else? Well, maybe the locals have got the best idea: develop Jumbo as a heritage attraction and exhibition space.
I’d be interested to hear what you would do – it’s up for sale at Allsop auction on 29 May 2014 with NO RESERVE.
Here’s the vital stats:
- England’s largest Victorian water tower
- Grade II* Listed
- 40 metres (131 ft) tall
- 157 steps to the top
- Construction completed 1883 (build took 20 months)
- A total of 1,200,000 bricks and 819 tonnes of stone and cement were used
- The tower cost £10,349 to build
- The tank holds 1069 cubic metres (37,800 cubic foot) of water
- Total weight when full: 6,000 tonnes
- Decommissioned and closed in 1988
- 1995 sold at auction for £85,000
- 2001 permission for a single residential conversion was permitted on appeal
- 2006 sold at auction (with planning) for £330,000