'Live or Let Die' lifts veil on top 100 (crumbling) UK properties

'Live or Let Die' lifts veil on top 100 (crumbling) UK properties


Picture: The Brandauer factory in Aston, Birmingham, with its sublime red-brick elevation, was built in 1850 and extended in various phases throughout the1900s. It’s now back on the market and at 33,000 sq ft its

potential is huge, “it simply requires an owner with determination, vision and funds”, say SAVE.


By Rebecca Hobson

SAVE are at it again, (causing a stir that is), and this time it’s the release of their annual ‘Live or Let Die’ catalogue which lists the plight of the top 100 ‘at risk’ historical buildings in the UK.


Available since June 2, the booklet gives information and highlights historical buildings, many of which are currently up for sale – some on the market for under £100,000.


Each property listed is ‘at risk’, some literally from falling down they are so dilapidated. However, to SAVE they are each treasures, worthy of loving regeneration or, as one journalist put it, are like ‘wide-eyed puppies looking for owners’.


Having been campaigning for Britain’s heritage since 1975, the group are never too far from controversy. Whether it’s fighting for swimming pools in Doncaster, or using giant billboards to deter the planned demolition of buildings, they’re never out the papers for long, proving to be the thorn in many a council’s backside.


And this time it’s the hunt for potential guardians of the hungry wrecks that has got people talking. The list is said to be more diverse than ever this year and is available online for £25, or can be ordered in catalogue form, (the fee also grants you SAVE membership and access to their entire Building at risk Register as well as access to the Live or Let Die list). 


One such property listed is a row of four cottages in Trentham that have lain empty for years. With a price tag of £300,000, the lot may very well be cheap but are in a derelict condition and hold Grade II listed status. Too derelict to be renovated piecemeal, they aren’t proving the easiest to sell.


David Heywood, of Stoke on Trent chartered surveyors, Louis Taylor, who manage the property, said: “You can’t renovate these buildings individually, they need a new shared roof and facades, ruling out all sales to owner occupiers. 


“But it’s too small a development for national or even regional builders, they need a small local building firm ran by a boss who doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty.”


That and a penchant for ‘crumbling’ properties, according to SAVE: “Remote farmhouses and grand crumbling country mansions vie for attention with Georgian townhouses, mills, redundant churches, town halls, schools, libraries and even post offices in what is a surprisingly diverse selection. Some of the featured buildings have been empty for years, whilst others are newly abandoned as the result of the recession.”


Food for thought if you’re looking for your next DIY project...

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