Britain’s tallest folly up for sale after financial failure of building preservation trust

Britain’s tallest folly up for sale after financial failure of building preservation trust


Three historic listed British properties owned by the Vivat Trust, which went into liquidation in August 2015, including a Gothic tower, are to be sold.

Property consultancy Eddisons is marketing the properties, some of which have been fully restored, creating modern living accommodation.

They include the UK’s tallest folly, the 53m, Grade I listed Hadlow Tower near Tonbridge in Kent; as well as a 15th century timber framed gatehouse in North Yorkshire and a 14th century manor house near Hereford.

The Vivat Trust, a registered charity and a national building preservation trust, was dedicated to rescuing neglected and dilapidated historic buildings throughout the UK and providing them with a viable new use, as holiday properties. The trust’s directors called in insolvency firm Begbies Traynor last summer however, when the charity was hit by financial difficulties.

Now the properties owned by the trust have been put up for sale and Eddisons is inviting offers for the unique buildings, which have not been given a guide price.

Abdul Jambo, associate director at Eddisons, explained: “The properties are of such a unique and historic nature that we have rarely, if ever, seen anything comparable come to the open market.

“Because of this their values are likely to differ wildly depending on the potential buyers, whether they are a charity or a private enterprise. As such we will be leaving this to the market to decide and are looking to receive offers from anyone interested in owning an incredibly special piece of British history.”

Further information on all the Vivat Trust properties is available at

The historic properties up for sale are:

Hadlow Tower, Tonbridge, Kent

Hadlow Tower, built by Kent industrialist Walter Barton May, is a fully restored rare Grade I listed early 19th century Gothic tower which originally formed part of Hadlow Castle.

The tower was begun in 1838 to a design by naval architect George Ledwell Taylor. Constructed of brick and rendered with Roman Cement, it stands 53m high – 1m taller than Nelson’s column which was built at the same time – and is the tallest folly in the UK.

In the Second World War it served as a vegetable store and observation post for the Observer Corps and Home Guard. It was used as a landmark by Luftwaffe pilots on their way to London, who dropped bombs in nearby fields.

Damage caused by the exceptional storms of 1987 created major structural problems and in the mid 1990s Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council carried out urgent safety work, removing the 40ft ‘lantern’ that crowned the structure.

The Vivat Trust took over the building 2008 and carried out a full-scale restoration of the tower with donations from local fundraisers, £2.6m from the Heritage Lottery Fund, as well as other funding from English Heritage.

With a steel staircase rising to the summit of the tower, the living accommodation is made up of three bedrooms, a drawing room, dining room, two bathrooms and a wet room spread over five storeys. The tower also has outdoor space.

Further information on the history of Hadlow Tower at

Bolton Percy Gatehouse, near Tadcaster, North Yorkshire

The 15th century timber framed Grade II* listed gatehouse is located in the Yorkshire village of Bolton Percy, eight miles south west of York, and has been converted into a fully modernised two-bedroom house.

Restored by the Vivat Trust between November 2009 and April 2010, the gatehouse originally formed the defensive entrance to the village rectory and a courtyard of medieval buildings. The rectory was rebuilt in 1698 and the outbuildings, with the exception of the gatehouse, were demolished in the early 19th century.

The gatehouse now includes a kitchen and bathroom on the ground floor and a two-bedroom suite at first floor level with a sitting and dining area. The house also has its own private garden.

With the village pub on one side, the churchyard on the other and magnificent oak gates to hide behind, the gatehouse is in an idyllic village setting.

Wellbrook Manor, Peterchurch near Hereford

Wellbrook Manor, in rural Herefordshire, is a Grade II* listed farmhouse and has the substantial remains of a fine medieval hall house, dating from the late 14th century, at its core.

The house’s main surviving medieval elements are the ground floor entrance hall and sitting room which extends to the floor above, with a high ceiling and timber framing. It also has a medieval ‘solar wing’ or dining room, as well as a main bedroom above which has a spectacular roof structure and fireplace.

The Vivat Trust took over Wellbrook Manor in 2011, carrying out a rigorous restoration process which was not fully completed. The 2-acre estate includes the farmhouse, farm buildings, stone-built garages and a garden studio house.

Manor Cottages, a two-bedroom caretaker residence for Wellbrook Manor, is being marketed separately and is also available via Eddisons.


Written by: Abdul Jambo on Friday 20/05/2016



West Yorkshire water tower among lots at Eddisons property auction

West Yorkshire water tower among lots at Eddisons property auction


A disused water tower near Wakefield and a grade II listed former Victorian hotel building in Cleckheaton are among over 60 lots included in Eddisons’ next Leeds property auction, which are expected to generate in excess of £5 million.

The Leeds auction, which takes place at Elland Road Stadium on 21 April, includes a number of unusual lots, including the old Midgley Water Tower, at Flockton, near Wakefield, which is up for sale as a development opportunity with a guide price of just £4,000.

The George and Mead Hall in Cleckheaton town centre, which in the 19th century was an imposing hotel, has fallen into disrepair and has a guide price of £200,000-plus. The building covers almost 7,000 sq ft and has car parking and extensive landscaped grounds.

Glenn Levison, associate director at Eddisons , said: “We have a diverse array of properties and land going under the hammer in our spring auction which are generating plenty of interest. Property investment opportunities are in particularly high demand at the moment and the new stamp duty being levied on Buy to Let and second homes does not seemed to have diminished buyers’ appetites.”

He added: “Unusual properties always attract plenty of interest and the water tower at Flockton has already generated lots of enquiries. We are expecting it to go to an adventurous winning bidder, probably for rather more than its £4,000 guide price.”

Investment opportunities in the Leeds auction include a row of three Cleckheaton shops with two apartments above, at 28-36 Westgate. The shops are fully let to a recruitment agency, a tattooist and a beauty salon and the residential accommodation is also fully tenanted, generating a total rental income of £25,500 a year. The guide price is set at £275,000.

A two-storey, 4,000 sq ft building at 93-95 Main Street Garforth, Leeds, is also included. The premises is fully let to Barclays Bank on a five year lease until 2020, producing a rental income of £23,300, and with a guide price of £350,000 plus.

Monarch House on George Street in Wakefield city centre is a 9,000 sq ft landmark building suitable for division into two self-contained business units. It has a guide price of £260,000.

The auction will take place on 21 April at the Norman Hunter Suite, Leeds United Football Club, Elland Road, Leeds.

The full catalogue is available to view at


Written by: Rob Limbert on Wednesday 20/04/2016



‘Unique’ Bradford industrial site up for sale

‘Unique’ Bradford industrial site up for sale


One of the few remaining large-scale development sites in Bradford city centre has come to the market following confirmation of packaging company Holmes Mann’s plans to relocate its business.

Property consultant Eddisons has been instructed to sell the freehold interest of the 73,000 sq ft industrial units on a 2.4 acre site on Harris Street in Bradford. The firm has also been appointed to acquire new premises on behalf of the 125-year-old family business, which produces a range of cardboard and wooden packaging for blue-chip clients such as Rolls Royce, Sony and Johnson & Johnson.

Situated close to the ring road, the prominent site also fronts the Shipley Airedale Road and is suitable for a variety of uses. The existing building includes a number of interconnecting single-storey industrial units, secure yard and car parking areas.

John Padgett, Director at Eddisons, said: “The recent opening of the Broadway shopping centre has been a real boost to the city centre and is helping to put Bradford back on the map in the eyes of developers. Large city centre sites such as Holmes Mann’s, with good access and in a convenient location, are becoming increasingly rare.

“This is one of the last remaining city centre development opportunities which is attracting a lot of interest from a wide range of prospective buyers and we’ve already undertaken numerous viewings.”

Barny Holmes, managing director at Holmes Mann, added: “It’s been a landmark 12 months for Holmes Mann, we’ve celebrated our 125th anniversary, heavily invested in new equipment and expanded the workforce to keep up with growing demand. We now need to move to more modern premises to increase production levels and double our turnover to £7.5 million in 2016 so we need somewhere that will accommodate that growth.”

Holmes Mann has a long history in Bradford. The fifth generation family business was established by Jonas Holmes in 1890 to produce rolling boards for the city’s booming textiles industry. The company plans to relocate to new premises in Bradford.

For further information on the Harris Street site, contact John Padgett at Eddisons: [email protected]


Written by: on Wednesday 16/12/2015



‘Treasure trove’ of historic Scottish textile industry artefacts to go under the hammer

‘Treasure trove’ of historic Scottish textile industry artefacts to go under the hammer


The assets of an historic Ayrshire textiles mill have been put up for sale by online auction. As well as high-tech weaving equipment, the mill also contains numerous antiques and objects d’art, as well as vintage weaving machinery that has played a part in the evolution of the textiles industry in Scotland.

March Street Mills in Peebles closed with the loss of 87 jobs last month after parent company Moorbrook Textiles sold two arms of its business. The factory produced fabric for the Robert Noble and Replin Fabrics brands, which were bought by Moorbrook in the 1990s.

Robert Noble traced its history in textiles back to the 17th century, supplying apparel fabrics and design services to leading fashion and clothing brands from the Peebles site. Replin Fabrics, which produced fabrics for the transport industry, was established in 1945.

Among the industrial antiques that have been discovered inside the mill is one of the earliest Scottish examples of a spinning jenny, the multi-spindle spinning frame that was one of the key inventions, in 1764, of the industrial revolution. There is also a range of antique furniture and collectables.

An 1876 oil painting of sheep by Scottish artist William Watson is also due to be auctioned.

Jason Pinder, director and head of machinery and business assets at Eddisons, said: “Lots such as these very seldom come to market in their original environment. This is a rare chance for anyone interested in the history of the textiles industry to see a treasure trove of artefacts that have been hidden away for – in some cases – centuries.”

The auction will take place on Thursday 10 December with viewings available on Tuesday 8 December. More information on the auction and registration details are available at

“Lots such as these very seldom come to market in their original environment”


Written by: on Monday 07/12/2015



Major north Manchester strategic site on market with planning for homes

Major north Manchester strategic site on market with planning for homes


A 47 acre strategic residential development site in north west Manchester has been put on the market by the joint administrators of Ten Acre Limited, Brian Green and Richard Fleming of KPMG, and is being marketed by property consultant Eddisons.

The prime brownfield site, on Ten Acres Lane in Newton Heath, comes with a Manchester City Council resolution to grant planning for up to 500 houses over 36 acres. The site also has consent for 37,700 sq ft of employment space and includes 9 acres of open space.

Close to the Etihad Stadium, Sportscity and with direct rail links from the nearby Central Park train station, the Ten Acres Lane site was formerly occupied by Jackson Brickworks and is part of the wider administration of Lexi Holdings plc, the bridging loans firm which entered administration in 2006.

John Padgett, director and head of agency at Eddisons, said: “The resolution passed by Manchester’s planning committee to grant consent for a major housing development is a game changer for this brownfield land, bringing a vital urban site back to life.

“The development of 500 much-needed new homes will be of huge benefit to the local community, as well as being a superb opportunity for the right developer. This kind of development opportunity does not come along very often and, needless to say, we are already seeing substantial interest in Ten Acres Lane.”

The development will include new vehicle and pedestrian access from the surrounding roads as well as public space landscaping for the 9 acres of open space included in the plans.

For further information contact John Padgett at Eddisons: [email protected]

“The resolution passed by Manchester’s planning committee to grant consent for a major housing development is a game changer for this brownfield land, bringing a vital urban site back to life.”


Written by: John Padgett on Tuesday 17/11/2015



Emergency Out of Hours Contact Details

Emergency Out of Hours Contact Details


During the Christmas break, our offices will have limited cover. If you are a tenant in a commercial property that we manage, please note the following arrangements.

Commercial Property

Our offices are closed from Midday on Wednesday 24 December opening again on Friday 2 January.

If you have an urgent maintenance matter that requires immediate attention please call our Helpdesk on 0870 990 9613, which remains open throughout the entire period 24 hours a day.

We would like to take this opportunity to wish you a Merry Christmas.


Written by: Richard Roe on Wednesday 10/12/2014



Claims Occurring and Claims Made Insurance Policies – A Guidance Note for Insolvency Practitioners

Claims Occurring and Claims Made Insurance Policies – A Guidance Note for Insolvency Practitioners


It is common market practice for Insolvency Practitioners in the UK to arrange immediate open insurance cover on appointment. A review of the pre-appointment policies is then undertaken by the Insolvency Practitioners broker who advises on the options available based on the particular factors of the appointment.

As part of this process, it is important that both the Directors and the Insolvency Practitioner have an understanding of the implications of cancelling pre-appointment policies particularly where there are policies on a ‘claims made’ basis where there would be no cover should a claim arise in the future.

What is a Claims Made Policy?

Most UK insurance policies are insured on a “claims occurring” basis, where coverage is triggered at the date the incident, e.g. the injury or damage occurs, even if the claim is not made until years later. Thus if the policy is cancelled, that insurer will still deal with any future claims as long as their policy cover was valid on the date the claim occurred. A good example of this Employers Liability Insurance where a claim can be made years in advance but it is the responsibility of the insurer at the time of the accident to respond.

Some insurance policies, however, provide cover on a “claims made” (or “claims discovered”) basis i.e. the coverage is triggered at the date the claim is first made against the insured, even if the incident occurred years earlier during a previous insurance period. So the insurer dealing with the claim is the insurer whose policy is in force at the time the claim is made (or discovered), even if the incident which gives rise to the claim occurred in the past. This basis of cover has the effect that if a “claims made” policy is lapsed or cancelled, there is no insurance policy in force to deal with any future claims.

Types of policies which are on a “claims made” basis include Directors and Officers Liability, Pension Trustee Liability, Charity Trustee Liability, Employment Practices Liability, Professional Indemnity and Crime. However some overseas jurisdictions also require other policy types to be on a “claims made” basis e.g. General Liability insurance in France.

It is therefore necessary to ensure that all parties are aware of the implications and adequate coverage arrangements are made.

Full details of this topic can be found by downloading the detailed article here


Written by: Richard Roe on Monday 17/11/2014


Eddisons Has Tools For Letting Success

Eddisons Has Tools For Letting Success


The Bradford office of Chartered Surveyors Eddisons has completed the letting of a trade counter unit in Bradford, to a national tool hire firm.

Brandon Tools, who provide tools and equipment for the building and construction industry through a network of over 170 branches nationwide, is the latest tenant to sign up at the Bowling Back Lane Industrial Estate.

The firm has taken over 7,100 sq ft on a 15 year term within the estate on Wakefield Road, which is recognised as a prime trade counter position. The asking rent was £45,000 per annum.

Other nearby occupiers include City Electrical Factors, Tool Station, Plumb Center and Yesss Electrical.

Eddisons acted on behalf of established and retained client Marrtree Investments.

Alex Wilkinson of Eddisons said: ‘This is a top of the range unit in one of the most sought after trade counter locations in West Yorkshire.

‘It enjoys a huge amount of passing traffic and is well connected to major road networks, which is what attracted Brandon Tools and other national blue chip tenants.’


Written by: Richard Roe on Tuesday 05/08/2014



Insurance Issues In The Waste Sector

Insurance Issues In The Waste Sector


By Mark Crawford, Broking Director at Aon Ltd

The insurance market is cyclical and in respect of property for the last six years we have been in a soft market.

However, a word of caution before we all enjoy our summer and think everything in the property insurance sector is fine and dandy. In the last eighteen months and with added impetus during 2014 we have mounting capacity and insurance pricing issues in the waste and recycling sector.

The waste sector is a broad and growing industry in the UK, covering companies that recycle, collect, process and sell waste. Most householders now have a range of bins and bags to fill for kerbside collection and in the future households face being fined for putting rubbish in the wrong bin under proposed European sanctions to set higher legally binding targets for recycling.

So the green agenda has a high profile, but mention the waste sector to most underwriters and they are likely to see red. This is because of the fires which have been occurring too regularly in the sector can no longer be regarded as merely ‘one offs’, whereas now they are seen more as a catastrophe risk. The statistics say that during 2012/13 there were at least 52 major waste fires and during 2014 this trend has continued. The waste sector is now a distressed sector for insurance. Many of the waste fires we have seen this year have been in the suburbs of major cities including Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds. The thick black smoke which is given off by such fires can not only be seen from space, but is also getting a lot of media coverage. When a property underwriter is travelling to work and either sees the smoke or news reports it can bring on a panic attack… unless he has a waste free portfolio!

As a consequence the majority of the composite insurers including AXA and RSA have withdrawn from this business some years ago. Those insurers who have stayed in the sector including Lloyds are being very selective and seeking only to insure the better managed and fire protected risks in the industry.

Most recently we’ve seen Lloyds getting twitchy and Catlin have withdrawn from most of the waste sector at the end of March. Having met a number of waste businesses over the last two years their premiums have rocketed with the only option being touted is overseas, unregulated insurers, with lots of warranties and small print.

The last time I saw a property issue like this was the composite panel problem in the late eighties in the food industry. Then like now large fires and the fire brigades attitude that without danger to life, let the buildings burn out, saw insurance cover become very difficult to purchase.

It maybe stating the obvious but when handling large volumes of waste there is a high inception risk of fire. In garden waste there is also the risk of spontaneous combustion. At the more sophisticated end and well established parts of the sector these risks are not new and the industry has developed robust fire suppression systems both on conveyor and processing equipment and high hazard sprinkler systems in the premises themselves.

Excellent housekeeping is also critical. Insurers are paying particular attention to the storage of waste both inside the buildings and also in the yards. Many of the fires this year have incepted in outside storage areas. The throughput of waste and the capacity of premises is also a risk factor.

The consequence of this is that insurers are now becoming very selective. They will always want to survey the risk before incepting cover. On values over £3M I would expect risks to be co insured.

The client also needs specialist broking advice on the level and scope of cover particularly around stock debris removal and loss of revenue cover.

Because many of the fires are allowed to burn out, they can burn for days and even weeks. This will mean that the business is disrupted and often cannot operate. Revenues will be affected.

The water damage to waste should not be underestimated. The increased volume of the waste can add as much as three times the original mass. This makes the stock more costly to dispose of. The sums insured in this area can often be inadequate.

So the next time a property owner casually mentions he maybe leasing a building to a waste tenant, be on guard. It is going to be difficult to arrange cover. Not impossible but testing and requiring the services of an experienced insurance broker in the sector.

Join the Eddisons Restructuring, Risk and Insurance LinkedIn Group.

For more information about the services provided by the Insurance Services division, please click here.


Written by: Richard Roe on Friday 18/07/2014



Cedar Court Office Park Fully Let

Cedar Court Office Park Fully Let


A Wakefield office park extending to 13,000 sq ft is now fully occupied following a series of lettings by the Leeds office of Chartered Surveyors Eddisons.

New tenants at the Cedar Court Office Park, adjacent to Junction 39 of the M1, include a facilities management firm. B38 has taken 3,136 sq ft on the first floor of Unit A, off an asking rent of £30,300 per annum.

Meanwhile Wassen International, a supplier of nutritional supplements, has agreed a 5 year deal on a ground floor unit, off an initial asking rent of £17,136 per annum.

Steven Jones of Eddisons’ Leeds agency team said: ‘In total we have completed three deals in just six months, bringing the park to full capacity. This reflects the quality of the accommodation and the convenience of the location, adjacent to the M1.’

Eddisons acted on behalf of the landlord, Acropolis Properties.

The Eddisons auction department also helped the same client dispose of a surplus mixed used investment in the centre of Wakefield. The property on Kirkgate which is part-let to bookmaker William Hill at an annual rent of £20,000 per annum was sold for £191,000, when it went under the hammer recently.
Mr Jones said: ‘With a wide range of specialist services available under one roof, Eddisons can offer clients the most appropriate route to market, to fulfill specific business objectives.’

Written by: Richard Roe on Tuesday 10/06/2014