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Last Updated: Friday, 17 October, 2003, 14:56 GMT 15:56 UK
Home is where the art is
Vow Cave Studio at Lamorna
Offers in excess of 175,000 are being sought by the current owners
Prospective purchasers of a tiny woodland cottage in Cornwall will not only have to stump up the 175,000 asking price, but will have to prove their artistic credentials too.

One-roomed Vow Cave Studio at Lamorna, near Penzance, is principally an artist's studio and a planning restriction means residential use is limited.

The particulars say the building is an artist's studio, with residential use for 10 months of the year.

But that is not deterring potential buyers according to agents Stratton & Holborow.

We won't be camping out on doorstep - but it is a sensitive area
Roger Harnett,
Penwith District Council
Interest has been so great that a system of sealed bids is being used to decide who buys it.

The property, which is made from local granite, comes with 4.5 acres of meadowland and was rebuilt by the current vendors in the 1990s.

Inside is an open plan studio and a galleried bedroom.

The Lamorna Valley has strong historical associations with artists, and there are a number of small studios, workshops and galleries in the area.

The local authority is determined that it will not become a full-time residential dwelling by any new buyer.

Roger Harnett, Head of Planning and Building Control for Penwith District Council, said that a planning appeal by a former artist owner did allow occasional overnight stays because of concerns of expensive paintings being left inside the property.

But this does not mean that the number of such stays will be allowed to gradually increase to 365 a year.

Mr Harnett said of enforcing the building's use: "We won't be camping out on doorstep. But it is a sensitive area and I guess if there is policing to be done, it will be done by concerned neighbours.

"If there were any normal trappings of living seen, like newspapers being delivered or milk being left on the step, then local residents will probably tell us it's not being used for what it is intended."

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