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Last Updated: Friday, 3 September, 2004, 05:34 GMT 06:34 UK
'Properties' weird and wonderful
Lynne French
BBC News Online Plymouth

From the sublime to the ridiculous, it would appear the saying "everything has its price" is true in Devon and Cornwall when it comes to property.

Some of the more unusual properties snapped up by buyers recently include a converted rail carriage, a telephone exchange and a nudist colony.

Now purchasers with a taste for the unusual are being offered the chance to buy a World War II pillbox in Devon.

The Burgh Island gun tower is being auctioned with a 70,000 guide price.

A World War II pillbox in Devon is the latest in a long line of unusual properties to go under the hammer in the region

With 17-inch thick walls the gun emplacement, which consists of one room and has gun slits for windows, is currently home to a fisherman from May to September.

Richard Copus from the Devon Association of Estate Agents has likened the unusual purchases to follies.

The building of follies began in England around 1600 and were usually erected in gardens or grounds of wealthy landowners to improve the appearance of a landscape.

Often built as a joke or as part of a bet one of the main reasons for their existence was the fact that there was no real point to them at all.

Mr Copus explained: "You could probably call them 21st Century follies.

"I suppose people who have a lot of money might want to make their mark with such eccentricities, just as people who built the follies did."

One such 'folly' sold recently was a 19sq ft piece of beach in Salcombe, Devon.

This has no relation whatsoever on normal property prices
Richard Copus, National Association of Estate Agents

Batchelor pad

The package of land, at Bakeswell Steps in Cliffs Road just below the Salcombe Yacht Club, was sold in May to a mystery television presenter for 30,000

And in April a derelict cow shed near Tavistock attracted hundreds of potential buyers when it went up for sale with a guide price of 30,000.

The barn eventually sold for 90,000, even though planning officers say it is very unlikely permission will be given for residential use.

In May a converted railway carriage, permanently stationed at the seaside town of Dawlish Warren in south Devon, went on sale with a guide price of 215,000.

Converted railway carriage
The railway carriage was described as an ideal bachelor pad

The restored rolling stock boasts a kitchen, dressing room, en-suite shower room, conservatory and veranda.

Last week a survey carried out by the Halifax revealed that nine out of the top 10 most expensive seaside resorts were in the South West.

So do property experts believe the sale of these very unusual properties could be affecting house prices in general in the South West?

Richard Copus believes the "eccentricities" do not have a bearing.

He said: "It really is just luck and coincidence that so many of the unusual properties are in Devon and Cornwall.

"There are people with mega bucks at the top. 70,000 is just petty cash for them.

"This has no relation whatsoever on normal property prices.

"The property market is levelling out nicely, meaning there is unlikely to be a crash."

Big interest in tiny beach plot
11 May 04  |  Devon
Hall exceeds auction expectations
05 May 04  |  Cornwall
Cow barn sells for 88,000
01 Oct 03  |  Devon

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