Derelict Grade II listed cottage in Folkingham to go up for auction for just £10,000
The asking price on a tumbledown ‘monstrosity’ will be slashed when it goes to auction following a legal battle.
Toll House Cottage in Bourne Road near Folkingham is being held up with scaffolding and encased in plastic wrapping, and has been derelict for at least 15 years.
The reserve will be just £10,000 for it, down from £78,000 when it last went up for auction unsuccessfully.
Thousands of pounds in public money have been spent over the last few years as the council was forced to stop the Grade II listed property from falling down.
South Kesteven District Council secured an order to sell the Folkingham property last year due to the owner’s outstanding debt.
However, he protested that the minimum price of £10,000 recommended by a valuation from a chartered surveyor would be “basically giving the property away”.
The case went to Lincolnshire County Court on Friday, where the judge agreed with the lower price tag.
Ward councillor Jan Hansen (Ind - Toller) said: “I have been asking what is happening with the building for seven or eight years, long before I became a councillor. People constantly say ‘What’s that mess on the hill?’ It is effectively a bombsite now.
“Hopefully it is marketed well and can get a good price at auction.
“Local people would be happy if it was demolished and replaced with a traditional old fashioned-looking cottage. I would like to see it rise from the ashes like a phoenix – better than the monstrosity that’s there now.”
Martha Wise, representing South Kesteven District Council, told the court: “It is costing the council £1,400 a month in scaffolding costs, so is an ongoing financial burden. There are more pressing issues on which to spend public money.
“It will have to be demolished, which will require de-listing and planning applications. It is an unattractive proposition.”
David Rogerson, the solicitor for the property owner, said his client felt that “£10,000 would be basically giving the property away”.
“It’s a not insignificant plot. £10,000 is such a low figure. There should be an opportunity for a minimum sale value in between [the two values],” he said.
Extracts read out from a report by Pygott and Crone said the building’s condition was “poor and derelict”, “stabilised with scaffolding”, and had “urgent structural defects".
Deputy District Judge Morris sided with the council, saying he had to accept the value from the estate agent.
“There’s no evidence it would attract a greater value. There are financial hurdles for any developer before it becomes a building plot,” he said.
“The property market isn’t booming as it was post-covid. It’s flattening and may be in decline.”
A charging order, in which debt is secured against a property, was made in March 2021. This was followed by an order to sell in November when the debts weren’t cleared.
Cabinet member for housing Robert Reid (Con - Bourne Austerby) said: “A notice was served to the owner of Toll House Cottage, Folkingham, several years ago to protect this listed building.
“Regrettably, the necessary repair work was not undertaken so SKDC arranged installation of scaffolding, originally paid for by the owner, to prevent further deterioration.
“Although the owner is no longer covering the cost of the scaffolding, an order for sale has been granted to encourage a new purchaser to take on and improve the site, and through this SKDC would expect to recover its costs.”
The house was built in the late 1800s, and was listed in 1987.