Thursday, 24 March 2011

How much is a church worth?

Here we have a genuine 15th century church with an acre of churchyard in an idyllic Norfolk village. How much would you think it's worth?

You're right. It's a trick question. It isn't in fact a church, a place of worship, but an ex-church with planning consent to turn it into a three bedroom dwelling. Its current value is nil. You see, the costs of converting it to a dwelling actually exceed the sales price of three-bed houses in the area, even very upscale ones; the open market value of the property is actually negative. 

I saw it on the market a couple of years ago at a fantasy price. The owner's still trying to flog it albeit at a much more modest price, but still far in excess of its actual worth as a dwelling. Which is nil. 

The CofE's disposal conditions no doubt stipulated that it was never to revert to being a place of worship. And so it slowly decays; the pigeons are in, the roof is holed and water is penetrating the roof timbers. I don't think it's on the Building at Risk registers yet - buildings need to be in far worse condition to gain entry to that particular list. 

The owner is hoping for a foolish romantic with no clue about property values to take it off their hands, and who knows, such a person may eventually appear. Until then it stands as a minor embarrassment to us all. 


Anonymous said...

Something peculiar buried in this story, but isn't there something strange about them demanding it never again be refurbished and turned back into a house of Christan worship? Isn't that a bit like the old USSR requirement that churches there be decomissioned and turned into museums, in a way.

Edward Spalton said...

Being today's Church of England, perhaps they might agree to a mosque!

Guthrum said...

That hopeless romantic is out there, they always are.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure that this stands as a "minor embarrassment" to us all; I think it stands as a stark and horrid reminder of the true state of our nation and society today. I don't want to get into the sky-fairy debate but there is, or was, something more wholesome about our lives when they weren't governed by high-tech (which was supposed to liberate our time) and high-pressure and unrealistic demands made on our stressful lives.

There was something more wholesome and pleasant about Sundays being Sundays and not just an extended intrusion of work and shopping and consumerism and debt and the constant intrusive babble of i-phones and mobil internet that pervades and poisons our existence today.

I did go to church, and Sunday school and I did play in other peoples apple orchards until Sunday lunch was served - carved at the table by my Dad, who did not have to work on Sunday. And there was a manor house and there were two Church of England schools in our village and a pub called the "Ring of Bells" - but for many churches and many nearby pubs, the bells don't ring anymore.

Now, sadly, I am one of the guilty ones; the one with two computers and three cars and on a Sunday morning, when I wash my car, I can still hear my old primary school (C of E) headmasters words as he stood by his dais on the school stage during assembly - yes we had daily assembly - and he would thunder and roar as he said "..and you can see the Gods they worhip, because they are outside washing them on a Sunday morning, instead of going to Church". And there I rest his case.

Coney Island

Blue Eyes said...

Yes, it was much better when we did what we were told and had our morals imposed from the outside.

Span Ows said...

well said Coney Island, most of what you say applies to me.

Others miss the point: a hopeless romantic wouldn't CARE about land/property values etc. In fact I must be one because if I had the spare dosh I'd buy it and spend what it cost to make livable/safe etc. Plus do up the church yard.

Anonymous said...

Blue Eyes - look what we have now. We do what we are told, an imposition from the Labour government with its spying and prying and snooping into our lives and its useless but prohibitive laws against our freedoms.

"Had our morals imposed from the outside" - how many can you count today? Every useless minority has managed to persuade governments that their way is the right way. We must all embrace the deviants and morally bankrupt perverts of this country and at the same time, we must accept that politicians are thieving dishonest and corrupt, but we the public, have to do as they say, not do as they do.

This is why the church closed.

Coney Island

hopeless romantic said...

Imagine, though. A wonderful open living space, bathroom in the vestry, bedrooms in the tower, an excuse to buy lots of ecclesiastical salvage, fabulous acoustics and your own crypt. Worth every penny.