Well would you look at that. A roundhouse for sale, and everyone shared it because roundhouses are cool. Look at the price tag. Half a million quid? Are you having a laugh?
Ok, so I look closer, and it’s evident that there is also 80 acres of land included in this sale, mixed species semi-natural ancient woodland. Ok. So, at six grand – ish an acre that’s about right. But over the years, and this is another story, a roundhouse was built on the land by the wonderful craftsman Simon Dale, who you may remember was featured on grand designs when he and his wife Jasmine built the wonderful house at Lammas which unfortunately burned down just as it was finished.
Simon’s houses are exquisitely fashioned from natural materials. They are, quite frankly, stunning. This particular one was built on the 80 acres about 15 years ago. It has never had planning permission and does not have a certificate of lawfulness. The owners of the land have managed somehow to keep it extremely quiet, even though every post on Facebook seems to refer to it as some sort of legendary party palace that everyone in the universe knew about except me.
My big annoyance with this situation, having had people telling me off all week for mocking the for-sale ad and the mental price, is that here we have a perfect illustration of the way estate agents know their market. I know. I used to be one. An agent markets to who they believe will buy the property. Makes sense. So of course, the first thing you see on this particular ad is a gert picture of a stunning roundhouse. Attention has been got. You look at the price, most peoples’ attention goes immediately. Half a million quid? For a hobbit house?
It’s not immediately obvious on the particulars that there’s 80 acres. In fact, most of the comments I’ve seen seem to have missed that point completely. All everyone is seeing is the roundhouse, and of course they are. That’s what the agent wants you to see. The agent knows his market, and he knows that there’s no shortage at all of rich Englanders with pots of money looking for exactly this kind of thing.
The woods are semi ancient and therefore not suitable for clearfelling, so the foresters won’t buy it. The coppice woodsmen that could make use of that kind of environment aren’t usually in possession of that kind of dolla, so they’re not gonna buy it.
So, very cunningly, and knowing this, the agent has made the advert all about the roundhouse, which definitely has a market among a certain type of person trying to create a certain kind of fashionable impression. Any banker who once watched a documentary about tipi valley can now own his own private hippy place, and at half the price of their flat in Kensington. “How blissful!”, you can almost hear them exclaim as they view Rightmove from their city offices. “How wonderfully delightful and twee!”.
The only solution it seems for this land to end up anywhere near its rightful owner is for a conglomerate to get together and take all the risks with communal living and sharing, that face others that have taken the same path. And I hear that talks are already in place among some local decent types to do just this. Good luck to them.
There is big money in Hippydom, or there can be. But caveat emptor, the roundhouse is falling down, and as previously stated, doesn’t have planning permission, but has never been hassled or enforced. Seems that if you’re on a plot that’s worth half a million quid, hippy houses are allowed. Funny, that, innit.