RUINS FOR SALE

The latest SAVE Britain's Heritage report, One Damned Building After Another, features 130 empty and neglected architectural gems all over England and Wales. They include churches, lodges, follies, Regency townhouses, farms, barns and industrial relics. There is a theatre in London, a windmill (minus sails) in Bedfordshire, a water tower in Nottinghamshire, a flour mill in Cheshire, a burnt-out miners' institute in Derbyshire and a couple of Grade I listed mansions. Most are listed; all have come under the scrutiny of a concerned local authority; and several are for sale.

In the money-no-object category, Cound Hall - a Grade I listed, Queen Anne mansion and 95 acres of Shropshire - is on the market at pounds 750,000 through Balfour & Cooke (01743 241181). Detailed planning consent has been granted for a 76-bedroom hotel. Webbs Hotel in Liskeard, Cornwall, however, is more likely to be converted into flats. The asking price for this four-square, classical building of 1833 is pounds 400,000; details from T Bedford (01579 346894).

Poor Patch Cottage, an 18th-century random stone house in Buckland Dinham, Somerset, has been empty since 1993 and needs repairs and modernisation. The agent, Cluttons (01225 469511), is inviting offers for the detached three-bedroom cottage; no guide price is given.

Partly clad in corrugated iron and situated on the busy A358 between Taunton and Axminster, Weycroft Mill in Devon has been on the market for some years. The site, nearly nine acres, consists of an untidy group of 18th-, 19th- and 20th-century buildings and a plot of agricultural land on the banks of the Axe. Planning consent for conversion into five houses has been granted but buyers would have to spend immense sums on structural repairs. Boggons of Taunton (01823 442153) is inviting offers in the region of pounds 200,000 for the Grade II listed property.

Portclew House, in Dyfed, is a Grade II* listed, Georgian villa in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. The seven-bedroom house has been on the market for nearly five years; the roof leaks, the cellar has been flooded and the two-acre garden is a wilderness. Agent Guy Thomas (01646 682342) is seeking offers in the region of pounds 160,000 .

Potential buyers should note that grant aid for repairs can be available through English Heritage for Grade I or Grade II* listed buildings. CADW in Wales will also fund repairs on Grade II listed buildings or those in conservation areas. Some local authorities offer discretionary improvement grants.

Mortgage lenders are generally wary of restoration projects so you need a tidy capital sum if you buy a crumbling building. The Ecology Building Society (01535 635933), however, will lend up to 80 per cent on the purchase price if the buyer rebuilds with traditional, environment-friendly materials.

Copies of One Damned Building After Another (pounds 10.95) are available through SAVE Britain's Heritage, 68 Battersea High Street, London SW11 (0171 228 3336). The Scottish Civic Trust (0141 221 1466) produces a free report on listed wrecks in Scotland. Other sources of listed buildings for sale include the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (0171 377 1644), and Pavilions of Splendour (0181 348 1234), an estate agent which specialises in romantic ruins.

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