Eyesore Harpenden cottages for sale again

PUBLISHED: 07:05 26 January 2010 | UPDATED: 14:50 06 May 2010

The West Common cottages

The West Common cottages

A PAIR of tumbledown cottages originally built for farm labourers in 1860 has gone back on the market again with a price tag slashed by £100,000. The cottages at 40 and 41 West Common, Harpenden were originally put up for sale with an asking price of arou

A PAIR of tumbledown cottages originally built for farm labourers in 1860 has gone back on the market again with a price tag slashed by £100,000.

The cottages at 40 and 41 West Common, Harpenden were originally put up for sale with an asking price of around £500,000 in April last year.

Neighbours who described the cottages at the time as an "eyesore" were hopeful that they would soon be refurbished. A buyer was found but he subsequently dropped out after protracted negotiations.

A spokesperson for the Lawes Agricultural Trust (LAT), a charity set up by the founder of Rothamsted, the agricultural research station, and run by Rothamsted staff, said: "When the buyer dropped out we tried to re-negotiate the terms of the planning permission to make the cottages a more attractive proposition."

Planning permission has been obtained to knock the two cottages into one but it is estimated it would cost more than £400,000 to carry out the work on what would still only be a two bedroom property.

The cottages, which have no foundations and suffer from rising damp, would require underpinning and the roof would have to be rethatched.

Whoever takes them on will have to work closely with St Albans council's planners because they are in the conservation area.

If council planners had agreed to the demolition of the two dilapidated buildings, the site would have been worth more to an investor. But permission was refused so the two cottages are back on the market again.

They had previously been used to house foreign students but have not been habitable for many years.

Neighbours are fed up that the cottages have been allowed to fall into disrepair and one said: "These two cottages used to be picture postcard thatched cottages with well-kept gardens but they are now an eyesore."

Richard Goss, of John Curtis the selling agent, said the location of the cottages was superb enjoying, "stunning views over Rothamsted fields, while fronting on to the Common.

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