Grand Designs: How much to turn a lifeboat station into a Grand Design

2 Oct

Of all the probing question Kevin McCloud asks each couple on Grand Designs, the most anticipated is ‘how much did you spend’?

But despite his best efforts to unearth some financial secrets, most people featured on the long-running Channel 4 series are guarded about their expenditure and the richer they are, the tighter their lips.

Last week’s couple, Tim O’Donovan and his wife Philomena, had their clamped particularly tightly and despite weighty badgering by McCloud to reveal all, the Cardiff-based would only go as far as to say that that their costs had been ‘heavy’.

It’s hard to know how much their outlay was on Tenby’s former Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI) lifeboat station, but £500,000 would be a good guess.

And one fact we can reveal is how much they paid for the property, which following its conversion is now a four-bedroom luxury holiday home for the couple.

Land Registry records note that the O’Donovan bought it in January 2010 for £100,000, which included the structure and foreshore it stands on, all freehold.

But it’s quite surprising that they paid anything for it. The RNLI, after moving out to its new, £5.5 million station next door, began a protracted and desperate search find a new owner for its old address. Refused permission to demolish it, the RNLI was faced with demolition costs running into the hundreds of thousands.

But Tenby’s local were keen to see it preserved, particularly as there’s been a station there for at least half a century. Records go as far back as 1962 and original ownership appears to have been shared between Pembrokeshire County Council and the RNLI under a leasehold arrangement, while the Crown Commissioners owned the freehold.

And it was the Crown relinquishing that freehold which helped persuade the O’Donovans to plough so much money into the property, which they will no doubt be spending a lot of time in given that they live just 85 miles down the coast in a relatively modest detached mock Tudor house in the northern suburbs of Cardiff, where Tim runs a demolition and civic engineering firm.

One Response to “Grand Designs: How much to turn a lifeboat station into a Grand Design”

  1. raheel October 5, 2011 at 11:22 am #

    that is the best place regarding property in UK.

    Northwood Letting Agents Bournemouth

    721 Christchurch Rd, Bournemouth, Dorset BH7 6AQ, United Kingdom

    +44 1202 395393

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