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  • Torre Signal Box Auction: February 02, 2021 - February 04, 2021
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Author Topic: Holiday home in Torquay (Torre) anyone? - be aware of train noise  (Read 793 times)
grahame
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« on: January 02, 2021, 04:12:08 pm »

https://www.rightmove.co.uk/commercial-property-for-sale/property-87877405.html

Quote
FOR SALE BY AUCTION - - Development Opportunity
Online auction - 2nd February - 4th February 2021

A rare opportunity to acquire a grade II listed signal box with full planning for conversion to a holiday home. Situated in the seaside resort of Torquay and renowned throughout the world as the English Riviera, this will be an ideal property for landlord looking for a unique and quirky holiday let or a family looking for a summer retreat.

The accommodation comprises three floors with proposed plans to have a snug ground floor living area, first floor bedroom with en suite and the third floor, having an open plan dining room and kitchen.

Planning has been granted for conversion of the signal box into a holiday home
Planning ref P/2016/0146 - Planning has already been implemented by installing polycarbonate protection on the windows and building regulations have been passed by the local authority (Torbay Council)






« Last Edit: January 11, 2021, 08:28:46 am by grahame » Logged

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smokey
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« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2021, 04:15:35 pm »

Be a right PIG to install any White Goods, furniture etc as it all needs humping over the footbridge. Wink
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bignosemac
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« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2021, 04:47:34 pm »

One would assume that vehicular access in the current self storage yard (former rail land on the up side) is part of the planning permission and development.
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http://www.templecombevillage.uk/station.html

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grahame
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« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2021, 04:57:37 pm »

One would assume that vehicular access in the current self storage yard (former rail land on the up side) is part of the planning permission and development.

From the planning decision

Quote
I am commenting as Estates Manager for Great Western Railway which is the train operating company responsible for Torre station. We do have concerns that the signal box is situated on an operational railway platform at an unmanned station with the only means of access being across the railway platform. If the signal box is converted to a holiday let then there is the potential for it be let to people who are not familiar with the risks associated with railways and there is no manned presence at the station to provide on-site management.

Also, as far as I am aware there is no electricity supply connection to the signal box and no foul drainage connection.

For any work activity outside of the signal box on the station platform consent from both Network Rail and Great Western Railway will be required.

and

Quote
The proposal includes the change of use of a redundant signal box for use as holiday accommodation. The site does not include any external curtilage and is located on the south western platform of Torre Station. The location of the proposal on a railway platform means that it is unsuitable for a number of uses which require a building with access or curtilage. The proposed use of the building as a holiday home is considered to be appropriate as it is likely to appeal to railway enthusiasts who would arrive by train and would not need any vehicular access or curtilage. Given that any other use is unlikely to come forward for the site it is considered that this represents a good opportunity to restore the building which is considered to be a listed building at risk. As such the principle of the use is considered to be acceptable. The building would be restored as a result of its conversion and the key features of the building will be preserved including the levers.

but then

Quote
Conclusions

The proposed change of use to holiday accommodation is considered to be appropriate for listed building consent. The location of the signal box is highly sustainable for visitors who will be likely to use public transport and the use will restore and bring back into use a listed building which is considered to be at risk.
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TonyN
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« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2021, 09:30:22 pm »

The plan appears to show the lever frame remaining on the Second floor living area but not in the First floor sleeping area. This is not possible as the part of the frame below the old operating floor on the second floor is required to support the levers and indeed to support the floor. The ground floor may also contain floor supports this is more difficult to assess as this arrangment of a floor below the locking room is unusual in a GWR box.
The picture at the bottom of this webpage showing the same type of frame from Weston Rhyn lying on its side outside the box gives some idea of the bulk of metal involved below the operating floor.
http://www.disused-stations.org.uk/w/weston_rhyn/index3.shtml
« Last Edit: January 02, 2021, 09:40:13 pm by TonyN » Logged
TaplowGreen
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« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2021, 08:40:28 am »

Seems quite imaginative rather than letting it fall into dereliction.

It'll be interesting to see how it looks once completely converted.
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LiskeardRich
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« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2021, 11:07:58 am »

One would assume that vehicular access in the current self storage yard (former rail land on the up side) is part of the planning permission and development.

Nope. No right of access via the storage yard!
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ellendune
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« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2021, 01:17:06 pm »

It would be a courageous person who would buy a property without any right of access.  Is there a pedestrian right of access either through the station or storage yard?
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stuving
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« Reply #8 on: January 03, 2021, 02:20:45 pm »

It would be a courageous person who would buy a property without any right of access.  Is there a pedestrian right of access either through the station or storage yard?

Through the station, yes. On a one-off basis, such as for building (or heaver decorating) work, access via the storage yard might well be agreed. However, unattended access via that route seems very unlikely. Buying land for an access route on that side also looks hard to get - no doubt everything has a price, but in that case it's likely to be "too much".
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grahame
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« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2021, 02:39:11 pm »

It would be a courageous person who would buy a property without any right of access.  Is there a pedestrian right of access either through the station or storage yard?

Through the station, yes. On a one-off basis, such as for building (or heaver decorating) work, access via the storage yard might well be agreed. However, unattended access via that route seems very unlikely. Buying land for an access route on that side also looks hard to get - no doubt everything has a price, but in that case it's likely to be "too much".

Very interesting that it's a self-storage facility that allows access for long hours to its customers - including 24 hour by arrangement.   For specific known people who pay and are insured, I would hazard a guess that access would be somewhat easier to negotiate than were it through a typical industrial setting.   Pure academic speculation - we are simplifying these days not taking on more projects! https://dainton.com/location/torquay/
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stuving
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« Reply #10 on: January 03, 2021, 03:06:01 pm »

There's a lot about this that's not clear at first reading. For a start, the latest planning approval was in 2016, and had a standard three-year limit on starting work, so it has lapsed.

In 2016 there was a pair of applications, one for planning approval (P/2016/0145/PA) and one for listed building consent (P/2016/0146/LB). Both were treated together, with almost identical documents, and those documents don't make the pairing clear. (Graham's link to the "planning decision" is actually to the planning officer's report for P/2016/0146/LB.)

The original version of the application proposed polycarbonate panes in the existing frames on th ground floor. This was changed (following discussions with the planning and heritage departments) to a secondary glazing in polycarbonate, as being more robust and so secure. (See below!)  Where the selling agent's details talk about planning being "implemented", that's all they are referring to. What they mean by "building regulations have been passed by the local authority" is anyone's guess.

That officer's report contains the planning history, starting with a first (and virtually identical) application in 2010. It also says the signal box wasn't listed then, and this happened in 2013 just as the applicant was trying to get hie approval extended (which wasn't then allowed), and he gave up for a while. But that's not quite true.

The signal box was sold by Railtrack in 1994, and acquired by its present owner in 2004. That owner (and the applicant) is Mr J Rushworth acting as (or for) Rail Property Investments of Boston Lincs. In 2010 he put in two applications, one for planning approval (P/2010/0835/PA) and one for listed building consent (P/2010/0836/LB). They were granted subject to the condition that an alternative security treatment for the ground-floor windows was found as the proposed outer polycarbonate secondary glazing was found to have "unacceptable impact upon the listed building"!

The listing notice is included in the D&A statement (which seems to have disappeared from the later applications). It mentions the station buildings and footbridge, but not the signal box. I wonder if the applicant tried arguing that the signal box was not included, and as a result it got included - I suspect he'd be more than a little miffed by that! In any case there was a gap from then to 2016.

If you have read the planning officer's report, you'll have seen this comment from GWR:
Quote
Mr David Harrison Milford House 1 Milford Street Swindon SN1 1HL (Neutral)
Comment submitted date: Wed 16 Mar 2016

I am commenting as Estates Manager for Great Western Railway which is the train operating company responsible for Torre station. We do have concerns that the signal box is situated on an operational railway platform at an unmanned station with the only means of access being across the railway platform. If the signal box is converted to a holiday let then there is the potential for it be let to people who are not familiar with the risks associated with railways and there is no manned presence at the station to provide on-site management.
Also, as far as I am aware there is no electricity supply connection to the signal box and no foul drainage connection.
For any work activity outside of the signal box on the station platform consent from both Network Rail and Great Western Railway will be required.

On a factual matter, the building already has a WC, so presumably it does have water and foul drainage. From the pictures, it also has lighting and sockets as you'd expect with mains electricity. Those services are probably not routed via the station and across the tracks, so GWR know nothing about them. Our Mr. Rushworth was obviously not happy with the general tone of that comment - I guess in his line of business he (or they) spends a lot of time banging his head against the powers that run trains. He counter-commented :

Quote
Mr justin rushworth 48 thorold street boston pe21 6ph (Supports)
Comment submitted date: Thu 31 Mar 2016

I act for the owner of this property who has submitted this application. I note the comments of Mr David Harrison claiming to be acting for Great Western Railway. I find his comments most unhelpful when all he can do is state what he considers cannot be done rather than praising our efforts to bring this property back into use he and his colleagues have done nothing but hinder our efforts in recent years attempting to put as much red tape as he can in our way. Needless to say his statement as to consent required from his company and Network Rail is incorrect, the demarcation agreement reflects a totally different picture. It seems convenient for him to suggest what consent we need from him when in fact his company have chosen in the past to do entirely as they chose with our property in the name of so called health and safety concerns, when in fact they couldn't even address our security concerns over lack of cameras on the side of the platform where our property sits. The usual blame someone else approach that seems to be normal in this country at the moment seems to be Mr Harrison's second language. He seems to have forgotten the people who built these railways by working together. Thankfully he will have no involvement in the future of the box but I guess his company will be quick to try to claim they have been involved in improving the station in any event. I hope that parties considering this application will take a pragmatic view and approve the proposals.
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« Reply #11 on: January 03, 2021, 05:43:07 pm »

This was approved based on the officers report on the 21 July 2016 and provided a start was made within 3 years then there is no time limit to completion.

Having attended many Torbay planning committees in person and since June via zoom the committee usually accept the officers recommendation, approval or refusal,  or defer for more information. Legal officers also give their opinion if a refusal  is made as to the implications to the council; ie being taking to planning inquiry and the legal costs if they lose. This January there is a planning inquiry over the refusal of 370 homes on a greenfield site.

Looking at the plans the locking bars and connecting rods below the frame must have been removed leaving the lever frame as merely decorative.

Below is the original plans the architects worked from. It is unusual in that it had no external staircase except to the cellar.
torre signal box by Robert, on Flickr
« Last Edit: January 03, 2021, 05:51:23 pm by REVUpminster » Logged
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