This remarkable converted water tower is now a luxury holiday let with exceptional long range views of Yorkshire
“I knew he would keep going,” she says. Meanwhile, when some of his friends heard of his latest buy, they questioned his sanity. “They say there’s a fine line between madness and genius,” laughs Chris, who has proved all the naysayers wrong by turning the redundant 1960s building into one of the most remarkable properties in Yorkshire. It took six years from start to finish but it has been well worth the wait.
Originally built to supply water to a nearby prison, the tower is now a sensational, four-bedroom holiday let with views that stretch as far as the North York Moors and guests have given it rave reviews, which have helped make all the hard work and the cost worthwhile.
The journey to give the tower a new life started with getting planning permission to convert it. “That took about two years because we had to get an architect involved and then the application was turned down by Wakefield Council so we had to take it to an appeal, which we won,” says Angela.
The original water tower had a suspended, reinforced concrete tank with a sloping floor and a ladder down to ground level. Chris came up with the idea of turning the main tank into three ensuite bedrooms, which involved insulating, cladding and creating a floating floor and eight window openings.
A new circular room below houses a living/kitchen/dining space with 30 floor-to-ceiling windows. Above the existing tank, another new floor, glazed all the way round and topped with a steel roof, was added to create a luxurious bedroom suite with its own sitting room.
The views were front and centre of Chris’s thinking and, as for the execution of his Grand Design, he planned to be hands on all the way. He and Angela have a shopfitting business and he also has experience in renovating and extending properties so he did most of the work himself with help of his capable and unflappable friend John.
The project began at the end of 2019 and continued throughout the pandemic, which saw the cost of construction materials rocket. That wasn’t all they had to contend with. High winds were a problem, exacerbated by working at an extreme height. Then the snow delivered its load and work had to stop.
Delays were costly, not least because the scaffolding hire alone was £1,000 a week. The task of cutting holes for windows in the concrete tank also proved challenging as did getting equipment up, which meant they had to winch some of it in.
“I also had to break off this project to do my own work,” says Chris, who was also laid low by a hip replacement, though he was back on site and working after six weeks, alongside John whose answer to the cold was to wear five T-shirts, two fleeces, leggings under his trousers and a woolly hat.
It was that kind of Yorkshire grit, along with a wry sense of humour and a “can do” approach to problem solving that kept the pair going through the various challenges. “It’s good to have a sense of humour and keep things light and it helped that John and I have known each other for 30 odd years and we get on really well,” says Chris.
The decision to make the water tower a holiday let was made as costs rose and it was clear the property would have to earn its keep. “We have only just started letting it for holidays and short breaks recently and there has been a lot of interest and posts on social media because the property is such a novelty and the views are amazing,” says Angela.
The windows supplied by Specialist Glass Products in Milnsbridge and the beautiful, carefully though out interiors have played a big part in the tower’s success. The kitchen cabinetry was handmade by Slaithwaite based Daval Furniture and the bespoke dining table was also handmade and features a curve to match the contours of the building.
Harpers Interiors in Shepley helped with the colour scheme and sourced some of the furniture, headboards and wall coverings, while Sleep Matters in Honley supplied the mattresses. “We tried to support local businesses, where possible,” says Angela.
The location of the Flockton Water Tower, which also has its own garden, has helped its appeal. It sits between Wakefield and Huddersfield in easy reach of the M1. The Yorkshire Sculpture Park and National Coal Mining Museum are a few minutes drive away, the Hepworth Gallery is a 20 minute drive and you can be in central Leeds in half an hour.
Altogether, the Hudsons spent £450,000 on the conversion and the water tower has now been valued at £1m. It is by far the most difficult property project they have tackled but it hasn’t put Angela and Chris off doing more. “We’ve got an industrial unit that we are going to convert to two houses and then we have a 1960s house that we want to pull down to make way for a modern home that will be suitable for our retirement,” says Angela.
*Flockton Water Tower is available for holiday letting via Move Now Properties, www.movenowproperties.com, www.ooking.com and AirBnB. You can also watch the initial conversion on screen thanks to AirTV via Discovery + at www.derelictrescue.co.uk