For sale: The ramshackle Yorkshire des-res with plenty of promise

Moor Farm, Hartwith.
Moor Farm, Hartwith.
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It’s semi-derelict with no mains connection but the last occupant lived there until he was 97. Now it’s a des res, says Sharon Dale.

Described as semi-derelict and set in overgrown grounds with no running water, no sewage disposal and no gas or electricity supply, Moor Farm doesn’t sound like a des res.

The property is close to Brimham Rocks

The property is close to Brimham Rocks

Yet the property, which sits just outside the pretty hamlet of Hartwith, close to Brimham Rocks, is setting hearts on fire.

Its location in beautiful Nidderdale countryside with easy access to Harrogate and Pateley Bridge, together with its potential, is a winning combination. It’s a dream home for those who want a self-build/renovation project and who long for an “escape to the country”.

It is on the market with Robin Jessop with a guide price of £455,000 to £495,000 and is available as a whole or in three separate lots. Lot one is the house, a traditional range of farm buildings, gardens and grounds and three adjacent grass fields amounting to a total of 19.63 acres. Lot two is 4.2 acres of grass field and lot three is eight acres of field.

While would-be buyers visualise a restoration or rebuild, they might want to bear in mind that Moor Farm was lived in until two years ago. The tenant had lived there almost all his life and closed the door on his family home at the ripe old age of 97 when he moved to more age-appropriate accommodation. It seems that the lack of mains water, flushing toilet and energy supply did him no harm at all.

There is thought to be a spring nearby and the farmhouse has a cast iron range that was used for heat, cooking and boiling water. An unplumbed roll-top bath upstairs suggests that buckets of hot water were used to fill it.

Owner Janet Barrett, who recently inherited Moor Farm, says: “My great, great grandfather was a mill worker from Bradford and he bought the land and built the house in 1896. It was rented in 1926 and when the tenant died, the tenancy passed to his son. They loved the house but they didn’t want anyone to go inside to do work and they didn’t want connecting to the grid.”

Estate agent Robin Jessop adds: “This is undoubtedly a very rare opportunity in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty within travelling distance of Harrogate and Leeds. The farmhouse and outbuildings are in a very poor condition and while they could be renovated, there is potential to demolish them and rebuild, subject to obtaining the necessary consents.”

A Certificate of Lawful Use of Development has already been approved by Harrogate Borough Council in respect of a set of plans prepared by Andrew Long Architects for the refurbishment of the dwelling and some of the adjoining outbuildings. The proposed plans are for a two-bedroom house and an attached office.

For those who are concerned about the lack of running water and power, it would cost about £19,000 for connection to the electricity grid and £12,000 for a borehole to access a running water supply. Septic tank installation is about £3,000.

The new owners could, of course, go completely off-grid making full use of renewable energy systems. It’s not a route that expert Chris Wilde of Yorkshire Energy Systems would recommend due to issues in storing renewable energy in the winter months.

“The technology isn’t quite there yet to make off-grid an easy option. While solar and wind power can generate power that can be stored in batteries, the batteries can’t hold it for long enough. It quickly seeps out and that won’t be topped up when the sun doesn’t shine or the wind doesn’t blow, so you would need a back-up diesel generator, which isn’t ideal.”

Instead, he suggests that the new owners of Moor Farm should pay for connection to the grid and install electricity-generating solar panels and a ground source heat pump. This would make the property greener and cut running costs by a quarter to about £300 a year.

Chris says that solar panels have come down in price over the last 10 years, from about £14,000 to £5,000. Installing them now makes financial sense, which is why the government is withdrawing its renewable heat incentive payment incentive for new systems in April next year. However, renewable heat incentive payments have increased for ground source heat pumps, which cost about £20,000 for the average family sized home with land, and air source heat pumps, which cost about £10,000.

“The RHI payments last seven years and within that time the owners will have recouped the cost of the system,” says Chris.

*For details on Moor Farm, tel: 01677 425950, www.robinjessop.co.uk; www.yorkshireenergysystems.co.uk