A picturesque private island in England has this week been sold at auction after a tense bidding war broke out, sending its price soaring to a spectacular GBP 168,000
Binnewith Island, a charming half-acre private island in Canterbury, was successfully sold at auction in Kent on Monday (16.06.2014), attracting twice its guide price in the process. Coming under the hammer for the second time in just over a year, the island attracted a “phenomenal” level of interest, triggering a tense bidding war that saw its price soar to an incredible GBP 168,000.
Whilst much had been made of the island’s oh-so-tempting guide price during the run-up to the auction, according to auctioneer Kevin Gilbert – who British Private Island News readers may recognize as the star of BBC1’s Under the Hammer–it seems a private island bargain was never really on the cards. ““The price reflected the interest,” Mr. Gilbert explained. “It’s truly a unique site.”
Indeed, presenting perhaps the only opportunity for commercial or residential development within Canterbury’s city walls, it’s perhaps little wonder that the island attracted quite so much interest. The last time the island went to auction in March 2013, it amassed a similarly impressive GBP 145,000 – almost three times the island’s initial asking price.
Boasting a long and storied history, the island once formed home to Grey Friars Franciscan order, with ruins of an old stone friary (built between 1276 and 1325) still in abundance across the island’s 0.2 hectare surface area. Since then, the island has fulfilled a number of commercial purposes, but has most recently stood empty apart from the dilapidated ruins of two concrete buildings.
It is as yet unclear what the new owners plan to do with their brand new private island purchase, but whatever they choose to do, they will first have to seek the permission of the local council, as Kevin Gilbert explained. “To own an island within Canterbury’s City walls is certainly an enticing and exciting opportunity. Subject to attaining all the correct consents, it might be possible to develop it for commercial or residential purposes.”
“If you could get planning permission for a residential dwelling, boy oh boy, wouldn’t that be a fantastic place?” he enthused in an interview with the UK’s fastest growing regional news website, Kent Online.
The densely wooded island is currently accessible via a nondescript public footbridge which connects the island to a public garden and beyond to Canterbury’s nearby touristic hotspots. Accessible only between the hours of dusk and dawn, the gates to the public footpath that connects Binnewith Island to the mainland are actually locked at night by the local council, making this a very private island indeed!
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