Derbyshire castle known as ‘Smedley’s Folly’ for sale for £9 million (despite requiring a further investment of at least £8 million)
Riber Castle stands dominant above the Derbyshire town of Matlock and though it was only built in 1862 for an industrialist named John Smedley, its decline began soon after in 1874 upon his death. After subsequent use as a hydro and a private boys’ school in the 1920s, the gritstone building was bought by Matlock Urban District Council in 1936 and soon after its roof was removed. The shell that remained became a breeding centre and zoo in the 1960s. That closed in 2000 and now, following a highly controversial planning process that concluded in 2006, the semi-restored building is on the market for a figure of around £9 million ($12.9 million or €11.6 million).
Offered for sale or as an opportunity for a joint venture by current owners Cross Tower Ventures Limited, the Grade II listed Gothic castle is said to require an additional investment of around £8 million ($11.4 million or €10.3 million) and will provide a total of 46 dwellings when finished. It comes with 18 acres of grounds and views over the Derwent Valley.
Some 853-feet above sea level and including four symmetrical 75-foot high towers and 145 feet of battlement walls, a total of 119 windows in the building have already been replaced. Its chimneys and floors have been rebuilt, a new roof added and many period details have also been restored. The former folly is now described by Humberts, the selling agents marketing it, as being “well advanced towards the second fix stage, with the mechanical and electrical infrastructure well established” and it certainly is well on the road to having a viable purpose for the first time in its existence. A “reliable asset value on completion” of in excess of £28 million ($40 million or €36 million) is quoted “depending on continued level of specification”.
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