Looking for a renovation challenge? These former UK military bases – from a Napoleonic island fortress to a Cold War defense station – have history etched on their walls. Now decommissioned, the buildings are up for sale and are seeking new lives. Could they be dream homes or commercial ventures with a difference? Only the imaginative should apply.
Stack Rock Fort, Pembrokeshire, Wales
£400,000 via Purple Bricks
This fortified island sits off the coast of Milford Haven in Pembrokeshire, and dates back to the 19th century when it was built to guard against invasion from Napoleon III’s navy. Grade II listed, the structure is currently uninhabited and is in a state of disrepair, but there’s plenty to work with when it comes to its adaptive reuse. The circular fort has vaulted brick ceilings, spiral staircases and stone pillars that run throughout its three floors. Previous owners have enquired about turning it into a commercial residence with links to the mainland.
Gin Head Admiralty, East Lothian, Scotland
£3.5m via Goldsmith & Co
Opened in 1943 to help develop radar for the Royal Navy – including radio countermeasures used in the D-Day landings on 6 June 1944 – The Gin Head Admiralty sits atop a cliff in East Lothian. The decommissioned facility has full planning permission to turn it into two live/work villas with dramatic views toward the ruins of 14th-century Tantallon Castle and Scotland’s extinct volcano, North Berwick Law. Italian practice Lazzarini Pickering has created the plans for the 26,000 sq ft clifftop dwellings, which are connected by a covered walkway and concieved as an ‘upper’ and ‘lower’ villa, kitted out with the latest smart-home technology and minimalist interiors.
Former SATCOM II Satellite Ground Listening Station, Kinross, Scotland
£950k via Amazing Results
You get a lot of bang for your buck with this former NATO base and ballistic missile warning radar built in 1985. Dubbed the Golf Ball for its white fibreglass dome, which housed a giant antenna, the 9-acre site is just 20 miles south of Edinburgh, and is being marketed as an adaptive reuse or redevelopment project for residential or commercial purposes. The radome is linked to the main equipment building by a corridor and doors built with enough concrete to withstand a nuclear, biological, chemical attack or even a zombie attack. Also included is the station mess, recreation and office facilities. The site could be completely redeveloped, or the existing structures could be put to new uses.
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