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REYTA Finalist Just Beverley shortlisted nominee o2 community publication award 2017
Busman Holiday

A Busman's holiday or a labour of love?

Estate agent Leanne Marshall describes the challenge of restoring an historic building back to its former glory. Just one year ago, Leanne purchased the Grade 2 listed building she was leasing for her business, Hunter’s Estate Agency, with the intention of renovating it so it could be fully utilised and, at the same time, reflect its prestigious past.

Located opposite St Mary’s Church, this beautiful old building, No 2, Hengate, surely deserves the TLC which Leanne is lavishing on it! Leanne said: “After a slow start with the wrong architect, we enlisted the help of Salts Architects on Lairgate. Bridget Hansford immediately understood my vision for the upstairs renovations and with a mutual love for historic buildings, understood the sympathy needed to restore Hengate back to its former glory. Her attention to details has been amazing. The building has been in such a sad state of repair for many years, but we are expecting permission to go ahead with the renovations within the first couple of weeks of January. As a listed building in a conservation area, permission for changes has to be sought from Listed Buildings as well as the local planners - but first we had to do a structural survey!”

The building is listed on Historic England’s website thus: BEVERLEY HENGATE TA 0339 (south-west side) 9/76 No 2 and 4 (formerly 2.7.69 listed as No 2) GV II Early C19. 3 stories in red brick with slate roof. Wood eaves gutter on block brackets at wide intervals. 5 windows, casements with horizontal panes. Ground floor shop front full width, double doors in centre, and door at each end of front, 1 with horizontal panes. 6 plain pilasters and moulded entablature to case. Original large square panes to 2 shop windows. 1st floor, French casements with simple wrought iron guards, and wood cases with cornices. Sunk panels with stucco enriched mouldings, above 1st floor windows. 2nd floor casement windows with moulded architraves.

Leanne said: “The Historic England description makes the building sound very beautiful, completely unlike the state of the building at the moment. It has been open to the elements for many years, so a lot of time, money and effort is going to have to be injected into getting the structure of the building sound first. This work is going to cost tens of thousands of pounds alone, but it has to be done before the stripping back of the inside can begin. I plan to renovate from the roof down to ensure that everything is done correctly. But by the time I have finished, it will not need touching again during my lifetime at least!” 

Fortunately, Leanne does have experience of restoring old buildings, but she’s not underestimating the task on her hands. She would never claim to be a builder, but is not scared to get her hands dirty. As she says, this renovation and the experience she gains from it will all add to her expertise as an estate agent. Even now, though, with her current knowledge, she is able to advise people taking on renovation projects - if she doesn’t think a property is worth the asking price for the work which needs doing, she will say so. What is the future for No. 2, Hengate?

Leanne said: “We plan to create two beautiful apartments on the first and second floors that we will offer on short term let to both buyers and sellers. So many people when buying and selling property need to break chains or simply want to take a short time off of the property ladder to clear their minds and take stock to enable them to find their next home without the stress of a chain dictating a completion date. Or they have renovation projects themselves whereby they are not able to live on-site, so this is an exciting prospect for me as an estate agent to offer temporary accommodation for this purpose. This allows us to offer our clients something very unique in the town centre of Beverley and hopefully shows our commitment to the forward thinking of our client’s needs.” 

It will be quite a while before Leanne will be able to do the pretty things, like choosing kitchens and bathrooms, tiles and flooring! But she plans to take her time, choosing the best local tradesmen and women to undertake the work so the finished result will be very special indeed. Hunters are often asked to recommend trades-people, so this project will prove that they only recommend those who they use in their own home! Giving the work to local trades is very important for local girl Leanne - local pride and support of each other is all important.

Leanne grew up in Beverley, attending Longcroft School, which meant walking past No 2 Hengate regularly. She remembers Bromby’s Sports Shop and In-toto kitchens being based there, peering through the double-fronted shop windows. Being able to buy the property really is a dream-come-true for Leanne who is equally proud of her Hunter’s Estate Agency, which is a local independent business with the added benefit of being part of a large national network of 200 offices nationwide. For property vendors, this means national exposure which is unique in the town. As Leanne says, the more exposure they can gain for a property, the more interest and the better the sale price overall.

Here at Just Beverley we are sure the view from the new apartments will be one of the best in Beverley looking out directly onto St Mary’s Church - and that will make all the hard graft, blood, swear and tears all worthwhile. Leanne will be justifiably proud to be able to say: “I did that!” when the building has been preserved and the apartments are ready. She has promised Just Beverley an exclusive viewing - we can honestly say we can’t wait!

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