Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Tidy profit

A cliff-top lighthouse with spectacular views sold six years ago by Eastbourne Borough Council for £900 has gone on the market for £850,000.

Belle Tout, which sits on Beachy Head, in East Sussex, and featured in the BBC programme Changing Rooms and the series The Life and Loves of a She-Devil, has undergone extensive refurbishment during the past six years, turning the Grade II listed property into a luxury home. The owner, who had leased the lighthouse from the council, bought the freehold for £900 in 2001.

Locals have pointed out two drawbacks to the property – the location is a notorious suicide spot and the lighthouse stands on a cliff that is crumbling into the sea. When built in 1834, Belle Tout was 35m (114ft) from the cliff edge. By 1999 the distance was only 3.5m and, in a spectacular feat of engineering, the entire structure was moved 50m inland. A spokesman for the Environment Agency said, however, that the tower could be moved again.

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