Seaton searchlight building sells for £72,500

PUBLISHED: 11:59 16 November 2018

Seaton's WW2 seafront searchlight emplacement which is up for sale. Picture: CHRIS CARSON

Seaton's WW2 seafront searchlight emplacement which is up for sale. Picture: CHRIS CARSON

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Historic World War Two seafront emplacement fetches far more than expected

Seaton’s historic World War II seafront searchlight emplacement has sold for a massive £72,500 – nearly four times more than expected.

Delighted owners – East Devon District Council - say the sum far exceeded their expectations – and those of auctioneers Lambert Smith Hampton, who set a guide price of around £20,000

Councillor Geoff Pook, EDDC’s asset management spokesman, said the money would provide a valuable receipt to the council.

“I look forward to seeing the plans for the building and seeing it brought back into a beneficial use,” he told The Midweek Herald.

The council has not revealed who the successful on-line bidder was nor what they plan to do with the building. They say these details will be revealed later.

The building, on West Walk, has a floor area of approximately 170 sq ft and it occupies a prominent elevated position along the esplanade, with fine views over the beach and the English Channel.

Potential uses for the site, suggested by the auctioneers ahead of the sale, ranged from a large private beach hut to a seafront café or retail premises.

The auction attracted 100 bids from nine different bidders. A spokesman for Lambert Smith Hampton, said: “The property presents a truly unique opportunity and we look forward to seeing it become a feature of the seafront in the future. The sale of the property by online auction opened up the sale to a much wider audience, particularly to local residents, this is shown by the fact that this was many of the bidders’ first auction. We believe that this wide array of bidders was the reason such a good result was achieved.”

The searchlight emplacement formed part of a network of defences against the expected German invasion in 1940 and was used to illuminate the sea and beaches to detect enemy ships and surfaced submarines at all times.

The historical importance of the building has long been acknowledged and it is hoped that the new owner will be able to preserve or enhance this element as part of a programme for the refurbishment and conversion of the emplacement to another use.

A blue plaque and information board which are currently attached to the front of the building will be moved onto the retaining wall in front of the emplacement following the sale.

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