Buy­ers still lured by a taste for Sum­mer Wine

Compo, Clegg and Nora are gone but house­hunters still come in search of Sum­mer Wine coun­try. re­ports.

Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY - Sharon Dale

CLEGG has hung up his flat cap and the TV cam­eras have stopped rolling in Holm­firth, but Last of the Sum­mer Wine con­tin­ues to have a pro­found and pos­i­tive ef­fect on the town and its prop­erty mar­ket.

“Three old gentle­men hav­ing a lovely time in fan­tas­tic York­shire scenery. It’s been tremen­dous for us and there are cer­tainly a lot more peo­ple liv­ing in the Holme Val­ley now than there was 30 years ago,” says es­tate agent Simon Blyth, who was brought up in the area.

Be­fore the se­ries started, in 1973, Holm­firth was undis­cov­ered, and home buy­ers were largely lo­cals, but when Compo, Clegg and Foggy be­gan their comic ca­pers against that glo­ri­ous back­drop, it put the small town, near Hud­der­s­field, on the world map. Hordes of tourists made the pil­grim­age and were se­duced by its charms.

Some fans have since re­tired there, oth­ers have bought hol­i­day homes and still more have made it a base to com­mute to work in Hud­der­s­field, Manch­ester, Leeds and Sh­effield.

Those who couldn’t make it in per­son scoured the in­ter­net and still do, as they dream of es­cape to a land of strong tea, wrin­kled stock­ings and gen­tle hu­mour. Proof of this is found on Simon Blyth’s web­site. There are hits from 46 coun­tries, in­clud­ing Amer­ica, Aus­tralia, China, Viet­nam, Rus­sia, Liecht­en­stein, Hong Kong, Peru, Kenya, Swe­den and Ger­many.

“We get peo­ple from all over look­ing and buy­ing. What they find is a won­der­ful pram and post of­fice town, a bit like Ha­worth and Heb­den Bridge. It’s high in char­ac­ter and it’s con­ve­nient.

“We have a very strong lo­cal mar­ket as peo­ple who live here want to stay, but we also have a very strong re­gional mar­ket with peo­ple from places like Sh­effield and Manch­ester. They come to work in lo­cal in­dus­tries but they also com­mute out to work,” says Simon.

The town is rel­a­tively con­ve­nient for the M1 and M62 and is about an hour’s drive from Manch­ester city cen­tre, an hour from Leeds, and there are trains from nearby Brock­holes.

Jonathan Field­ing, man­ager of Ry­der Dut­ton es­tate agency, Holm­firth, says: “The mar­ket in sec­ond homes sprung up through Last of the Sum­mer Wine and al­though it has dropped off a lit­tle in the last cou­ple of years, there are peo­ple from all over the coun­try, in­clud­ing London, with hol­i­day places here. They like the fact that Holm­firth has a vi­brant cen­tre with bars, tra­di­tional pubs and restau­rants and it also has lovely coun­try­side walks.”

While it isn’t quite the haven de­picted on telly – Compo and Clegg cer­tainly never had a prob­lem park­ing – Holm­firth does have more than its fair share of as­sets.

Lo­cated in the heart of the beau­ti­ful Holme Val­ley, it

Three old gentle­men hav­ing a lovely time in fan­tas­tic York­shire scenery. It’s been tremen­dous for us.

has some great in­de­pen­dent shops and a thriv­ing, friendly com­mu­nity.

“I know I might sounds bi­ased be­cause I live in the area, but what ev­ery­one who moves in to Holm­firth finds is that they get a big wel­come; the lo­cal peo­ple are very friendly.”

There’s a swim­ming pool, a good high school, a cin­ema and lots of com­mu­nity groups. The only su­per­mar­ket is a large Coop, and there is a weekly mar­ket and reg­u­lar farm­ers’ mar­kets,

House prices have in­creased with the area’s pop­u­lar­ity and though first-time buy­ers don’t find it easy to get on the prop­erty lad­der, Ry­der Dut­ton has a two-bed­room apart­ment on the mar­ket for £75,000 and a ter­raced house for £95,000. In gen­eral, a two-bed ter­raced home is around £125,000, a semi £250,000 and a de­tached £300,000. The larger prop­er­ties and farm­houses go for up to £2m.

Val­ues have fallen since 2007, but some homes out­per­form the mar­ket. A prop­erty priced at £675,000 sold in just three days re­cently and a farm­house went to best and fi­nal of­fers.

“The mar­ket is qui­eten­ing off for Christ­mas but we’ve still had some rea­son­able sales and good ac­tiv­ity. Yes some houses have dropped in line with the rest of the mar­ket, but some oth­ers haven’t dropped at all,” says Simon.

“It’s a very dif­fer­ent type of mar­ket to three years ago when houses were fly­ing off the shelves, but it’s more fun. Agents are hav­ing to roll up their sleeves and work re­ally hard to achieve sales. It’s a chal­lenge, but that’s good.”

Prop­erty types vary from the tra­di­tional ter­raced cot­tages to quirky un­der-and over-dwellings in Vic­to­rian ter­raced homes built to house mul­ti­ple, mill-work­ing fam­i­lies.

There are some newer es­tates, farm­houses and some in­cred­i­ble one-offs. It’s old, stone-built houses helped make it a great lo­ca­tion for Last of the Sum­mer Wine.

The se­ries came to an end in Au­gust, but there is lit­tle doubt that Holm­firth will con­tinue to thrive on the back of it. It is of­ten shown on UK Gold and is screened in 25 coun­tries.

“I think we’ll feel the ben­e­fit for a long time to come,” says Simon Blyth.

“I watch old episodes and not that much has changed here since 1973, ex­cept shop fronts and road signs, and, of course, there are a lot more peo­ple about.”

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