Wolds way to go for art lovers seek­ing new home

As David Hock­ney’s lat­est ex­hi­bi­tion gets rave re­views, es­tate agents are brac­ing them­selves for a flood of fresh in­ter­est. Sharon Dale re­ports.

Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY -

THE dra­matic land­scapes of the Dales and the North York Moors have al­ways at­tracted at­ten­tion un­like the quiet un­du­lat­ing Wolds, which have been largely over­looked.

Now the world is wak­ing up to their ex­tra­or­di­nary beauty thanks to David Hock­ney’s Big­ger Picture ex­hi­bi­tion at the Royal Academy.

His lat­est paint­ings, which in­clude vivid in­ter­pre­ta­tions of Thix­en­dale, Gar­rowby Hill and Sled­mere, have caused a global sen­sa­tion. Crit­ics have been en­thu­si­as­tic about them and art lovers ev­ery­where are check­ing their diaries won­der­ing when they might visit the scenes that in­spired our great­est liv­ing artist.

While the tourist in­dus­try gears up for a bumper year, es­tate agents too are ex­pect­ing to ben­e­fit from the Hock­ney ef­fect.

Chris Club­ley, of Chris Club­ley and Co., says; “Long-term there will be an ef­fect. The Wolds is a lovely area that has never been fully ap­pre­ci­ated and I think that long-term the Hock­ney ef­fect will re­sult in more peo­ple buy­ing leisure prop­erty like hol­i­day homes and B&BS here.”

New vis­i­tors cap­ti­vated by the coun­try­side, quaint vil­lages and mar­ket towns will be im­pressed with the price of prop­erty. You get a lot of bricks and mor­tar for your money in this part of York­shire.

“Frankly it is bar­gain base­ment com­pared to places like the Dales,” said Si­mon Dee, of the Driffield branch of Dee, Atkinson and Har­ri­son.

A pretty two-be­d­room ter­raced cot­tage in the mar­ket town of Pock­ling­ton costs from about £120,000 and a de­tached cot­tage from £170,000.

At the top end, there is a sen­sa­tional thatched coun­try home in Thix­en­dale for £895,000 with Carter Jonas.

Those house hunt­ing in Sled­mere, an­other Hock­ney favourite, will strug­gle to find any­thing as al­most ev­ery­thing is es­tate owned.

Though at the mo­ment there is a rare chance to buy. The for­mer fire sta­tion is on the mar­ket for £145,000 and comes with per­mis­sion for con­ver­sion into two hol­i­day cot­tages. The catch is that plan­ning rules dic­tate they must be used as hol­i­day homes rather than as main dwellings.

Over in Kil­ham, the scene for an­other of Hock­ney’s mas­ter­pieces, Dee, Atkinson and Har­ri­son have a three-be­d­room cot­tage with its own art gallery for £229,950.

There are rea­sons for such keen prices, ac­cord­ing to Si­mon Dee: “The area has been over­looked but our worst en­emy is the road net­work. It’s not the most ac­ces­si­ble place to get to.”

The quiet coun­try roads could soon be much busier. Wel­come To York­shire is cre­at­ing a Hock­ney Trail that will fea­ture the Wolds along with Bridling­ton, where the artist lives. He moved to the sea­side town in 2005 to be close to his fam­ily, though it has rarely fea­tured in his work.

Richard Graves of the D Dunk Lewis and Graves agency, says: “He has put Brid on the map though it hasn’t al­ways worked to our ad­van­tage. Ev­ery­one was in up­roar last year when an art critic who came to visit him de­scribed the town as a ‘de­cayed, shabby, sea­side re­sort’.”

He for­got to add that it has won­der­ful beaches, a beau­ti­ful coast­line and it is flat.

“We have no hills and that is one of our ma­jor ad­van­tages. We also have lots of bun­ga­lows and so a large part of our mar­ket is re­tirees from West and South York­shire,” says Richard.

Prices start at about £70,000 for a two-be­d­room flat or house, but there is po­ten­tial for price growth if the town can mimic the suc­cess of neigh­bour­ing Whitby and Scar­bor­ough.

There is hope that Bridling­ton could be pushed more up­mar­ket with a new ma­rina, a plan that has been de­bated for years with­out near­ing fruition.

Bet­ter and quicker, sug­gests Richard Graves, is for David Hock­ney to use the power of the paint­brush.

“Maybe he could paint the best bits of Bridling­ton, like the prom­e­nade, the views to Flam­bor­ough and the sea with some fan­tas­tic blue sky.”

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