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Historic west Wales fort up for sale for ‘price of an average London home’

08 Sep 2022 3 minute read
The Defensible Barracks, Pembroke Dock is up for sale as a freehold for offers over £500,000. Picture: Strutt & Parker

A Victorian fort in west Wales, one of the few of its type remaining in Britain, is up for sale “for less than the cost of an average London home”.

The Grade II*-listed Victorian fortification and barracks in Pembroke Dock, known as the Defensible Barracks, is up for sale for offers over £500,000 through property agents Strutt & Parker.

The ‘trace bastion’ fort was built to provide defence for the town’s Royal Dockyard.

In 2009 it was declared the second most endangered Victorian or Edwardian building in Britain.

The imposing entrance to the Defensible Barracks, Pembroke Dock. Picture: Strutt & Parker

The fort is one of the best preserved in Europe and one of only a few remaining in Great Britain; the enclosed parade ground remains notable for being the finest Georgian-style square in Wales.

One of its wings has been partially converted into flats but the vast majority of the structure is run-down and in need of major investment. 

The chance to own a piece of west Wales military history drew the attention of the London-based Evening Standard newspaper, which wrote: “An imposing ex-military fort on the Welsh coast has gone on sale with a price tag of £500,000 – less than the cost of a London home.”

Developer sale

The Defensible Barracks, previously described as one of “west Wales’ most iconic buildings” has been put up for sale many times in recent years, and was sold to developers VR1844 LTD in 2019.

VR1844 LTD previously stated: “VR1844 Ltd who have brought this very under-loved and not looked after building, want to bring the buildings back into life with a mix of community uses, together with a number of dwellings that will breathe life back into the buildings.”

Strutt & Parker said this for any would-be buyers: “The barracks and associated buildings are full of character and details with a layout that presents well for renovation and conversion into residential property – whether hotel or individual dwellings. Any works are subject to discussions and permissions with CADW and the local authority.”

The Defensible Barracks was granted permission for development into hotel accommodation back in 1986. 

“Further enquiries should be made by the individual as to the current position of the local authority for other options that may be available,” Strutt & Parker added. “Our clients inform us of positive conversations with CADW and the local authority for conversion into residential properties. 

“Certainly, the nature and presentation of the buildings through the courtyard in particular could make for very attractive townhouse-style properties. Subject to necessary consent.” 

The Defensible Barracks. Picture: Strutt & Parker

The barracks are said to have cost £75,000 to build, following the ‘Star Fort’ design initially proposed by Leonardo Da Vinci and is believed to be the last fortress built on this principle in Europe.

Famous past residents of the barracks include Gordon of Khartoum, who was later deployed to join the fighting in Crimea, and Arthur Lowe, who played Captain Mainwaring in Dad’s Army.

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