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Orkney Islands Hoxa Head 112-acre site is for sale for £1million

It is often cited as one of the best places to live in Britain. And now a vast plot of land in the highly sought-after Orkney Islands is available to buy.

The plot that is for sale extends to 112 acres, but it doesn't come cheap. It is being sold at auction, where properties often sell for significantly more than the initial guide price. In this case, the guide price is £1million.

The Orkney Islands are an isolated group of islands off the north east of Scotland that are famed for their spectacular landscapes, but while this plot of land contains the remnants of a strategic military site's buildings it doesn't come with a house.

Remote location: The land at Hoxa Head, a small settlement on the island of South Ronaldsay

The land is at Hoxa Head, a small settlement on the island of South Ronaldsay, and it is being sold without planning permission.

The Hoxa Head site was one of the most important strategic bases in the north of Britain during the First and Second World Wars. Some of the concrete hut bases survive, with one or two with upstanding chimney stacks. 

Assuming you can get planning permission, you will also need to fork out to cover the cost of building a house on the land. That cost will be in addition to whatever price is paid for the land. 

One estate agent suggested that a new home could be built on the land subject to the required planning consents.

The site is being sold without planning permission but experts say it could be built on subject to planning permission

The site at Hoxa Head was one of the most important strategic bases in the north of Britain

Some of the concrete hut bases have survived on the site, with one or two with upstanding chimney stacks

Andrew Parker, of SDL Property Auctions, said: 'Lots like this one don't come around very often and the land is already attracting a lot of interest.

'This is, quite literally, the chance to own a piece of history and what a fascinating past this site has.

'There's evident commercial potential here given the fact that the area attracts a high number of tourists, but there are also some exciting residential opportunities to explore too.

'Subject to planning permission, there's nothing stopping the successful bidder from building a one-of-a-kind home or even a small scale residential scheme.

'A design that's in keeping with the area and a sustainable building approach will inevitably be favoured, but you could create a home that has some of the most spectacular views in the UK.'

The Orkney Islands have been repeatedly ranked high in Halifax's annual survey of best places to live.

Even before the coronavirus pandemic and lockdowns struck and sent home buyers scurrying for more space, the Orkney Islands were given the title after scoring well on several factors. These include high employment levels, a low crime rate, strong exam results, smaller primary class sizes and good levels of health and happiness.

It was crowned the best to place to live in 2019 after being the runner-up in the Halifax quality of life survey for the previous two years.

Following the global pandemic, its remote location and vast open space to roam freely is likely to make it more appealing than ever.

The online auction is now live and being carried out by SDL Auctions, with an end date of March 17. 

The Orkney Islands have been repeatedly been ranked high in Halifax's annual survey of best places to live

Buying at auction comes with a word of warning. It is not for the faint-hearted or inexperienced, and you need to do your due diligence on a property before stepping into the auction room - or going online in this case.

Calum Kerr, of mortgage brokers Forensic Property Finance, said: 'There is a lot to consider here and you need to gather all your intelligence before you even think about bidding at auction.

'You need to look at location, planning, infrastructure, supply of water and gas, and contamination issues. All these things will come into play and could impact your decision to purchase.

'There is not a lot of detail here but as a general rule, if it is a bit of arable land outside a village it is probably worth £6,000 to £8,000 an acre. With provisional planning that could go up to £20,000 per acre and full planning up to £150,000 per acre.

'If you need to raise a mortgage, you will have to satisfy the lender's requirements. Some background in development or evidence of a track record will help, plus you will likely need a bigger deposit than you would on a mainstream residential deal.'

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