Under lock and key: Town centre flat with stunning river views has sold for £1 because no-one can get to it, has ever lived in it or knows what’s inside

  • Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, property has a 129sq ft room, no doors and 1 window
  • It is between a restaurant and insurance broker and suspended above alleyway
  • Has window at the front but it is boarded up so no-one knows what is inside
  • Sold at auction by William H Brown for £1 after price knocked down from £100

A town-centre flat with stunning river views has sold for £1 because no-one can get to it, has ever lived in it or knows what’s inside.

The remarkable property in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, comprises of one 129 square-foot room with no doors.

The property – nestled between a Chinese restaurant and an insurance broker – is suspended above an alleyway meaning there is no way to get into it.

It has one long window at the front with far-reaching views but it is boarded up so no-one can see what’s inside.


A town-centre flat in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, with stunning river views has sold for £1 because no-one can get to it, has ever lived in it or knows what’s inside

The remarkable property comprises of one 129 square-foot room with no doors. No-one has been able to access it as it is suspended above an alleyway

The property boasts views across the river of Wisbech, Cambridgeshire. But there is no record of anyone ever using it or living there. Pictured: Views from the insurance brokers next door

There is no record of anyone ever using it or living there.

Despite its limitations, it sold at auction by Norfolk-based auctioneers William H Brown with an initial guide price of £100.

But this guide price dropped to £1 at the last minute and a local unnamed businessman snapped it up.

The contents and condition of the unusual property remain a mystery as even the auctioneers were unable to access it.

When it first went on their books, auctions partner Victoria Reek described it as ‘certainly one of the weirdest ones we’ve had at auction’ and admitted it was ‘probably just full of cobwebs’.

The unusual property, located at 5-6 Nene Quay, is in a terrace of old buildings, believed to have been built as granaries or shops in the 16th century


It has one long window at the front with far-reaching views, but it is boarded up meaning no-one knows what is inside. Despite its limitations, it sold at auction by Norfolk-based auctioneers William H Brown with an initial guide price of £100 but this was later dropped to £1

The unusual property, located at 5-6 Nene Quay, is in a terrace of old buildings, believed to have been built as granaries or shops in the 16th century.

Today, it sits between Tasty China restaurant and Bridge Insurance office.

Fenland District Council, which has owned it since 1966, put it up for sale alongside other ‘surplus properties’.

The auctioneers said it was the cheapest they had ever seen a property sell for.

The property sits between Tasty China restaurant and Bridge Insurance office. The property’s window (centre) is boarded up

But the buyer will actually have paid more in fees than the actual price of the property, paying around £1,000 in total, and no doubt paid for the lot in full rather than simply putting a deposit down.

The auction details state: ‘This is an opportunity to acquire a flying freehold which extends over part of a vehicular access passageway and comprises a single, currently inaccessible room, measuring approximately 12 square metres.

‘There is limited information and we have not, at this stage, gained access.’ 

Cliff Humphreys, a senior insurance broker at neighbouring Bridge Insurance Services, said he is ‘disappointed’ with the council for letting the property go for just £1.

The 65-year-old, who previously made a £250 offer on the property, said: ‘It has become a joke. They have turned it into a laughing stock.

‘I was trying to be sensible about it, and come to an amicable agreement with them.

Cliff Humphreys, a senior insurance broker at neighbouring Bridge Insurance Services, said he is ‘disappointed’ with the council for letting the property go for just £1

‘Prior to the auction I made them an offer of £250, which they accepted, but on the condition that I completed within 14 days, and paid £1,200 in legal fees.

‘I thought, I’m not going to do that. And now it has been sold to some idiot at auction for just £1.

‘I don’t know who the vendor is, but I would like to speak to him.

‘He’s never going to get access to the property through my office. I won’t allow it.’

Mr Humphreys bought the building – which now houses Bridge Insurance Services – in 1989 but he has never seen inside the single-room ‘floating freehold’.

He said: ‘For all intents and purposes, it is part of my property. If I were to ever sell this building or turn it into flats, it would be another bit of space for me to utilise.

‘The council have been irrational and a bit stupid in the way they have dealt with all of this.

‘I certainly don’t want to get caught up in this comedy of errors – I just wanted to come to a quiet agreement with the council over the room.’

He added: ‘I think the man who bought it has been a bit of a fool.

‘He obviously just threw his hand up at auction and bought it for £1 – but now he’ll have to pay council tax, and £1,200 of fees, and he’ll find it difficult to insure it as it has no base.

‘I would guess he’s also looking at around £1,000 to £1,500 worth of repairs inside, as well – the state of it is not really known.’ 

A ‘flying freehold’ means it has no structure underneath but extends over a passageway.

Flying freeholds are most common where an older, large building has been converted into a number of smaller properties.

At some point the room may have belonged to the building next door but somehow got separated over time.

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