For sale: one village with a great history

Cronkbourne Village, Tromode. The old industrial village which has been put up for sale by Braddan Commissioners

Cronkbourne Village, Tromode. The old industrial village which has been put up for sale by Braddan Commissioners

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The spiralling costs of maintenance have led Braddan Parish Commissioners to sell a historic village in Tromode.

They have invited expressions of interest for the 33 cottages at Cronkbourne that were built in the 1840s to provide accommodation for workers at a nearby sailcloth factory,

According to local historian Peter Kelly, Cronkbourne is the second-oldest example of an industrial village in the British Isles after New Lanark in Scotland.

Best known as the childhood home of Manx artist Archibald Knox, the cottages have been used for public sector housing since they were acquired by Braddan Parish Commissioners in the 1960s.

According to chairman Andrew Jessopp, they underwent signifcant reburbishment in the 1980s, and further work has been completed since, but damp and condensation problems continue.

He said: ‘A few years ago it was identified a further significant amount of money - anywhere between £500,000 to a million or more - would need to be spent trying to eradicate the damp problems.

‘However, many would still be cramped and not to the standard expected of today’s local authority housing.’

The village is only for sale in its entirety, with the proceeds going towards the construction of new social housing.

The commissioners may continue to lease the properties for up to five years following the sale while new homes are built and tenants are relocated. Around half of the Cronkbourne cottages are currently occupied.

Mr Jessopp said there had been several enquiries from prospective buyers but did not disclose the expected sale price. He added that the commissioners would be ‘very supportive’ of efforts to convert one of the cottages into a heritage centre.

‘We recognise the historic value of the village, it should be protected for future generations,’ he said.

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