Ironbridge, a beautifully disastrous place to own property

Ironbridge in Shropshire has always been one of our favourite rural towns. Situated close to nearby Bridgnorth the town famous for being the starting place of the industrial revolution. With its beautiful Victorian buildings and the magnificent Ironbridge over the River Severn , this settlement is becoming ever more popular.

There is a slightly more sinister side to owning a property in Ironbridge though. As a local property valuer in the area I have come across damp issues, subsidence problems,  brickwork issues and in some circumstances Japanese Knotweed invasion.  A few properties along the waterfront are prone to flooding too.

Many of the properties on the gorge are subject to subsidence as the banks give way. This has led to properties in Ironbridge and the surrounding towns of Broseley, Jackfield and Coalbrookdale needing to be underpinned and major works undertaken to slow the slipping of the banks.

Its Ironbridge’s unique location, geology and development through the industrial revolution that mean that properties are slipping into the gorge. Back in the 1800’s foundations and footings were primitive and building knowledge was nowhere near as good as it is today. The banks of the gorge are primarily sandstone with overlying till.

When water seeps through weakening the sandstone, the till (soil) simply slides away. The sliding of the banks are well documented. The most recent major landslide in Ironbridge was in 1952 and caused the destruction of over twenty properties.

This led to Telford and Wrekin council to undertake major works to stabilise Ironbridge Gorge. To this day work is still being carried out to make sure that properties are safe from future landslides. The most recent project is a £30 million project to make safe the banks south of the Gorge towards Coalport. Flood prevention work is also being carried out to help alleviate flooding further upstream.

Bi-enlarge buying a character property in Ironbridge isn’t without its risks but if you are willing to put the work in, you could end up with a lot of character for an even better price.

Our advice for buying a property in this area would be to

1. Do your research. Look on the local planning website to see if any planning permissions are in effect for ground stabilisation / underpinning on the property you are looking at.

2.Look around the property for cracks, dips in the flooring, damp and identify whether the property is in a high risk area. Also keep an eye out for Japanese Knotweed, this species of plant is notorious for unsettling foundations and causing structural issues.

3. Don’t be scared to take a punt, many of the properties can be repaired and stabilised to create beautiful family homes. Subsidence is a scary term but professional builders and engineers can save these historic buildings for you. What’s more the likelihood is that you will be able to obtain some fantastic deals on the properties in Ironbridge. I am even looking to buy in this area myself. To conclude, if you are really looking for character, don’t mind a project and are able to do research, its a great place to buy a home.