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Granny flats get a tax break
Published 14/04/14

FROM this month, families who build “granny flats” for elderly relatives or who house grown-up children in converted garages are to be given a lucrative tax break.Households with an annexe inhabited by a family member will get a 50 per cent discount off their current council tax bill. At present, these self-contained buildings are classed as individual properties so homeowners pay a full rate of council tax on them — on top of what they pay for their principal residence.

Currently a typical home would have a council tax of £2,427 for both properties, but the tax break is expected to knock £500 a year off this. There are an estimated 24,150 family annexes in England, plus many more in Wales and Scotland.

The Government hopes that by giving granny flats a tax break it will encourage more families to build them and help elderly relatives and older children to live independently.

For a local authority to class an annexe as a separate property it must usually be self-contained and constructed or adapted for use as separate living accommodation. It will usually include a kitchen area, a bathroom or shower-room and toilet. Here we feature two properties which could benefit from the new rules.

The delightful hamlet of Kingwood Common is set directly west of Henley in the South Oxfordshire countryside. Surrounded by open farmland interspersed with pockets of woodland the area is renowned for its natural beauty and Cherry Croft Cottage is well set back from the road in a peaceful position.

Originally a much smaller cottage, the property has been extended and much improved by the current owners to create a superb family home.

The kitchen is a wonderful family space with a large centre island and wide expanses of work surface. There is a cream Aga and plenty of built-in storage. The kitchen flows through into the conservatory which provides a more relaxed dining space.

The drawing room is un-expectedly large with plenty of space for large sofas centred on the open fireplace. French doors open out on to the rear terrace and gardens beyond.

Upstairs the master bedroom is above the drawing room and is almost identical in size. There is a walk-in wardrobe which spans the width of the room. A good sized ensuite has a large wet room-style shower.

The further bedroom accommodation is excellent with a delightful guest suite with a southerly aspect overlooking the gardens and pond to the front of the house. There are three further bedrooms and a family bathroom with separate bath and shower. The detached garage block is attractively constructed and has space for two vehicles as well as space for a workshop.

The garage building also houses the annexe which is very generously sized, containing a good size living/dining room and kitchen on the ground floor with two double bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs.

Surrounding the house, the gardens are attractively laid out and easy to maintain, and at the rear of the garden is the pool terrace which catches the sun for the majority of the day. A pool house provides changing/showering facilities as well as a sauna, gym area and bar.

The property is available through Knight Frank and Robinson Sherston for a guide price of £2.85m. For more details, call Knight Frank on (01491) 844900 or Robinson Sherston on (01491) 411911.

Old Rectory lies within the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty at Lower Basildon, enjoying spectacular views over the Chilterns. The house lies adjacent to the striking Grade I listed 13th century Church of St Bartholomew.

The site was originally owned by Sir William Kingsmill, a landowner in 1619. The house itself dates back to around 1702, at the commencement of the Queen Anne period, with Victorian additions.

The reception hall opens into a generous front room with the capacious drawing and dining rooms to one side, with attractive period fireplaces and large sash windows overlooking the gardens. The house stands centrally inside its grounds, allowing for beautiful garden views from the principal reception rooms. Exposed wall and ceiling timbers add character and charm, with an ornate turning staircase leading to the first floor.

Here, the generous master bedroom takes precedence with ensuite and far-reaching views over the gardens and countryside beyond. There are six further bedrooms and two further bathrooms to this floor.

The house is approached down a sweeping driveway past the church, with lawns to one side running down the length of the grounds. The house is fronted by a large gravel parking area, as well as an integral double garage. The gardens surround the house and are mainly laid to lawn with mature trees and herbaceous borders, as well as an ornamental pond to the rear of the house. A hedged boundary leads to the extensive vegetable gardens, orchard and wild flower garden. A pedestrian gate to the rear leads to the River Thames.

There is a three-bedroom cottage to one side, comprising a sitting room and kitchen/breakfast room on the ground floor, with three bedrooms and a bathroom on the first floor, extending over the double garage.

The property is available from Strutt and Parker for a guide price of £2m. For more details, call 0118 984 5757.

Published 14/04/14

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