UK sells off 'ghost' London tube station in austerity drive

Fri Nov 29, 2013 5:37am EST
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By Andrew Osborn

LONDON (Reuters) - The British government has sold off a disused London underground station used as a secret wartime command centre, as part of its drive to repair battered public finances.

Britain's economy is growing again after three years of stagnation but national debt is at 75 percent of GDP, and the government says it wants to try to reduce that by cutting costs and disposing of unwanted assets.

The disused station, Brompton Road, closed in 1934 due to a lack of passengers, is one of many abandoned "ghost" stations that lie beneath the British capital.

Latterly used for training by air force cadets, it is in South Kensington, one of the most expensive parts of London, and contains old lift shafts which have been converted into rooms. Tube trains still rumble underneath.

The Ministry of Defense, which owns the site, said it has already exchanged contracts with a buyer. The deal is expected to be completed within two months.

"As far as we're concerned the place has been sold and bought," a spokesman told Reuters, declining to name the buyer or the purchase price because of confidentiality agreements.

Estate agents said the area was popular with wealthy buyers from the Middle East and Eastern Europe and that the station, which was likely to have been sold for tens of millions of pounds, would be turned into luxury housing.

It has the potential for a helipad and a roof garden.   Continued...