Acres built on soap for sale

AN ESTATE built up on the profits from the UK’s first commercial soap brand is selling off part of its Lancashire holdings.

Running to 484 acres, the Grade 2 land is part of the Leverhulme Estates’ Altcar Estate, near Formby.

The sale is part of a rationalisation by the trustees of the estate, which was owned by Lord Leverhulme until his death in 2000, and also includes property in Scotland and The Wirral.

The family’s fortune was based on Sunlight Soap, the first commercially packaged soap, which was created by William Hesketh Lever, who became the first Viscount Leverhulme, at the end of the 19th Century and built the town of Port Sunlight for his workers.

His firm Lever Brothers went on to become a cornerstone of multinational business Unilever.

Altcar, where the famous Waterloo Cup hare coursing competition was held until the sport was banned this year, belonged to the Molyneux family for more than 400 years until the death of the last Earl of Sefton in 1972 when it became part of the Leverhulme Estates.

No historic single farm payments are being transferred with the sale of the land, which has been fallow for a number of years pending the decision to sell, said selling agent Smiths Gore’s Simon Derby. However, it has been registered for regional payments, he added.

This had been factored into the £1.2m guide price, which values the land at £2250-£3400/acre, said Mr Derby.

The land, which originally formed two farms, has been split into seven lots with the smallest at just under three acres priced at £10,000 (£3400/acre), while 191 acres is guided at  £433,550 (£2268/acre).

Even without the historic entitlements, Mr Derby said he was confident that local farmers and possibly tenants on the rest of the Altcar Estate would be interested. “Not much land in  this area has been available recently.”