Celeb buyer for estate?

19 April 2002

Celeb buyer for estate?

By Andrew Shirley

TYNTESFIELD, the first major estate to be launched this year, is already attracting a frenzy of media interest, possibly due to its sizeable £14.5m price tag and touted new owner.

According to reports in the national press, the popular Australian singer Kylie Minogue is locked in a fierce battle with the National Trust to acquire the 1870-acre Somerset estate in the village of Wraxall, near Bristol.

But a spokeswoman for selling agent FPDSavills denied the rumours emphatically. "I can categorically state that no individual has even looked around the estate yet," she said. "Only the National Trust has had the opportunity to view so far," confirmed Mark Syrett, the agent handling the sale. "A charity needs more time than a private buyer to put together a deal."

Assembled in the 1800s using the profits from the Gibbs familys South American guano (bird dropping fertiliser) business, Tyntesfield offers something for everybody, reckons Mr Syrett, who has been managing the property for the past 10 years.

"Summarising the estate without concentrating on the principal house is difficult, but I think the sale is unique because of the variety of property available. There are buildings to renovate, productive farms, lots of cottages and some very large houses." This has been reflected in the lotting of the disposal which comprises 40 separate units.

It would, however, be extremely difficult to ignore the main residence, inhabited by the late Lord Wraxall until his death last year. One of the best examples of the Victorian Gothic revival style it will not be to everybodys taste, but with a private chapel the size of a parish church and 43 bedrooms it is certainly an imposing residence.

A number of people consider Tyntesfield so important – even some of the wallpaper is listed – that they are urging the National Trust to buy the estate to conserve it for the nation.

While the principal lot, guided at £3m, may seem of little relevance to farmers there is still plenty of agricultural interest. Two farms, currently managed by Sentry Farming, are featured in the sale.

Charlton Farm, guided at £1.68m, runs to 575 acres (150 of which are IACS-registered) and comes with a six-bedroomed dwelling, as well as an extensive range of modern and traditional buildings.

The other, Tyntesfield Home Farm, has almost 400 acres that are mostly down to grass and, apart from a four-bedroomed house, features a set of model Victorian farm buildings that could offer scope for conversion to light industrial units or live/work space. Including a further two cottages the guide price is £2.1m.

In terms of the residential portfolio the list appears endless with over 30 houses available. Highlights though include Belmont House, a substantial Georgian three-storey building in need of major renovation which is priced at £1.5m, including 230 acres of woodland and farmland.

A traditional walled garden and cottage, that Mr Syrett feels could form the basis of a market gardening enterprise, is also on offer for £400,000.

Not surprisingly, given the multi-faceted nature of the estate, the agent is predicting that the sale will take some time to unravel. "It will be extremely complicated but I am looking forward to the challenge." Whether this will include a viewing with Miss Minogue remains to be seen. &#42

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