Linkenholt, an English village, gets soldJuly 19th, 2009 - 2:36 pm ICT by IANS
By Cynthia Chandran
Linkenholt (UK), July 19 (IANS) Going once, going twice. Sold. This picture postcard village in Hampshire, over 100 km from central London, is now owned by 61-year-old Swedish billionaire Stefan Persson.
Famous for its natural beauty, Linkenholt is in the rolling countryside of North Wessex Downs. It has a very small community of just 40 people, with 22 cottages and houses leased to villagers, an Edwardian style manor house, a cricket field and 2,000 acres of an estate.
In these troubled times of recession, an entire English village being put on sale was something quite unusual. But that did not deter Persson, who is on a property buying spree, from grabbing another lush green village in Britain. He already owns 8,500 acres of country estate in Wiltshire.
According to Forbes magazine, Persson is the world’s 16th richest man worth an estimated 11.4 billion pounds. He is more famous as the owner of H & M, Hennes and Mauritz clothing empire, which has 1,300 stores in 24 countries.
Persson is reported to have bought this village for 25 million pounds in the last week of May. The details of the acquisition were not made public.
Nature lovers can embrace the smell of the earth in all its pristine glory at the estate where your eyes can’t reach the end of it, surrounded by trees and the chirping of birds.
“You don’t need a holiday. I don’t have a bus to catch or a car to drive. This is what I want. It’s such a tranquil life,” Tina Abbott of her village, having spent 39 years of her life running the only grocery store in Linkenholt, was quoted as saying.
This classic English village has been in the news since March 13 when it hit the market. At that time the close knit community was a bundle of nerves as they feared that the prospective new owner may try to change the place.
But now the villagers can rest easy as Persson apparently does not have any plans to alter the life of Abbott or the rest of the villagers. The new owner is famous for shying away from the media and what he intends to do with the village is yet to be revealed.
But how can a village of approximately 2,003.26 acres be put on sale?
The estate was owned by a charitable trust that provides funds for organisations helping disabled children and injured jockeys.
According to Clive Bell, the manager of the Linkenholt Countryside Adventure, “The trust wanted to re-invest the proceeds of the sale into the village.”
Before the sale, only three elderly couples had been given life tenancies, which had upset the other villagers. Ray Smith, a 78-year-old farmer and ex-head keeper of the estate, and his wife Elsie were sympathetic towards the other villagers who were not given life tenancies.
“I feel sorry for them, they all are nice people and they want to stay here. The only person who I would like to have it is someone who is going to keep more or less the same as it is,” says Elsie Smith.
Incidentally, Elsie, 75, met her husband through her elder sister, Betty, who married Ray’s older brother, Alan. This emphasises the close knit community of the Linkenholt.
The only property in the village not owned by the trust is the 12th Century St. Peter’s Church, which was not included in the sale. The church does not belong to the Hampshire County, but is owned by the Winchester Diocese.
Tim Sherston, the estate agent, must be one satisfied man for carrying out the biggest sale in his career. According to him the sale consisted of approximately 1,439 acres arable land, 103 acres grassland and 425 acres woodland.
The prize catch of Linkenholt village is its shooting site for high birds. However, Persson has to wait until 2013 to don the shooting gear as the trustees had already leased shooting rights to a business syndicate.
According to Ray and Elsie Smith, nothing has changed the beauty of the village even after four centuries. And they want status quo to be maintained.
(Cynthia Chandran can be contacted at email@example.com)
- Indians, other foreigners outdoing British in buying large county homes - Nov 22, 2009
- Whole village up for sale for PS22m - Mar 08, 2009
- 10-year moratorium must on selling land: Himachal panel - Apr 30, 2012
- End of road for seven-time Olympian Jorgen Persson - Jul 30, 2012
- Goa Church under cloud for selling island to resort company (Lead) - Aug 12, 2010
- A health resort turns toxic due to industrial pollution (Postcard from Giridih) - Nov 25, 2011
- The 'Field Of Dreams' And House Is For Sale - May 14, 2010
- Goa Church under cloud for selling island to resort company - Aug 12, 2010
- History, angling and drama on book-shelf (IANS Books this Week) - Jul 14, 2012
- Home Alone house up for sale - May 06, 2011
- Himachal invites industrial investments for new estate - Jan 29, 2012
- Son denies misuse of land of Chandra Shekhar trust - Feb 07, 2011
- Realty business hots up in Bengal - Jun 03, 2012
- Non-Goans cannot buy farm land, says Congress draft manifesto - Jan 23, 2012
- Roman Abramovich ready to stick with Chelsea manager Ancelotti - Dec 29, 2010
Tags: bundle of nerves, central london, chandran, cricket field, edwardian style, forbes magazine, hennes and mauritz clothing, man worth, manor house, nature lovers, picture postcard, postcard village, pristine glory, public nature, richest man, rolling countryside, tina abbott, tranquil life, troubled times, wessex