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Friends of Blencathra still hope to buy after mountain removed from sale

Blencathra was put up for sale to meet an inheritance tax bill. Credit: ITV News Border

The Friends of Blencathra committee has confirmed that it is still in talks with the Earl of Lonsdale to buy the mountain after reports it has been removed from sale.

The group was set up 18 months ago to resist the proposed sale of the North Lakeland mountain for £1.75million, which comes with the title 'Lord of the Manor of Threlkeld'.

At the time, Hugh Lowther, the Earl of Lonsdale, said the sale was necessary to pay a £9million inheritance tax bill, which had to be paid within 10 years of his father's death.

However, agents activing on his behalf say they "had to make alternative arrangements" to meet the inheritance tax bill as the deadline approached, and have therefore decided to stop actively marketing the mountain.

"In spite of there being several interested parties, we have been unable to conclude a sale and, as alternative arrangements have had to be made to deal with the estate's inheritance tax issues, the need for an early disposal has been removed. We have therefore been instructed to remove the property from the market."

– Shirley Dodd, property sales administrator for H&H Land and Property

Agents say they have had to sell properties that are currently occupied, an eventuality they were trying to avoid by selling Blencathra. However, they say these properties have been sold with the tenants in place.

They told ITV Border "bits and pieces have come together to allow us to meet the bill", by selling a mixture of properties and other parts of the estate.

They maintained that the mountain would still be for sale "if the right buyer could be found, at the right price." The Friends of Blencathra hopes that will be them.

"After a period of some uncertainty the vendors of the Saddleback mountain have recently confirmed to the charity that they remain keen to sell the mountain and, in particular, would like to sell to the charity if suitable terms can be agreed. Discussions are now in play to that end. Transactions involving the sale and purchase of extraordinary landholdings, such as this one, are always complex and time consuming. Here the matter is more complicated still as a result of the number of stakeholders involved in the decision making process.”

– Janet Turner QC, lawyer acting for the Friends of Blencathra


Cricket Club agrees financial settlement with County Council

Junior club members spell out a message of thanks. Credit: Threlkeld Cricket Club.

Threlkeld Cricket Club has agreed an undisclosed out of court financial settlement with Cumbria County Council, three years after its ground was badly damaged by flooding.

The flood was caused by a blocked culvert owned by the County Council.

The settlement was agreed out of court, and the Club says it'll be used to help repay the England and Wales Cricket Board Charitable Trust some of the money it's owed for fixing the pitch.

A 'thank you' message has been revealed at the ground, from the club to everyone who has helped with the repairs, and also to the firm of solicitors, Baines Wilson, who represented them in their action against the County Council.

I am just glad the whole thing is over and we are back playing cricket on our home ground.

We’ve been able to take on a junior coach, Ben Jefferson, and our new team of boys and girls are already competing in the Eden Valley Cricket League.

I can’t tell you how proud I am that we have gone from staring at a pile of rubble and a feeling of utter distress to picking ourselves up, battling on and re-instating our stunning ground back to the way it should be.”

– Michael Webster, Treasurer of Threlkeld Cricket Club

Threlkeld dam bolstered ahead of bad weather

Fire services and the Environment Agency have been bolstering flood defences near Keswick today.

They have been pumping the Yellow Dam in Threlkeld out to get into a culvert - which had been partially blocked.

With more heavy rain predicted to fall over the next few days, fire crews have been working to lessen the pressure on the dam - and to reduce the risk of potential flooding to homes and businesses in the area.

A66 reopens after earlier crash

The A66 has reopened following an earlier crash involving a cyclist and a Toyota Avensis.

The collision happened shortly before 2 o'clock this afternoon.

The driver of the car, a 43-year-old man from Threlkeld, was not injured.

The cyclist, a 60-year-old man from Florida, received serious injuries and was taken to Newcastle hospital via Air Ambulance.

The road was closed for a time while the emergency services attended the incident.


Diversions in place following A66 crash

Diversions are in place to allow emergency services to deal with the crash on the A66 at Threlkeld, near Keswick.

Travelling towards west Cumbria, motorists are advised to use junction 41 of the M6, travelling along the B5305, Wigton.

Travelling towards Penrith, motorists should follow the diversions in place at the Crossthwaite roundabout, Keswick.

Cumbria Police say that the road will be closed for some time.

  1. Tim Backshall

Row over contaminated pitch clean up

A cricket club in Cumbria, whose pitch was destroyed by flooding in June, has suffered another setback. The club, at Threlkeld near Keswick, has found out that the ground is contaminated by lead and arsenic from the flood water.

The clean up is now likely to take longer, be more expensive and there's an argument over who should pay the bill.

Independent report shows cricket club contamination

Threlkeld cricket club's pitch is officially contaminated, according to a report commissioned by the England and Wales Cricket Board.

The pitch, which was once named one of the prettiest clubs by cricket almanac Wisden, was destroyed by flooding and hundreds of tonnes of rubble last month.

The club estimates that the flooding and cost of the damage is about £100,000.

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