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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


WATCH: Blencathra could be sold to local charity group

A charity group is hopeful that it is the preferred buyer in the sale of Blencathra.

Friends of Blencathra say they are "cautiously optimistic" about the possible sale going ahead, but that nothing has been confirmed.

Kate Walby reports.

Blencathra could be sold to charity group

Blencathra went on sale in May last year Credit: PA

A Cumbrian mountain could be sold to a local charity group, set up with the aim of buying the 'community asset'.

"Friends of Blencathra" posted on their facebook page last night that "the trustees wish to proceed with our offer", bringing the crowd-funded charity closer to securing ownership of the fell.

The news comes after much discussion and negotiation, with Blencathra reported to have been sold to an unnamed party last July but the sale didn't go ahead.

The mountain was originally put on the market at £1.75 million. Its owner Lord Lonsdale claimed the move was necessary as he needed to raise £9 million to pay an inheritance tax bill.

Waiting game almost over for Friends of Blencathra

After six weeks of campaigning and fundraising, the wait is almost over for the Friends of Blencathra to see if they have done enough to reclaim the mountain in the Lake District for the community.

It was put up for sale in May with a guide price of £1.75m.

Since then, supporters from all over the country plus some celebs have joined the charity to try to buy it as a community asset. Bidding closed at midday today (July 2).

Kim Inglis met three generations who have grown up visiting the mountain and want to make sure the next three generations have the chance to do the same.

Earl wants 'the best bid' for Blencathra

The owner of Blencathra, the Lake Distict mountain which is up for sale, says he's confident it will be sold by the end of the year.

The Earl of Lonsdale says he's had a number of offers for the iconic piece of Cumbria landscape.

A number of local people are jointly trying to raise the £1.75 million to buy it. But he says he wants to get the highest price to be able to pay off a large death duties tax bill.

Read: More on the Sale of Lake District iconic fell


Friends of Blencathra to host public meeting

Blencathra, Lake District Credit: ITV Border

Members of the group hoping to buy a Lake District fell will be on hand at the weekend to answer people's questions about their campaign.

The Friends of Blencathra want to buy the mountain, which is being sold by its owner to help pay off an inheritance tax bill. They've organised a public meeting at the Reghed Centre on Saturday afternoon.

Sir Chris Bonington joins Friends of Blencathra

Local mountaineer Sir Chris Bonington has agreed to become honorary president of the Friends of Blencathra.

The action group, set up to buy the iconic Lake District fell when it was put up for sale at the beginning of May, recently applied for the land to be made a community asset.

If successful the Friends of Blencathra would become the preferred buyer and have six months to raise the £1.75 million need for the sale.

Bonington thinks it's a fundamental thing that the community have come together to buy the fell.

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