Tenants fear eviction as £15million village in Cornwall up for sale

  • Watch tenants speak on fight to save Cornish village from sale

The tenants of 12 homes in a rural hamlet in Cornwall are afraid they will be evicted after the entire village was put up for sale.

Trevalga includes 17 houses and six farms which were all put in a trust in the 1950s to preserve its future.

Now the whole estate is on the market for £15million - but tenants are protesting the sale in what has been dubbed the 'Battle for Trevalga'.

Not once but twice it's been dubbed the 'Battle for Trevalga'.

The Manor of Trevalga includes six farms and 17 houses and cottages - 12 of the properties are let on assured shorthold tenancies, two are let on regulated tenancies and two are vacant.

The whole estate, which forms a hamlet between Tintagel and Boscastle, has been put onto the market with Savills Estate Agents at a guide price of £15.75million.

The estate is being marketed as having "a myriad of leisure, amenity and redevelopment opportunities" with "due consideration being given to parties offering on parts of the Estate".

Tenants protest in Trevalga Credit: ITV News

Tenants disputing the sale gathered outside Trevalga's tiny village hall to protest as the first potential buyer was expected to fly in by helicopter.

Tenant Serena Partrick organised the protest.

She said: "It's very unlikely that anyone from Trevalga is going to be able to find any property, let alone an equivalent property.

"My sister lives in a house that's valued at about £400,000 - and there's no way that she could afford to buy that house."

Serena Partrick Credit: ITV News

The estate's most recent owner was Gerald Curgenven who acquired the Manor of Trevalga in 1934.

On his death in 1959, the estate was put into a trust to preserve the area, with the trust providing an income to Mr Curgenven's former school Marlborough College in Wiltshire.

In 2010, the estate was put on the market but was later withdrawn after tenants disputed the sale.

The trust was then formally registered with the Charity Commission as the Gerald Curgenven Will Trust. It is currently overseen by three individual trustees. They have now written to tenants informing them that the sale is "inevitable".

Gerald Curgenven Credit: Jess Frohlick

Serena told ITV News West Country that the tenants believe that, under the terms of the original trust, the estate was to be managed in a way which meant local families were given a home for life at an affordable rent.

She said: "Some people might think these kind of homes should only be lived in by people who have money, but that's never been the point of Trevalga. Why should you have to be a millionaire to live in a beautiful peaceful special place?"

Tenant Kizzy Lockyear has lived in various cottages in Trevalga since she was six months old.

"I've been on the estate many, many years," she said. "But some of the tenants on the estate are third generational tenants, so it's just part of life living together in that community.

"This will destroy that small community, that rural community we've all grown up in."

Trevalga sits on the coast between Boscastle and Tintagel Credit: ITV News

Long-term tenants Chris and Ros Thomas hold one of only two regulated tenancies in Trevalga.

Chris said: "A buyer would have to buy the house with us in it, but that doesn't alter the fact that we'd be devastated if this village is split up and the community and the friends that we've had for years, 50 years, are dispersed. It would change our lives."

A spokesperson for the selling agents Savills said: “We can confirm Savills is offering the Trevalga Estate for sale on behalf of the trustees.

“The proposed sale is subject to all existing tenancies with the security of tenants remaining unchanged.”

A group of tenants have told ITV News West ountrythey plan to launch a crowdfunding appeal to cover legal fees, and will take their case to the charity commission.