'Battle for Trevalga': The latest on plans to put entire Cornwall village up for sale for £15m

still of Trevalga
Trevalga, North Cornwall Credit: ITV News

Campaigners trying to halt the sale of an historic Cornish hamlet say they are 'disappointed' by a response from the Charity Commission.

The 1199 acre Manor of Trevalga is on the market at a guide price of £15,750,000 through estate agent Savills.

The estate includes 6 tenant run farms, a manor house and 16 houses and cottages. Of those 16 homes, 14 are let out to tenants on assured shorthold tenancies and 2 are vacant.

Trevalga was originally left in a will to Marlborough College in Wiltshire by former pupil Gerald Curgenven when he died in 1959. He had also expressed a wish that the estate would not be broken up or sold.

Since 2012 Trevalga has been overseen by The Gerald Curgenven Will Trust, which has now put the estate up for sale on the basis that it is no longer financially viable.

Tenants of Trevalga held a protest in August 2022 Credit: ITV News

The Charity Commission says it has been examining the decision-making of the trustees to seek assurance that they have been acting in line with their legal duties and responsibilities in relation to the proposed sale.

In a statement it said :''Local residents had raised concerns about the validity of the sale, pointing to their interpretation of the provisions of the charity’s governing document.

"Officials for the regulator met with the trustees of the charity, and thoroughly assessed the matter, including the concerns raised by those affected.

"The trustees demonstrated to the Commission that it is within their powers to sell the Trevalga estate, and that their decision was made independently and in compliance with their legal duties.

"The Commission has therefore determined that it has no further role regarding the sale.''

Many residents in the coastal hamlet of Trevalga have lived there for generations.

Those who currently rent under assured shorthold tenancies are concerned they may face potential eviction under a new owner.

Campaigner and Trevalga tenant Serena Partrick told ITV News that residents would continue to dispute the sale.

Serena Partrick Credit: ITV News

In a statement Serena said: "We are incredibly disappointed to see this response from the Charity Commission, though not wholly surprised.

"The Battle is still very much on and we are seeking legal advice as to our next steps as well as exploring all other avenues to protect Trevalga, such as having ecological surveys carried out, applying to have Trevalga made a Conservation Area, and registering Trevalga as a Dark Skies Area.''

''However, we feel strongly that there are still many question marks hanging over this sale, as well as over the management of the Estate and the registered objects of the Will Trust, and we will continue to campaign to have these questions answered and to have the charitable intention of Gerald Curgenven to preserve the Manor of Trevalga honoured."

A first attempt to sell Trevalga was originally made in 2010 by Marlborough College, but the estate was later taken off the market. Ownership of the estate was placed into the care of a charitable trust, with Marlborough College as the beneficiary of the rental income.

On 16th September 2022, a month after Trevalga was put on the market for the second time, trustees for the Gerald Curgenven Will Trust released further details of why the estate was being sold.

Trevalga Credit: ITV News

Trustee John Wakeham explained: “Buildings don’t look after themselves, and the houses, cottages and farms left by Gerald Curgenven in 1959 have required maintenance over the past 63 years to ensure they remain fit for purpose.”

He continued: “Herein lies the problem. These old Cornish properties not only require an increasing level of repair, but also material improvements to meet today’s expectations. The only money available to the trustees is rental income, and Marlborough College as a registered charity itself requires its correct share of that income.

“Any improvements, or modernisation, of the properties cannot come from rental income and must come from borrowing or liquidating an asset, namely selling part of the estate. By selling individual properties we would begin the break-up of the estate, damaging value in this rare and integrated coastal mix of unspoilt property.”