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Tuesday, 23 September 2014

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Blencathra sold to unnamed buyer

An iconic Cumbrian mountain has been sold - but not to community campaigners.

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Iconic landscape: Blencathra has a new owner

A so far unnamed purchaser has bought the peak from Lord Lonsdale, who is selling it to help pay an inheritance tax bill.

News of the sale comes two days after a sealed bids auction to buy the mountain closed.

It also means campaign group Friends of Blencathra has failed in its effort to raise the money needed to win the race.

Details of the exact sale price have not been disclosed but it as above the £1.75m asking price the land carried.

John Robson, of selling agents H&H Land and Property, said: "The duty of the estate is to accept best value and we are instructed to proceed with a sale based on this offer.

"Prior to reaching this decision we had discussions earlier today with representatives from The Friends of Blencathra. We have taken into account both their offer and the fact that there is a significant shortfall between this and the successful offer."

Have your say

Open letter to Friends of Blencathra:
Some of the information on your website is worrying me. In your FAQ section you quote "We already know about costs arising from disused mines elsewhere in the Lakes and Blencathra has had its share of mining. There are also grazing rights and concerns around public and club recreations. These require full consultation which cannot be addressed until after the mountain is in public ownership.".

Don't you think waiting until the mountain is in public ownership to address these issues is reckless and incredibly irresponsible. It appears that your blindly moving forward without a real understanding of the problems you face. Your vision is very short sighted. You realize your plan must be maintainable forever more, 50, 100 or more years into the future. This decision impacts future generations. How much is this going to cost in the very long term, where is this money coming from?. Do you even know or have a rough idea what the yearly cost of maintenance, rates, insurance etc would be?. It might be worth contacting the National trust and asking what they spend. I think your in for a shock. Your buy now worry later attitude scares me. How long until your bankrupt and the mountains back on the market.
I've seen people trying to get answers on your Facebook forum but the answers never come, only a torrent of attacks from your members, accusing anyone who asks such things of being a "troll" or not understanding the issue. I feel its your group who do not understand the issue.
Please answer these questions in a public forum.

Posted by Bob Jones on 11 July 2014 at 20:17

Statement from Friends of Blencathra
A Special Executive Committee meeting of Eden District council met at 5pm on Monday 7th July, to determine a nomination from Friends of Blencathra Ltd to have Blencathra listed as an Asset of Community Value. Also present were several representatives from Friends of Blencathra, representatives from local parish councils, and a number of other Eden District councillors.
The Executive Committee considered a report that had been prepared by their Director of Legal Services, along with a supplementary note that had been submitted by legal representatives of Friends of Blencathra. After addressing some questions to the Director of Legal Services, Councillors and Officers withdrew to consider the nomination in private.
The Executive Committee returned to the council chamber, and reported on their deliberations. They accepted that the nomination made by Friends of Blencathra Ltd. complied with all the appropriate requirements of the regulations, and proceeded to a vote. Five members of the Committee voted in favour of the nomination, and there was one abstention.
The Community Asset process is defined by the Localism Act, and this is the first time that these regulations have been used to register a mountain as an Asset of Community Value. Eden District Council acknowledged that this is without precedent.
What does this mean for Friends of Blencathra? Well, we still have a number of hurdles to overcome. Firstly, like most decisions of the Executive Committee, this could be "called in" by EDC's Scrutiny Committee. However, the Chair of the Scrutiny Committee was present at the meeting as an observer, and he has undertaken to give a decision on call-in by 09:00 on Tuesday. Another potential hurdle is that the landowners have the right to request a review of the Executive Committee's decision.
What difference does it make having Blencathra listed as an Asset of Community Value? Although it was announced in the press last Friday that Blencathra had been sold, contracts have yet to be exchanged, and our legal team are investigating the implications of this. We hope that we now have a period of time in which to negotiate with the current owners. Very importantly, this gives Friends of Blencathra Ltd. access to very significant sources of matched funding.
Although this successful registration is a massive step forward, we have to point out that it does not mean that we have bought Blencathra - but this is a quantum leap forward in our campaign.
Please remember that this statement is issued prior to written confirmation of Monday's decision being received from Eden District Council, and that there are still potential hurdles to overcome. However, the Board and Steering group wanted to give you this update as quickly as possible. Announcements will be made as soon as we have more information to share with you.
We are all Friends of Blencathra. Some of us were fortunate enough to be present on Monday evening to witness history being made. But without the support of each and every one of you, none of this would be happening. Thank you for you support - we depend on it.

Posted by Friends of Blencathra on 9 July 2014 at 08:52

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