AN action group is ‘shocked and confused’ after discovering an iconic Lake District mountain has been sold to a mystery millionaire.
Blencathra was put on the market by cash-strapped Lord Lonsdale, who needs to pay £9million in inheritance tax, back in May.
The Friends of Blencathra put in a sealed bid for the mountain on July 2 but it was significantly less than the accepted offer.
Despite generating a global support base of 6,600 people, the group could not match the successful bid of more than the £1.75 million asking price.
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The mountain’s sale is ‘disasterous’ news for the action group, who wanted Blencathra to be publicly owned and not part of a millionaire’s property portfolio.
Carlisle-based H and H Land and Property are overseeing the sale but will not reveal the name or even the nationality of the buyer or the precise amount of the accepted offer.
Despite confirmation that a huge offer has been accepted, the Friends of Blencathra are not giving up hope.
Debbie Cosgrove, chairman of the group, said: “This announcement has yet to be confirmed to us or to our legal representatives by the agents acting for the Lonsdale Estate.
“Until then, we are still campaigning and still going strong. As far as we are concerned, negotiations are still open. Yesterday, our representatives offered to match one particular bid, and our understanding was that this was being looked upon favourably."
But John Robson, director of H and H Land and Property, says the deal with the anonymous buyer is almost complete.
“The Friends of Blencathra put in a low offer with the provision that they could improve it subject to the mountain getting listed as a Community Asset,” said Mr Robson.
“Even with their best offer they were well short of the guide price. The offer we have accepted is above the guide price and there is a significant gap between them.”
But there is still a slim hope for the action group.
A meeting is taking place tonight (July 7) at Penrith Town Hall to decide if Blencathra will be registered as a Community Asset.
This means if Blencathra is deemed to be of special cultural significance it could delay the sale for six months, giving the action group time to make a higher bid.
However, Mr Robson is confident the sale will go through.
“We don’t think they could raise the money in six months,” he said. “Blencathra is being sold to pay tax and that type of sale doesn’t get held up mainly because the government want their money.”