Page last updated at 13:30 GMT, Friday, 19 June 2009 14:30 UK

Chinese eye Cornwall beach sale

Upton Towans
Owners hope the sale will make a six-figure sum

Buyers from the US and China have been calling auctioneers about the sale of a 76-acre stretch of Cornish beach.

Upton Towans near St Ives has been put up for auction, with a guide price of £50,000.

The new owner will not be able to close off the beach to the public or build on it, but they will be able to admire a picturesque coastline.

But auctioneers Colliers expect it to exceed the guide price considerably when it is sold on 13 July.

Upton Towans has been owned for the past 19 years by Dennis Arbon, a trustee of the Hall for Cornwall, a performing arts venue in Truro.

He donated the beach to the hall six months ago and funds from the sale will go towards supporting the venue.

We hope it will get into six figures
Tim Brinkman, director of the the Hall for Cornwall

Richard Argles, from auctioneers Colliers CRE, told BBC News the beach had already attracted a lot of interest.

"We've had an amazing amount of interest and the catalogues were only sent out on Thursday," he said.

"It's just gone mad."

Interest had come from as far as the US and China for the beach which was sold 20 years ago to Mr Arbon for about £40,000.

Mr Argles said: "The reason we go to auction is that no-one knows what it is worth.

"There's a covenant against any sort of development.

"But there's nothing to stop you pitching your tent on it and stop others pitching their tent on it."

Tim Brinkman, director of the the Hall for Cornwall, said: "We've already had someone make us an offer.

"£50,000 is the starting point for bids. We hope it will get into six figures."

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