Page last updated at 09:51 GMT, Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Withnail cottage 'saved' for fans

Sleddale Hall
Mr Hindley wants to create a visitor attraction

A businessman who bought a Cumbrian farmhouse made famous by a cult film has promised to restore it for fans.

Sleddale Hall, near Shap, featured in the 1986 film Withnail and I and was on sale for a starting price of 145,000.

But in a busy auction in London, it was sold to Cumbrian publican Seb Hindley, 40, by telephone bid for 265,000.

He said he wanted to restore the ramshackle building for fans to visit and to boost tourism in the Eastern Fells area of the Lake District.

The cottage, dating back to 1802, does not have planning permission for residential use.

But Mr Hindley revealed he wanted to restore it for fans to visit and create a reception area with a "roaring fire".

Known as Uncle Monty's Cottage in the cult film, the cottage still contains many original features used during filming.

A spokesman for Mr Hindley said it was believed he had beaten bids from the model Kate Moss and DJ Chris Evans.

Planning issues

Mr Hindley, who owns an inn six miles from the hall, said: "I have paid a high price for Sleddale Hall with no planning permission.

"However, I want to preserve its heritage which has been greatly increased by the iconic film.

"I will be glad to welcome everyone, from local people to fans of the film, to those who would like to spend some quality time in tranquillity.

"There will be no vehicles allowed but visitors will be most welcome, hopefully in some kind of reception area with a roaring log fire."

The film which starred Richard E Grant and Paul McGann tells the story of two out-of-work actors in the 1960s who venture to the Lakes to escape London.

Mr Hindley said the cottage's restoration depended on complex planning issues with local authorities, including the Lake District National Park and Eden District Council.

The cottage used to be owned by United Utilities.

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