Page last updated at 05:59 GMT, Wednesday, 8 July 2009 06:59 UK

Victorian farm goes up for sale

Leighton Park model farm
The Victorian-era Leighton farm complex has fallen into disrepair

A Grade II-listed Victorian farm in Powys, built on an estate which had been given as a wedding present, has been put on the market.

John Naylor spent £275,000 developing Leighton Park model farm in 1849 and the rest of his estate near Welshpool.

But in the early part of the 20th century it was broken up to pay for death duties and in 1931 the farm was sold to the local authority.

It needs repairs, but owners Powys council said they could cost £2m.

The council said last year it could not afford the long-term renovation costs.

The Leighton Park estate was given to John Naylor by his uncle as a wedding present.

Keeping pace

Between 1848 and 1856 he invested about £275,000 in it.

More than 150 years on, the farm has nine tenant farmers who share 473 acres.

An area called Leighton Centre, which is also owned by the council, has eight commercial and two residential tenants.

But the farm estate's age is catching up with it and during the last few years it has fallen into disrepair.

In a report in July 2008, Powys council said it had spent more than £150,000 in maintenance costs since 2003, but that was not keeping pace with the "buildings' rate of deterioration".

A council survey a few years ago found it would cost £2m to bring the property up to scratch.

The Prince's Regeneration Trust has tried to find possible uses for the farm, and in 2007 Prince Charles visited the farm and Leighton Centre.

The 2008 council report highlighted the importance of the farm and the surrounding buildings.

It said: "The Leighton Centre includes 16 separately listed Grade II (star) buildings and seven separately listed Grade II buildings.

"A concentration of so many Grade II (star) farm buildings is extremely unusual and indicative of the significance of Leighton.

"Leighton Centre therefore represents a heritage asset of the greatest importance nationally, however, therein lies the problems for the county council who as landlord have the responsibility for their upkeep."

The report added: "A recent condition survey identified the need to spend up to £2m to bring them up to a satisfactory condition and addresses dry rot and poor roofs.

"It is considered that the council is not in a position to spend large sums of money on the up keep of Leighton Centre and over recent years alternative uses and possible ownerships have been sought to no avail."



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