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Last Updated: Friday, 26 September, 2003, 11:35 GMT 12:35 UK
Shop tycoon buys 'jewel' castle
Hensol Castle, courtesy of King Sturge
Hensol Castle is a listed building

A multi-million pound deal has been struck over the sale of Hensol Castle in the Vale of Glamorgan.

The Grade 1 listed 17th Century stately home has been bought by business tycoon Gerald Leeke.

The sale, rumoured to be 5m, will increase the business portfolio of the Leeke family, who also own the neighbouring Vale Hotel and nearby shopping complex Leekes, just outside Llantrisant.

Mr Leeke has announced he will create extra facilities at Hensol to complement the Vale resort, where both the Welsh football and rugby international teams train.

"The castle - and its gardens - is the jewel in the Hensol crown," said Mr Leeke.

"We will work closely with the council's planning officers and Cadw (the Welsh heritage body) to ensure a sensitive development that will sit comfortably within the context of this famous stately house and its surrounding parkland," he added.

Some 300 people work at the 145-bedroom Vale Hotel, Golf and Spa Resort.

More jobs will be created at the castle, which was sold by the Welsh Assembly Government, and plans could include the relocation of the hotel's clinic facilities where private consultations take place.

The Vale also boasts two championship standard golf courses.

It had been rumoured that Catherine Zeta Jones and Michael Douglas were among the 30-strong group of bidders interested in buying the castle, which also includes a landscape park, 15-acre lake and serpentine pond.

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