Historic Suffolk estate to be sold off

THE future of one of Suffolk's best known and most spectacular estates was unclear last night after it emerged it will be sold to help pay off death duties.

THE future of one of Suffolk's best known and most spectacular estates was unclear last night after it emerged it will be sold to help pay off death duties.

The EADT can exclusively reveal that Shrubland Park, in Coddenham near Ipswich, is to be put up for sale by current owner the Seventh Lord de Saumarez.

It is understood that Lord de Saumarez, 49, has made the difficult decision to sell off his family estate, which includes an 18th century mansion and 50-acre gardens as well as the prestigious Shrubland Health Clinic, to assist in paying inheritance tax following the deaths of his parents.

His father, the Sixth Lord de Saumarez died in 1991 and his mother, Lady de Saumarez in June 2004 and although it is not know exactly how much their home will fetch it is expected to be in the multi-million pound bracket.

The decision to sell the estate also sounds the death knell for the Shrubland Health Clinic, a haven for those wishing to escape the stresses of everyday life including the rich and famous, which will close from April 2.

The clinic currently employs 65 members of staff, although around 50% of these are part time and working between three and 15 hours a week.

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However bosses have pledged that no redundancies have yet been made and that any clients booked in for after April 2 will receive a full refund.

Nick Gray, chief executive of Shrubland Health Clinic Limited who was also speaking on behalf of Lord Saumarez, said the decision to sell the estate was regrettable but unfortunately there was very little room for manoeuvre.

He said: “After careful consideration of a number of factors, including the amount of death duties payable on the deaths of the late Lord and Lady de Saumarez, the difficult decision has been taken to sell Shrubland Park.

“It is very regrettable because the estate has been a home to the de Saumarez family for many years and the choice is not something which has been made lightly.

“The details of the sale will become available as and when the marketing of the property and the estate is issued.

“Details of what is being sold will also be issued at this time. It hasn't gone to the market at the moment and so there is no price to be able to give you.

“The cost of the death duties is a private matter and will not be disclosed however I can confirm that they are a prominent reason why we are having to sell Shrubland Park.”

Death duty, or inheritance tax, is a fee charged by the Government for allowing people to leave at least some of their wealth to their heirs.

It has to be paid by someone's executors before they are able to manage their assets and potentially hand them on to the beneficiaries.

Although the first £275,000 worth of possessions incur no charge anything above this amount is taxed at 40% the value of all assets that are left behind on death.

Mr Gray said that as a result of the potential sale the Shrubland Health Clinic will be forced to close its doors to clients on April 2.

He continued: “All staff have been told and the management will be consulting with them about redundancy issues.

“The notice that has been given to the clinic workforce is of a potential sale. They are not being made redundant at the moment and we will be looking at ways to try and avoid this.

“Meanwhile every effort will be made to honour bookings at the Clinic up to April 2 and all guests with bookings after that date will receive a full refund.”

News of the sale has led to speculation over how much the estate will be worth, although it will almost certainly attract offers in the multi-million pound bracket.

Guy Jenkinson, of Bidwells estate agents in Ipswich, said: “Shrubland is a magnificent building in a lovely setting and there could be a variety of uses for it, subject to planning, by the very nature of the size of the property and the land it may or may not come with.

“It is extremely rare for a property such as this to come onto the market and there are only a handful of sites like this within a 20 or 30 mile radius of Ipswich so there will undoubtedly be a lot of interest from a number of different directions. I would expect it to fetch a substantial price tag.”

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