Mansion set to sell after price cut

AGENTS trying to sell an East Anglian mansion say they are confident of finding a buyer within the next few weeks after a £150,000 cut in the guide price.

By David Green

AGENTS trying to sell an East Anglian mansion say they are confident of finding a buyer within the next few weeks after a £150,000 cut in the guide price.

Wingfield College, one of the region's finest country houses, was put up for sale in August last year with a guide price of £1.25 million but has failed to sell despite "enormous" interest from prospective buyers in this country and abroad.

The guide price of the house near Diss, the home of Ian and Hilary Chance and former headquarters of Wingfield Arts, has now been cut to £1.1 million.

Mark Oliver, a director of Savills, said yesterday that more than 400 brochures had been sent out since the property went on the market.

"Many of the enquiries have come from London but we have also had interest from abroad," he said.

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"We have had people from the United States, Hong Kong, France and Holland viewing the property."

Mr Oliver said the property market had slumped in November and December but was now picking up and, with the reduction in price, he expected Wingfield College to sell quite soon.

"The market is not behaving in line with the doom and gloom forecasts put out last year," he added. "There is more activity and a good steady turnover, especially in the country house sector."

Wingfield College, which has seven bedrooms, two bathrooms and a spectacular great hall, had the appearance of a farmhouse when Ian Chance, founder of Wingfield Arts, bought it in the 1970s.

But behind the 18th century façade he discovered a medieval house with an ecclesiastical history linked to the neighbouring parish church.

The house, surrounded by gardens which include a topiary, is thought to have been built in the 14th century as an ecclesiastical college.

For many years it was the home of Wingfield Arts, now run by a board of trustees and based in nearby medieval barns which were converted to create exhibition and performance spaces at a cost of £1.4 million with the help of National Lottery money. The barns are not included in the sale.

The house has been open to the public in recent years but there will be no obligation on the new owners to continue with this arrangement.

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