Renowned estate sells for �16m

A MULTI-millionaire British oil tycoon has been revealed as the new owner of one of Suffolk’s finest country estates – after outbidding rivals and paying more than 50% over the asking price to secure the historic property.

Steven Lamprell, 60, was so determined to own Chadacre – which is mentioned in the Domesday Book – it is believed he successfully bid �16million, �6m over the price tag.

Mr Lamprell – 178th in the Rich List with a fortune estimated at �300m – has lived in the Middle East for more than 30 years and accumulated his wealth from astute deals in the oil industry and shipping.

As president of Lamprell Plc – registered in the Isle of Man – he oversees a company that has extensive interests in the Arabian Gulf, supplying “specialised services” to the off-shore oil and gas industries.

Two of the company’s three main facilities are in Emirate of Sharjar, in the United Arab Emirates, and the third in Dubai.

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He bought Chadacre, built in the 1830s, from Maggie Thatcher’s former “aide”, businessman David Hart who is credited with helping her smash the miners’ strike in 1984.

Property tycoon Mr Hart, also a close ally of Michael Portillo when he was Defence Secretary in the last Tory government, is the son of the man who founded the Ansbacher merchant bank in London.

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Ten years ago Mr Hart, now 65, controversially won permission to build a gold-topped pyramid mausoleum on his estate, large enough to hold 34 tombs. But the project was never finished although parts of the structure are on site.

The Chadacre estate surrounds the Grade II Listed Regency mansion designed by the Duke of Wellington’s own architect Philip Hardwick.

It includes traditional parkland, formal gardens, terraces and a walled garden. The 415 acres of arable land have recently been farmed organically under contract.

The estate provides what agents Savills described as “a challenging family shoot” and a two-acre lake for coarse fishing.

Apart from the main house there is also a farm house, a dower house and four cottages. It is only the second time in almost 100 years that Chadacre had changed hands, having been bought by the first Earl of Iveagh, of the Guinness dynasty, from the Halifax banking family in 1918.

Mr Hart has spent millions on Chadacre, demolishing outbuildings and a chapel used when the house was run as an agricultural college by Suffolk County Council.

Adrian Wilson, of Savills’ Cambridge office which handled the sale, said: “We put it on the market in March and there was a formidable amount of interest.

“There was a high level of viewers and a number of parties bidding for the property at levels well in excess of the guide price. It went under offer within six weeks of launch and was exchanged within five working days.”

Local estate agent Caroline Edwards, of Carter Jonas, said: “It is not surprising that it was sold for much more than the original asking price.

“Mega-money is finding East Anglia more fashionable and desirable – and represents better value for money compared to the previously fashionable Cotswolds.”

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