Sale of country estate is halted

AN ARISTOCRATIC family's 500-year association with a grand north Suffolk country estate is to continue after a £12 million sale was withdrawn.The Rous family has been connected with the 4,200-acre Henham estate, between Halesworth and Southwold, since the 16th Century.

AN ARISTOCRATIC family's 500-year association with a grand north Suffolk country estate is to continue after a £12 million sale was withdrawn.

The Rous family has been connected with the 4,200-acre Henham estate, between Halesworth and Southwold, since the 16th Century.

Two years ago the Sixth Earl of Stradbroke decided to cut his family's links with the estate and it was put up for sale either as a single lot or divided into 27 separate lots.

The “Aussie” earl, who likes to be known as Keith Rous, said he needed to sell the estate in order to prevent the Suffolk park from becoming a financial burden for his family.


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More recently, however, Hektor Rous, the earl's eldest son, has been in Suffolk trying to promote the parkland and open it up to more public access.

He has worked closely with a number of organisations including Halesworth Lions who held an enormously successful Wings and Wheels event at the park earlier this year.

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The Grand Henham Steam Rally also returned to the park this year and attracted thousands of visitors.

Mr Rous also organised a weekend family music festival at the park in August and has plans for more events in the future.

“The estate is no longer on the market,” he said yesterday.

“This is a beautiful parkland that has been created over the centuries and I want as many people as possible to be able to enjoy it,” he added.

He said he was “proud” of his family's long tradition with the park and hoped that it would continue for many years to come.

As part of his plans Mr Rous is applying to renew the planning permission for a grand hall for the estate.

“The estate needs an impressive building as a focal point and that is why I am determined to keep the planning permission which we have,” said Mr Rous.

Two years ago Waveney planners enthusiastically backed outline plans for a new hall and are expected to do so again when the application comes before them.

“I believe that a good sized building incorporating modern techniques and energy-saving ideas should be the brief given to today's architects although the current application is only an outline application,” said Mr Rous.

The estate's original Tudor hall was destroyed in a fire in 1773.

A replacement was built in the 1790's designed by James Wyatt, and was later restored during the Victorian era.

The hall served as a hospital during the First World War but was demolished in 1953.

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