Barry Hearn spotted in Trevalga where residents are fighting £15m sale

Barry Hearn wades into the Battle of Trevalga: Sports promoter is spotted on a tour of the tiny Cornish parish where residents are fighting against £15.75m sale

  • Darts boss Barry Hearn, 74, may buy of the UK’s last untouched coastal towns
  • Residents say Mr Hearn had a tour of Trevalga, Cornwall being sold for £15.75m
  • His presence caused significant anxiety from those fearing eviction if it is sold
  • ‘Battle of Trevalga’ campaigner Serena Patrick said he’d ‘chosen not to reach out’
  • But Mr Hearn said he was not looking to develop it and no-one will be evicted

Locals who fear eviction from one of Britain’s last coastal communities unsullied by second homes have said they are fighting off a potential buyer – darts and snooker boss Barry Hearn.

Residents claim Mr Hearn, 74, was given a tour of the historic parish of Trevalga, Cornwall after expressing interest in its £15.75m sale, in the latest twist of what has been dubbed the ‘Battle of Trevalga’.

Trevalga is home to just a cliff-top manor house, six let farms and 17 further houses and cottages  – all of which have been put up for sale sparking dismay among those who live there.

Sports promoter Mr Hearn is now said to have visited the small community on Thursday.

But his presence caused significant anxiety from those fearing eviction from what has been labelled one of the final coastal communities in Britain untouched by second homes.

But Mr Hearn said that he was ‘not looking for development opportunity’ and that ‘there will be no significant changes and no-one will be asked to leave their house’.

The Trevalga estate stretches half a mile inland and includes a cliff-top manor house, six let farms, 17 further houses and cottages

Sports promoter Mr Hearn is now said to have visited the small coastal community of Trevalga on Thursday

Residents claim Mr Hearn, 74, was given a tour of the historic parish of Trevalga, Cornwall after expressing interest in its £15.75m sale, in the latest twist of what has been dubbed the ‘Battle of Trevalga’.

Locals claim the proposed sale is in breach of the wishes of its former owner Gerald Curgenven, who left it in his will to Marlborough College in 1959 with the instruction to ‘preserve it’ and not break it up.

A legal battle is ongoing to try and block the sale – but the visit of Hearn, has left campaigners feeling increasingly worried about their future.

Coordinator Serena Patrick, 38, said they rejected a last minute offer of a meeting about the visit as they felt ‘strong-armed’ and ‘under-prepared’.

She said: ‘Yesterday we were visited by another buyer, sporting events promoter Barry Hearn.

‘We understand that he claims to not want to change Trevalga but feels the Manor is too expensive.

‘This has caused great anxiety in the village. Mr Hearn must be aware of our concerns and our campaign but has chosen not to reach out to us.

‘The Trustees tried to strong arm us into a last-minute meeting with them at the beginning of the week.

‘We would have been happy to have a meeting but felt it incorrect we be rushed into one unprepared and asked the Trustees to put their proposal in writing.

‘We were then told there was nothing to propose, which begs the question; why then have a meeting?

‘It is very concerning that anyone would be interested in buying Trevalga in the current circumstances, when the resistance and concerns of residents have been made so clear.’

Local residents Serena Patrick (left), Kizzy Lockyear (right) and her son Reuben (centre) are campaigning against the sale of Trevalga in northern Cornwall 

The idyllic Cornish hamlet is thought to be one of the last places in Britain unspoilt by second holiday homes, with some families having lived there for three generations 

It is understood Hearn spoke with a number of residents in the village during the visit.

Those living there claim the sale is in breach of the wishes of its former owner Gerald Curgenven, who left it in his will to Marlborough College in 1959 with the instruction to ‘preserve it’ and not break it up.

They previously said the campaign’s main aim was to have the charitable objectives on the register of the Charity Commission amended to reflect the intentions of Curgenven.

But they were dealt a major blow recently after the commission told them they were not able to intervene in the sale.

Ms Patrick said the news was ‘disappointing’ but vowed to continue the fight – and said they were even now looking at a way of purchasing the manor themselves.

Speaking after the visit of Hearn, she added: ‘Our legal team is still behind us, they have now instructed a barrister for us, and they have written to the Trustees’ solicitors this week to inform them that they must not take any further steps towards sale without referral to themselves.

‘We do not believe the Charity Commission have fully considered the legal concerns we are raising, nor our concerns regarding the registration of the Will Trust and the management of the Estate.

‘I have also written to Scott Mann (local MP) this morning to inform him of this new development and ask again for his assistance.’

Residents described Trevalga as a ‘unique place in Britain that has been left largely untouched by the modern world.’

It also doesn’t suffer from any light pollution and has escaped the invasion of second home owners and holiday lets throughout the rest of Cornwall.

And Ms Patrick said locals were fighting for more than just their own homes.

She added: ‘It has not been developed, because of how Gerald Curgenven managed it in his lifetime.

‘And after his death in 1959 it has been almost completely sheltered from the rise of modernism and development that has swept the entire country.

‘It is a medieval parish that is largely unchanged – and a living piece of shared history.’

Trevalga residents claim the sale is in breach of the wishes of its former owner Gerald Curgenven, who left it in his will to Marlborough College in 1959 with the instruction to ‘preserve it’ and not break it up

Residents described Trevalga as a ‘unique place in Britain that has been left largely untouched by the modern world.’ Pictured: Trevalga resident Peter Pracownick’s home, the Trevalga Manor

Barry Hearn said he was a ‘serious player’ after two visits to Trevalga but pledged that if he completed a sale the tenants were ‘safe and secure.’

He said he was treating it as a ‘generational’ purchase for his family and pledged to not make any ‘significant’ changes if it goes ahead.

He said: ‘I am a busy person. I would not be wasting my time down there if I was not a serious player. But we’ll have to wait and see.

‘However, it will be the best news for the residents if I do buy it.

‘Anyone else looking to buy it would be looking at investment and development. I am not doing that. I like it. It is spectacular and this is not a money making operation for me.

‘I would be a god-sent for the tenants.’

Mr Hearn said he had already reached out to the protesters but said they didn’t want to meet him.

He added: ‘I did reach out to the residents and asked to see the protesters, but they refused to meet me. That was disappointing but they are entitled to their opinion.

‘This would be a generational buy if I buy it. I am looking at it but it is complicated.

‘It is a very beautiful spot. The good news for the tenants is if I complete the sale I would not be putting anyone out. It is not in my nature.’

Mr Hearn said the only residents he spoke to during his visit were the tenants of the manor house, which he said was falling apart and he may want to refurbish in some fashion.

He added: ‘I explained to him I would want to rehouse him elsewhere in the village, which he was happy to consider.

‘I went down with the family. Any sale is a long way off and I’ve not made an offer, we are just considering it.

‘I would change virtually anything. I would want to preserve it for future generations. The site has the most stunning views.’

Mr Hearn said it was the second trip down with both organised by Savills.

He added: ‘We have been working on it for about a month. It’s a complicated acquisition.

‘We are long term players, this would be a legacy investment.

‘Whatever reasons the protesters had for not meeting me, won’t influence my decision. But the good news for residents is that I won’t change it.

‘If they met me, they would understand what type of person I am. This is a family investment – it is not for me at my age. Not much has changed in a few hundred years and we want to keep it special, we are not looking at this as a development opportunity.’

Mr Hearn wanted to assure residents that they could sleep easy as he has no plans to evict anyone from their homes if he does go ahead and by Trevalga as he ‘couldn’t do that to anyone’.

‘There will be no significant changes and no-one will be asked to leave their house.

‘The local feeling seems to be this is going to be developed with everyone getting slung out.

‘But they are not going to get a knock on the door and be thrown out. I will not put people out of their homes.

‘They are safe and secure.’

Mr Hearn said it was too early to give any timescales and said it maybe another month before he decides to go ahead with the purchase.

‘I have been down twice and I like it. But this takes time and I have got to look at 17 different houses.’

The Battle for Trevalga: A timeline

1930s: Gerald Curgenven buys Trevalga manor and starts to acquire the surrounding land

1959: Curgenven dies, leaving the 1,200-acre estate in his will to Marlborough College, establishing the Gerald Curvenven Will Trust

2010: Malborough College claims legal document is flawed and aims to ask for £10 million for the houses in the hamlet

June 2022: Residents living in the village receive a letter to tell them their homes would be sold as part of the £15.75 million 

August 2022:  Petition to halt the sale of the manor of Trevalga launched by Serena Patrick

A view looking out to sea from Trevalga in northern Cornwall. The estate has been put on the market with a guide price of £15.75 million, sparking concern from residents who now fear eviction

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