henley Standard 16.09.2011 #169; fawleycourt henley Standard 16.09.2011 © fawleycourt
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fawleycourt henley Standard 16.09.2011

henley Standard 16.09.2011

Developer ‘negotiated £6m price cut for Fawley Court’

FAWLEY Court’s owner is accused of cheating a property developer out of a £5million commission despite him negotiating a £9.5million price drop for the property’s sale.

Richard Butler-Creagh told London’s High Court that millionaire heiress Aida Hersham offered him £5 million to “walk away” from the 17th-century property, for which he had already had a £22.5million offer accepted in 2008.

He said she asked him to “facilitate the completion” of the sale on her behalf.

He claims he was then instrumental in negotiating with the house’s owners, the Marian Fathers, through intermediaries to get a better price on her behalf, persuading them to accept £16.5 million.

Mrs Hersham was ultimately able to buy the property for £13million when the sale was completed in April 2010.

There had been a great deal of interest in the house, which had attracted 150 viewings.

His QC, James Lewis, asked: “You took an active part in the negotiations?”

“I did all the negotiations,” Mr Butler-Creagh, of Kingwood Common, replied.

Mr Lewis said that now Mrs Hersham claimed nothing had been agreed, but said Mr Butler-Creagh would get “something” for his trouble if she achieved a £32million price when the house was re-developed and sold.

Earlier in the case Mr Lewis said: “It is very unlikely that a person such as Mr Butler-Creagh would give up his position and allow someone to take it over without payment for doing so, so we can safely take it that something must have been agreed.”

The design of Fawley Court was “widely attributed” to Sir Christopher Wren. The gardens were laid out by Capability Brown.

The house functioned for 50 years as a school run by the priests. When it closed in 1986 due to a lack of students of Polish origin, it became a home to the Marian Fathers.

The decision to sell the home led to a fierce backlash from the Polish community, thousands of whom would gather there for an annual Whitsun service.

Last year, Mrs Hersham, who has a home in London’s Eaton Square, pledged to spend the rest of her life restoring the mansion and returning it to use as a home.

She said she would continue to live in London while the renovation work took place but would eventually move in with her partner, Patrick Sieff, and her children.

Before the trial a spokesman for Mrs Hersham called Mr Butler-Creagh’s claims “totally without foundation.”

The hearing, before Mr Justice Eady, continues

 Komitet Obrony Dziedzictwa Narodowego Fawley Court, , e-mail: savefawley@hotmail.com
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