A Dragon's Den web-entrepreneur offers her "lifestyle" 200-year old County Durham farm for sale.
Car leasing boss, Ling Valentine, 45, who turned down Dragon Duncan Bannatyne's offer of investment took drastic business measures when the Covid-19 pandemic struck. As car dealers up and down the country were forced to close, Ling grasped the nettle.
"I refused to let the lockdown bleed my car leasing business LINGsCARS dry", she said.
Ling immediately took drastic action.
"It looked like I needed to raise cash" she says. "I concentrated on my customers and my staff, when other businesses were closing shop. In fact, I never stopped selling cars".
One obvious asset was Ling's farm, a carefully renovated ex-cattle farm sitting in North County Durham.
"We're over the worst of the immediate virus cash problems now," says Ling, "The Government came up trumps but I still fancy a change of lifestyle, so I decided my Farm must go".
This recently renovated and extended former farmhouse combines luxury with a rural lifestyle and has extensive facilities for those looking for an equestrian property.
The seven-acre Pelton Grange Farm is located on the outskirts of the village of Grange Villa, Chester Le Street, County Durham. The house, buildings and immediate surrounding areas measure over 2 acres with an additional 5 acres of grassland, located adjacent to the gardens on the east side. Pelton Grange Farm is offered for sale with a guide price of £950,000, through the Durham office of H&H Land & Estates.
This spacious property has been impressively renovated with 5 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms and the addition of a sauna and cinema room. Finished to a high specification and beautifully decorated, the farmhouse has many unique design features such as a spacious open plan kitchen-diner with central double-sided open fireplace and a large living room, complete with vaulted ceiling and exposed timber beams. For practicality there are the all-important boot, drying and utility rooms and for the added bit of luxury, the cinema room and sauna are a sight to behold. "I tore it down to the four walls, and completely rebuilt the farmhouse" says Ling. "It cost me a fortune".
There is also the opportunity for the discerning investor to add further value with planning permission in place for a large, two storey office extension and a separate double detached garage with craft workspace above. The current disused stable building could also be reinstated as a 6-horse stone-built stable block. All the services for the stable block-cum office (gas, electric, water, telecoms) have been pre-installed.
Ling even obtained a successful planning pre-application to use the field to develop an upmarket campsite to take advantage of local demand (her farm is close to the Beamish Museum and the coast-to-coast cycle path).
Outside the farmhouse there are beautiful private gardens including several patios and lawned and paved areas and large ponds, with 16 fruit trees, and a lovely stream (Blindy Burn) winding through the property.
"I've got a JCB, so the landscaping was fun. Digging ponds was my favourite. It's attracted birds like woodpeckers and herons, ducks, frogs, and even some deer. I concentrated on the environmental and habitat benefits, as I have a Masters in Environmental Quality" says Ling.
The gardens and orchard are surrounded by a private fenced mature woodland, as well as large agricultural building offering enormous storage space, and a big cedar framed greenhouse next to a large fenced growing area with raised beds. The 5-acre field is used as a dog-walking track for Ling's German Shepherd, Roxy... but would also suit horses, alpacas or even feral children. To the rear aspect, Ling's farm backs onto a popular local golf course.
This really is no ordinary rural property, as Helen Forbes Senior Sales Adviser for H&H Land & Estates explains:
"This lifestyle farm has been beautifully renovated, and benefits from extensive land, outbuildings and further development potential. Properties like this very rarely come to the market and as many prospective purchasers are looking for rural lifestyle properties, we expect considerable interest."
Stricter guidelines are in place for viewings at this time. However, Helen encourages interested parties to review the comprehensive particulars on the company website: https://www.hhlandestates.co.uk/properties/DUR200012
Helen concludes: "During the last few weeks we have been encouraged by the amount of enquiries we are experiencing across the board given the pandemic. We would encourage anyone interested in one of our properties at this time, or indeed considering selling their current property, to get in touch because we are very much open for business, even if that business has to be conducted differently for now and under government guidelines."
Ling says, "I'll be sad to see my farm go, but I've got big plans for the future. The pandemic gave me a kick, and now I'm massively looking forward. My business is secure, and someone's going to pick up a gorgeous family property, an adventure playground for adults and kids, in fact.
I've already spent far more than I should have on my Farm, so it's a bargain for the right person, especially someone who enjoys nature." She adds "The only thing missing is a swimming pool, but get real: this is County Durham, not County Del Sol!"