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Sarah Beeny's new life in the country

(31 Posts)
varian Wed 02-Dec-20 19:20:28

Sarah Beeny is accused of 'painful citysplaining' by viewers over plan to knock down 'Little House on the Prairie' dairy farm to erect a mansion and build her own forest for 'woodland walks' on New Country Life

I watched this programme and it seemed to me that there was a startling disconnect between the wish to have a muddy boots back to nature country life and the intention to shut down a farm and to build a grandiose imposing imitation neo-classical mini stately home in the middle of a field.

What do you think?

EllanVannin Wed 02-Dec-20 19:40:34

These sort of people make me sick with their grandiose ideas.
The Beckhams with their property " add-ons " which upset the neighbours. Ed Sheeran and his country retreat, again, upsetting surrounding neighbours, building extra monstrosities.

There must be plenty of these mansions for sale dotted around the country without making a hash of something in the middle of a field that's supposed to represent the real thing. Nobody builds like they did centuries ago.

Grannynannywanny Wed 02-Dec-20 19:53:00

I enjoyed her last series when she bought a very run down country mansion and renovated it room by room. Eventually turning it into a wedding venue.

This series started with a final look around that building after they sold it. Considering the slump in the wedding industry in 2020 they got rid of it just in time. Bad luck for the new owners of the 90 roomed mansion.
The new series appears to be a variation on the same theme. They are living in the large farmhouse they’ve just bought and plan to build a country mansion on the land. Then move in and demolish the farmhouse. I watched 2 episodes but found it rather boring.

Missfoodlove Wed 02-Dec-20 20:01:59

Rise Hall (Sarah Beeny’s last project) was my Alma Mater.
The renovation was outstanding, it was a crumbling mess it is now a beautiful venue which has had a positive impact locally.

Her reputation in the area is good, the environment and the local economy was paramount throughout the project.

I see them as a lovely family who will hopefully create a happy home in Somerset.

merlotgran Wed 02-Dec-20 22:49:09

I fail to see why they couldn't just extend the farmhouse and concentrate on building up a business. They clearly don't need to establish a regular income.

As for the mansion? Words fail me.

M0nica Thu 03-Dec-20 06:09:51

I wonder if, in the 18th century, locals complained when rich landowners built all those opulent country houses, that the National Trust, so lovingly conserve, or used to, knocking down all those comfortable 'old manor houses' to do so?

The house Sarah Beeny plans does not appeal to me, but like most of us she has living to earn and once done, and she sells it, which she assuredly will, she will be comfortably off.

Ellianne Thu 03-Dec-20 08:15:39

They obviously have big ideas for the place as an events venue, so they need to build and renovate and change the landscape. I think they are trying to do things as sympathetically as possible. After all the farm hadn't been as a dairy farm for years and there was also planning permission for a new dwelling already granted. They are revitalising the land whilst giving to the environment at the same time.
As an aside, her boys are great fun and join in everything. As M0nica says, she is an entrepreneur and she has a living to earn. School fees for the boys are over £100,000 a year for a start.

Willow73 Thu 03-Dec-20 08:40:07

I agree with you missfoodlove. They are improving the area by building a lovely home for their wonderful boys, trying to build a business which may employ some locals who will have work on their doorstep and improve the environment. The mansions that we all wander round from days gone past are just the same. Live and let live if those that criticise had the money and skills what would they be doing with it? Hats off to them they are living their dream and not hurting anyone else.

eazybee Thu 03-Dec-20 09:51:25

I see this programme as a response to 'Escape to the Chateau', and have no problem with them building a large agreeable looking house in accord with the landscape. It isl clearly part of a business venture and will provide employment for others, as all the old country houses did in their time. I just wish the programme would get move on to the construction and stop wasting time with artistically filmed but unrealistic 'country pursuits' like truffle hunting and fishing in a well-stocked manmade pool.

FannyCornforth Thu 03-Dec-20 09:56:00

EllanVannin tchgrin
Come on, don't sit on the fence, say what you really think...

Brilliant post! Couldn't agree more.

Ellianne Thu 03-Dec-20 10:23:03


EllanVannin tchgrin
Come on, don't sit on the fence, say what you really think...

Brilliant post! Couldn't agree more.

Ark at ee Fanny! Wee'z from the West Country spend a lot of time sitting "on the fence" drinking ZUMMERZET ZYDER!tchgrin

Callistemon Thu 03-Dec-20 10:52:00

varian I haven't seen the Sarah Beeney programme so can't comment about the house and her plans.

However, you might have enjoyed Escape to the Farm with Kate Humble which was on Channel Five recently (still available on catchup I think). She bought an old County Farm and it is being run as a working farm by her tenants and a rural training centre (courses on hold at the moment).
It has saved one of the old County farms which were being sold off and were a good way of allowing young people to get into farming.

trisher Thu 03-Dec-20 10:59:05

Haven't watched it. The concept of the first one was that she was buying a place for her family to live and have a business, of course she wasn't. She's a property developer who actually manages to make money from TV as well. But if she admitted it's just property developing no one would watch.

Ellianne Thu 03-Dec-20 11:15:08

Well Maple has a good enough life, despite the fact she took herself off for a walk up in London. My heart was in my mouth!

I believe Sarah B's father had a stroke recently and she wanted to move nearer to him to help out. Sadly her mother died of breast cancer when she was about 10 I believe.

Greeneyedgirl Thu 03-Dec-20 11:42:47

I quite like Beeny and the programme. Obviously it is a media persona she portrays but she does appear a lovely mum with great kids. They are clearly well off from property developing, which she seems to be good at, and her ecological ideas appear sound. The house they’re developing is not my type, but there’s nothing sacrosanct about keeping all old houses, which were appropriate in their time, but may not be for modern living and the environment. I’m a little jealous if I’m honest 😀

lovebeigecardigans1955 Thu 03-Dec-20 11:55:55

I like Sarah Beeny and have enjoyed many of her previous programmes and I like this one too. She has much experience in the property business and seems to know what she's doing, though I do wonder what will happen in say, twenty years when all the children are grown up and left home when they'll be rattling around in an enormous house. Downsize like the rest of us I expect - and make an interesting series about it.

FlexibleFriend Thu 03-Dec-20 12:00:14

The house they want to demolish isn't worth anything historically it's a 1970's eye sore. They were not well built by any stretch of the imagination. So if her husband wants to pursue his lifelong ambition to design and build his own house and has the funds to do it while employing local labour I can't see anything wrong with that. He has downsized his ambition several times because like most of us he's working with a budget. His budget isn't massive either it's £500 k which they'll no doubt go over but they are trying to keep control of the budget. I don't understand why some people are so down on others realising their dreams. I've enjoyed the program so far although I think it's a bit slow but guess that's to be expected when planning takes forever to get approval even though they'd already done so much for the environment they still wanted more. They sold their previously owned much extended and improved home to pay for this lifestyle change and as the previous property was in London it obviously sold for far more than the £500k they budgeted for the new one. Good luck to them I like Sarah and her Husband seems a very affable geezer too.

FarNorth Thu 03-Dec-20 12:04:56

School fees for the boys are over £100,000 a year for a start.

And we all know what it's like scraping those up, don't we. confused

Lillie Thu 03-Dec-20 12:12:22

Employing local labour is key. Unlike Dick Strawbridgeworth at the chateau who brings all his British workers over to France to work on the place.

Missfoodlove Thu 03-Dec-20 13:28:41

Trudged, The Rise Hall project was always a second home for the family. Their base was always in London.
They were here a lot and really supported local businesses and tradespeople.
Rise is a fabulous house but came with very little land so was not of great appeal to many buyers.
When I was a pupil there in the 70’s it was a wreck and by the time the family purchased it the place was a ruin.
It was a huge boost to the locally economy and will continue to be so when the events industry takes off again.

Missfoodlove Thu 03-Dec-20 13:29:10

Trudged????? Trisher🤔

Grannynannywanny Thu 03-Dec-20 13:36:34

In the first episode of this series they visited Rise Hall for a final look round. They did a beautiful renovation job on the crumbling building.

They took a last look in the boiler room. It costs £250 a day to heat the 90 room building!

Yikes, the winter fuel allowance would be gone by teatime!!

trisher Thu 03-Dec-20 15:44:26

Missfoodlove it's interesting isn't it. She claimed to have saved Rise Hall from being demolished and converted to flats, but it is a listed building. When she started development she had to apply for retrospective planning permission and put in fire safety requirements, she claimed at the time it was to be a domestic building. It was none of those things. With someone less experienced you might believe she just didn't know what she was doing but she has been property developing for a long time. It is strange to think that what is now very much a white elephant might have been converted into flats where people could be living. I'm afraid I think she is an astute business woman who says anything and does anything to make a profit.

varian Thu 03-Dec-20 17:19:01

She also intends to convert some of the modern agricultural buildings on the farm to five houses.

At one time there were very strict conditions for barn conversions, which were usually only permitted where the barn was old and traditionally built but recent changes to the planning laws now allow conversion without the need for a planning application.

eazybee Thu 03-Dec-20 18:16:56

So five homes will be provided instead of a defunct agricultural barn; sounds good use of the space to me.

And I wonder what is wrong with being an astute business woman?