Strong competition for ex-Judas Priest guitarist's Bridgnorth stately home and golf course
New buyers are being tee-ed up for golf site
About 50 expressions of interest have been made to buy ex-Judas Priest guitarist KK Downing’s stately home and golf course near Bridgnorth which was put up for sale for £10 million.
Heavy metal legend Ken Downing bought Astbury Hall in 1985 and has since developed a top-of-the-range 18-hole course within its grounds, with the ambition of hosting the Open Championship.
But it emerged last month that four of his businesses had been forced into administration and his golf course and estate put up for sale.
Administrators say they have been inundated with interest from about 50 potential buyers, both in the UK and overseas.
Alastair Massey, joint administrator and partner at FRP Advisory, said: “We have received substantive expressions of interest in the Astbury from around 50 parties, resulting in our evaluation of multiple competing offers for the business and assets.
"Buyer interest has been international and we are currently negotiating with a number of competing parties based in both the UK and overseas."
The course and hospitality will stay open during the administration, but is up for sale for £10 million as administrators attempt to maximise returns.
Administrators said the move was because of “tougher economic times within the wider corporate hospitality market” which put pressure on the company’s cash flow.
Mr Massey said: "The Astbury remains popular and we continue to take new bookings for Astbury Hall and the golf course for a range of functions, including corporate golfing events.
"Golfing has been particular popular leading up to and including weekends.
"We shall continue to engage with interested parties in the estate and negotiate with potential new owners, as part of our duties to ensure a long term solution to the business and lands in the interest of creditors.
"The joint administrators will continue to review the ongoing financial position while we remain highly focused on engaging with interested parties."
Mr Downing said he had taken a loan out as he looked to build a hotel, and had been “taken aback” at the lender not being more flexible over repayment.
He still hopes to be able to regain control of the estate and course, but administrators are legally bound to get the best value for creditors from the assets.
The Astbury is an 18-hole championship golf course used by both professionals and amateur golfers and sits within over 300 acres of land belonging to the estate.
Astbury Hall was originally built during the reign of Henry III in the 13th century.
The building was destroyed by fire in 1889, and the present Astbury Hall was rebuilt in 1891.
The Astbury is often hired out for corporate or charity golfing events and can provide catering for up to 60 guests within Astbury Hall’s dining rooms.