For the first time, a mountain has been listed as a asset of community value. Blencathra, a Lakeland fell, was listed under the Localism Act by Eden District Council following its meeting on 7 July.
It was nominated by community group Friends of Blencathra, which aims to bring the mountain into community ownership.
This followed the news on 4 July that the mountain had been sold to an unnamed party. Its previous owner, Lord Lowther, the Earl of Lonsdale, put it on the market in May, in a bid to complete payment of an inheritance tax bill.
H&H Land and Property, which is handling the sale, said: “We confirm that our client Lonsdale Settled Estate has instructed us to accept an offer which exceeds the guide price for Blencathra Mountain. The duty of the estate is to accept best value and we are instructed to proceed with a sale based on this offer from an as yet unnamed party.”
Friends of Blencathra said it was not giving up, despite the bid being accepted. In a statement, it said listing the mountain with Eden Council would help buy time and raise funds.
“Contracts have yet to be exchanged, and our legal team are investigating the implications of this,” the statement added. “We hope that we now have a period of time in which to negotiate with the current owners.Very importantly, this gives Friends of Blencathra Ltd access to very significant sources of matched funding.
“Although this successful registration is a massive step forward, we have to point out that it does not mean that we have bought Blencathra.”
As a registered charity, Friends of Blencathra cannot make an initial bid higher than the market value, but it can match any higher offer. It is still accepting donations and pledges via its website.