SARAH Beeny’s plans to create a “mini-Downton Abbey” at her huge farming estate risks angering locals again.
This time the property expert is planning to replace disused barns with five new houses.
The TV star and her artist husband Graham Swift purchased the estate in 2018 for £3 million to move away from urban living into a rural setting.
Their series New Life In The Country has been following the extensive renovation at the 220-acre Somerset farm.
But the mother-of-four's idea to turn it into what’s been billed as a smaller version of Downton Abbey has infuriated local residents and groups along the way.
Now she plans to transform “redundant agricultural barns” into five separate dwellings – three two-beds, one three-bed and a five-bed, which combines two barns.
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The 51-year-old originally won permission in July 2020, but it won’t be finished within the agreed three-year time frame, so they’ve had to reapply.
Their applications to improve the farm include building a new lake and a driveway, but their home has been criticised as a “middle-class monster”, while another complaint hit out at the “construction of a large dwelling with no historical context on a greenfield site in open countryside.”
In January, the property guru sparked uproar in her community with the way she was removing and storing soil to make way for the lake with two parish council objections, while two of her neighbours described the feature as “intolerable”.
Her three-storey, seven-bedroomed house, Sarah admits, isn’t “everyone’s cup of tea, but we like it.”
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Sarah told the Daily Mail: “I’m not sure we set out to build a small Downton Abbey but other people have said that’s what we were trying to create.
“This house is a reflection of all we’ve learnt over the years, but it doesn’t really matter what anyone else says or thinks because they don’t have to live in it.”
Property Ladder host Beeny is already in hot water over a treehouse on the dairy farm.
She built the "alpine winter wonderland" structure without permission so could be forced to tear it down.
The star – who has recently undergone treatment for breast cancer – first applied for retrospective permission in December 2021, with her agent arguing the treehouse is "entirely inconspicuous”, but a decision is yet to be made on it.
Sarah's representative had no comment when approached by The Sun.
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