Jonathan Bramwell, Head of The Buying Solution, reveals how he’d spend his lottery winnings.
Q: You’ve won the lottery! Your wealth advisor has recommended how much you should put away for necessary and important elements such as children’s education, pension, investment and charitable donations. They have allocated £10m of the pot to invest in property. Where would you buy?
A: I think about this quite a lot as very spoilt in having seen some of the best property the country has to offer during my extensive buying and selling career. £10 million would buy me a very nice estate or farm in most parts of the country but, since
childhood, the Cotswolds has run through my veins. The popularity of the region means it is more expensive than many other areas but I wouldn’t really want to live anywhere else.
It’s something about the countryside, which is protected under AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty), the unspoilt villages, the lack of traffic, the darkness at night and the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors – be it walking, cycling or riding. It’s proper countryside and yet there’s variety. The north and the south are very distinct but each are beautiful in different ways. Finally, it’s accessible from London and yet you’ve got Oxford, Cheltenham and Bath – with all their action and cultural opportunities – on the doorstep.
My favourite area of the Cotswolds is that which lies between Stow-on-the-Wold, Northleach, Cheltenham and Broadway. It’s what I regard as the big country of the Cotswolds. There are very few villages, very few cars and a lot of the land is owned by big estates. It’s totally unspoilt and very tranquil.
Q: So, what would you buy?
A: There are two ways that I’d spend the money. It so happens that one of my top 10 favourite Cotswold houses is currently available off-market at the moment so I would spend the money quickly! It has pretty much everything I’d like: enough bedrooms for my four children but, importantly, remains a manageable size and is surrounded by amazing countryside for riding, walking and cycling. Yet, while it’s accessible to the Stow, Burford and Chipping Norton triangle, with all that it has to offer in quality pubs and restaurants, it’s not in the “hot zone” of traffic.
There are cottages which will be useful to bring in extra income through holiday lets – that allows for flexibility when wanting to invite friends and family for the weekend. Further down the line, one would be useful for the grandparents. It also has stables for my eldest son who is passionate about hunting. He’s also keen to go into farming so it has the necessary 40+ acres for horses and his sheep, plus some safe quad biking space. The garden has space for my other son and daughter who are keen footballers. The stable yard has a lovely barn which is perfect for partying and the tennis court and swimming pool would keep everyone busy in the summer. The final icing on the cake is access to two good pubs which are both within a 30 minute walk. To secure this, I would be spending about £6 million.
However, if the right site with 40+ acres became available, I’d definitely scrap the above and build my own house from scratch. I’ve completely changed my views on this. Fifteen years ago, I would have been the diehard period-only buyer but now, having seen some really amazing new builds, I definitely would build using all the ideas and advice gained during my buying career. Finding the right architect and planning advisor wouldn’t be a problem. What’s more, I’d probably opt for something contemporary and light but above all, manageable size. Sadly, these opportunities are like hens teeth in the right spot so I would still be spending a similar figure once found and built with all the necessary extras.
Q: And with the change?
A: Now that I head up The Buying Solution, I need to be in London on a more regular basis so I’d ask our London team to find me a good investment in the Chelsea or Fulham area. Not only would that be close to our office in the Michelin Building but I’d keep two of my children happy who are fanatical Chelsea fans. This would be a lock-up-leave pied-a-terre and I’d be very much guided by the team as to what would make the best solution.
Q: Is that it?
A: By the time I’d got both properties in order, there might not be anything left but in my dream world scenario, I’d love to buy a bolthole on the north Cornish coast, close to Trevose. This would cater to my other passion of surfing and golfing and I’ve been visiting the area since my days at university. It’s an added benefit of living in the Cotswolds: the Cornish coast is only a three-hour drive away.