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Gary Neville’s former mansion with ‘Beckham suite’ on sale for £3m

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Gary Neville‘s former mansion with an infinity pool, tennis court and ‘Beckham suite’ where his fellow Manchester United star lived around 1999 has gone on sale. 

Estate agent PLM Sales has asked for a price on application (POA), however the luxurious 35-acre property has previously been valued at around £3million.

Manchester United player Gary Neville converted a barn into the plush mansion in 1999 – the same year the Red Devils won the treble.

Part of the four-bedroom house, which has its own mini five-hole golf course in the grounds, is known as the Beckham Suite, as David, 45, lived there for a year when his wife Victoria, 46, was away.

Neville moved out of the house in Bolton, Lancashire, in 2003, but still owns land nearby where he tried to build his Teletubby-style eco house. 

The entrance hallway of the four-bedroom mansion in Bolton, Lancashire, with two wooden figures seen bearing the Manchester United and England crests. Estate agent PLM Sales has asked for a price on application (POA), however the 35-acre property has previously been valued at around £3million

The entrance hallway of the four-bedroom mansion in Bolton, Lancashire, with two wooden figures seen bearing the Manchester United and England crests. Estate agent PLM Sales has asked for a price on application (POA), however the 35-acre property has previously been valued at around £3million

The swanky infinity pool, which measures 12.5m by 7.5m and has a whirlpool which fits up to eight. Gary Neville moved out of the house in Bolton, Lancashire, in 2003, but still owns land nearby where he tried to build his Teletubby-style eco house

The swanky infinity pool, which measures 12.5m by 7.5m and has a whirlpool which fits up to eight. Gary Neville moved out of the house in Bolton, Lancashire, in 2003, but still owns land nearby where he tried to build his Teletubby-style eco house

A jacuzzi, sauna and steam room are also located on the first floor. Part of the four-bedroom house is known as the Beckham Suite, as David, 45, lived there for a year when his wife Victoria, 46, was away

A jacuzzi, sauna and steam room are also located on the first floor. Part of the four-bedroom house is known as the Beckham Suite, as David, 45, lived there for a year when his wife Victoria, 46, was away

In an interview, Gary admitted that while Becks was staying the former England captain would do all the cooking.

He told The Guardian in 2014: ‘I roomed with David Beckham and when I had my house in Bolton, David would stay when Victoria was away, and he’d make food for me all the time. 

‘Stir-fries with noodles and vegetables and pasta dishes with sauces – a lot of pasta.’

In the 2000 documentary ‘The Real David Beckham’, Becks is filmed cooking in the mansion’s kitchen and saying: ‘We’re totally different.  

‘Gary would rather go home and have a quiet night in whereas I’d rather be dashing about the Trafford centre or Tesco’s.’

When asked if his home is a ‘refuge’ and whether other players stay there, Gary says: ‘No, nobody stays here, just him.’

The property’s illustrious history is on show as soon as buyers walk through the door, with two wooden carved lions on the stairway bearing the Manchester United and England crests. 

The 9,900 square foot mansion has £1million worth of furnishings from bespoke British designer Clive Christian. 

Beckham and Neville looking on from the crowd during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 second leg match in Paris in 2018. In an interview, Gary admitted that while Becks was staying the former England captain would do all the cooking

Beckham and Neville looking on from the crowd during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 second leg match in Paris in 2018. In an interview, Gary admitted that while Becks was staying the former England captain would do all the cooking

The exterior of the converted barn. Marilena Manfredi, of PLM Sales, said: 'Situated within its own private, gated grounds offering over 9,900 square feet of well proportioned, flexible accommodation affording the elegance and sheer decadence often sought after but seldom found'

The exterior of the converted barn. Marilena Manfredi, of PLM Sales, said: ‘Situated within its own private, gated grounds offering over 9,900 square feet of well proportioned, flexible accommodation affording the elegance and sheer decadence often sought after but seldom found’

David Beckham: ‘Gary would rather have a quiet night in whereas I’d rather be dashing around Tesco’

In the 2000 documentary ‘The Real David Beckham’, Becks is filmed cooking in the mansion’s kitchen and saying: ‘We’re totally different.

‘Gary would rather go home and have a quiet night in whereas I’d rather be dashing about the Trafford centre or Tesco’s.’

In the footage, Becks is then heard asking for the whereabouts of a wooden spoon, with Gary unable to find one.

The camera operator asks ‘are you very familiar with your kitchen Gary?’, to which he replies: ‘No not really. It’ll be the only kitchen in the world without a wooden spoon.’

Beckham then comments: ‘We used to share rooms when we used to go away with the teams. 

‘It got to the point where Gary was going to bed at 9pm/9.30pm and I was watching the TV still on the phone to Victoria at 11.30pm/12am. 

‘Then he’d be up at 7am and I’d want to lie in until 10am/11am. So it didn’t really work out. Like an old married couple.’

While cooking, he jokes: ‘I don’t just come around to cook for you. I’m staying here, that’s why I’m cooking.’ 

Gary adds: ‘If Victoria goes away then I ask him to stay. He’s stayed about three or four times now for about a week. 

‘Although you did stay with Victoria once for a couple of weeks. And Brooklyn yeah.’

While laughing he says: ‘It’s always Brooklyn with her now!’

When asked if his home is a ‘refuge’ and whether other players stay there, Gary says: ‘No, nobody stays here, just him.’

The house has an integrated sound and music system, and residents can talk to anyone in a different room via an intercom.

It also has a £60,000 bar in a fully equipped entertainment room, which includes disco strobe lighting, karaoke equipment and a 6ft projector screen.

The swanky infinity pool is 12.5m by 7.5m and has a whirlpool which fits up to eight.

The security system is fit for celebrities such as David and Victoria Beckham, with all of the windows bulletproof alongside a full, remotely-monitored CCTV system. 

The bedrooms all have walk-in wardrobes and en-suites, while the master has its own special steam room. 

The plush gardens boast a golf course and tennis court in addition to 20 acres of farmland which are prime for grazing livestock. The double garage is big enough for the swanky supercars favoured by footballers.

Marilena Manfredi, of PLM Sales, said: ‘Meadow Barn is undoubtedly one of Bolton’s most elite residences occupying a private, secluded position in approximately 35 acres.

‘The house has undergone a comprehensive programme of modernisation whilst retaining many original period features.

‘Individually designed and tastefully presented throughout creating a breath-taking and luxurious home.

‘This four-bedroom home offers exceptional accommodation with six receptions, all bedrooms are equipped with walk-in wardrobes, swimming pool with jacuzzi, sauna and steam room on the first floor.

‘In addition there is a games room housing a snooker table and integrated bar with full sound and light system and cinema projection.

‘The extensive landscaped gardens enjoys open aspects further complimenting this appealing residence and sits within 35 acres of gardens, a four hole floodlit golf course and open hard tennis court.

‘Situated within its own private, gated grounds offering over 9,900 square feet of well proportioned, flexible accommodation affording the elegance and sheer decadence often sought after but seldom found.

‘The vendors with meticulous attention to detail and no expense spared have created this enviable family home.’

Neville made 602 appearances for Manchester United and won 85 England caps. He still lives near Manchester with wife Emma Hadfield and their two daughters.

The Mancunian still works with Becks, as the stars and their former teammates Nicky Butt, Phil Neville and Ryan Giggs are part owners of League Two outfit Salford City.

Neville is also a well-known pundit and commentator on Sky Sports. The right-back won the Premier League eight times, the FA Cup three times and the Champions League.

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Courts Service contradicts Garda declaration journalists were barred from court

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The Courts Service has openly contradicted An Garda Síochána’s declaration that journalists were barred from a court sitting in Waterford earlier this month on the orders of a district justice.

Former Fianna Fáil election candidate Kieran Hartley appeared before Judge Brian O’Shea at Dungarvan District Court on October 13th on a Section 6 public order charge for allegedly committing an offence against a family member of a local garda.

Journalists Eoghan Dalton and Christy Parker were barred for more than three hours from entering the court chamber by two gardaí, who said they had been told the judge had directed that no press be allowed in.

The decision to bar the press – the second time that this has happened to a court hearing where Judge O’Shea was sitting following an incident at a Dublin hearing in 2017 – has now been raised with Garda management.

During exchanges with the reporters, who questioned the decision, one garda said “no one is allowed in this morning”, and while they “honestly” did not “know any details of it” they had been “directed by the court to not allow anyone into it”.

The Garda Press Office later that day insisted “the presiding judge had directed that the court be cleared of persons not involved in the case” as a “voir dire” was in operation.

A voir dire normally occurs when a judge seeks to determine an issue in the course of a trial rather than in advance of one, and very rarely applies at District Court level. Journalists may witness proceedings but not report the details.

Direction

Questioned later, however, the press office said: “The court garda cleared the court as requested by the judge”, and that “it is understood that members of the media who so arrived after that point were inadvertently prevented from accessing the courtroom”.

The Courts Service on Friday said: “At no stage did Judge O’Shea or Courts Service officials issue a direction that the case should be held otherwise than in public”.

“The court sitting at Dungarvan District Court on Wednesday, October 13th, was a public hearing. It involved the hearing of certain arguments in a case, before the ‘substantive’ matter might be heard at another time,” the spokesman said.

“In the absence of an order the law requires that the proceedings take place in public: we are committed to that principle. The alleged actions of gardaí in not allowing access to some media is a matter for Garda management.

“These issues have been raised with Garda management,” said the Courts Service, which is understood to have checked its own records carefully ahead of making its public statement.

When the case came to court on September 22nd, solicitor Paddy Gordon, acting for defence solicitor Frank Buttimer, questioned the legitimacy of statements presented by An Garda Síochána. Mr Gordon claimed they were “not our statements and we want them examined forensically”.

Deferring the matter to the October 13th sitting of Dungarvan District Court, Judge O’Shea instructed that investigating Garda Tom Daly be present, along with his notebook and all original statements.

The judge also asked that Tramore District Superintendent Paul O’Driscoll attend the hearing, which would commence at 10am prior to the main court business.

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Mr Hartley unsuccessfully contested the 2014 European elections as Fianna Fáil’s Ireland South candidate. He resigned from the party acrimoniously in 2018 following his criticism of its handling of matters related to convicted paedophile Bill Kenneally, whose cousin Brendan was a former Fianna Fáil junior minister.

Judge O’Shea did not issue a written verdict on the present case against Mr Hartley, but it is understood the Garda testaments will stand as presented when it is heard.

Mr Buttimer said he was “not in a position to comment at present”.

Sinn Féin’s justice spokesman Martin Kenny said it was “highly unusual” and that he would be writing to Garda headquarters seeking an explanation. “Justice has to be seen to be done as well as being done, and I find it quite alarming that we’d be in this situation.”

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Darlington is cheapest for homes, London’s Kensington most expensive

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We all know about the North-South divide. We all know about the Prime Minister’s attempt at ‘levelling up’. We all know about the crumbling Red Wall.

But when it comes to property, the facts of the matter tell their own story. According to Churchill Home Insurance, Darlington in County Durham is the cheapest place to buy a property in the country, at just £58 per square foot.

Which is staggering when you compare it to the most expensive — Kensington in central London, where the average price per square foot stands at £1,721. 

Imposing: The Clock Tower in Darlington, County Durham - the cheapest place to buy a property in the country, at just £58 per square foot

Imposing: The Clock Tower in Darlington, County Durham – the cheapest place to buy a property in the country, at just £58 per square foot

Music giants Robbie Williams and Eric Clapton have homes in this exclusive royal borough home, as do entrepreneurs Sir Richard Branson and Sir James Dyson.

But here’s the twist: anyone looking to take advantage of Darlington’s prices might have to move fast because there are plans to turn this market town into the hottest property in the north.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is opening up a smart new division of the Treasury there over the next five years, moving about a quarter of the department. 

That’s about 400 people, many of whom will be local recruits. ‘We’re giving talented people in the North-East the opportunity to work in the heart of Government, making decisions on important issues for our country,’ explains Sunak.

So what are the draws of these polar-opposite locations?

Kensington is one of the crown jewels of London neighbourhoods featuring not just top museums but also a host of chic cafes, boutique shops, and even Kensington Palace, where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge live with their children.

There are three Zone 1 underground stations and several independent schools, and you’re a stroll away from the West End. 

Upmarket: A terrace in Kensington, London, where the average price per square foot stands at £1,721

Upmarket: A terrace in Kensington, London, where the average price per square foot stands at £1,721

Top restaurants include Daphne’s and Launceston Place — both favourites of the late Princess Diana — and the iconic Bibendum with two Michelin stars.

There’s no surprises when it comes to property values in this area; they’re stellar. The cheapest property in Kensington for sale on Rightmove in the middle of October was priced at £40,000 and that was just a space in a car park. 

The most expensive listing, by contrast, was a seven- bedroom semi, with an eye-watering asking price of £30 million.

Of just over 510 property sales in the past year, the average price was a slightly more modest £2,169,235, according to Zoopla, but that’s after prices took a 4 per cent knock as fewer people bought in London during the pandemic.

It’s a different story in Darlington, which has a modest average property price of £172,724, according to Zoopla. 

But things are changing; there have been more than 1,600 property sales in the past 12 months and prices have gently risen 4.5 per cent. The most expensive home on sale is a four-bedroom detached house with grounds, for £700,000.

However that’s still an exception, with many more at the other end of the scale, where there are several two-bedroom terrace houses for sale at £45,000.

If you’re moving in, bone up on railway history — the world’s first steam train service began here almost 200 years ago. 

Otherwise, look out for a twice-weekly street market, the revamped Hippodrome theatre and the odd tribute to comic Vic Reeves and businessman Duncan Bannatyne, both brought up in the town.

Darlington is brimming with well-preserved Victorian buildings while you can stroll in the beautiful South Park. If you’re after the best of local food, the two-Michelin starred Raby Hunt Restaurant is the place to go.

The town has the buzz of a place on the move — there are modernisations under way at both the railway station (2 ½ hours to London, 30 minutes to Newcastle) and the indoor market.

Meanwhile, Rishi Sunak’s Treasury initiative is already putting Darlington on the map. ‘I know of several people from London who have moved here thanks to working remotely,’ says estate agent Henry Carver of Carver Residential. 

On the market: North-South divide 

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Facebook admits high-profile users are treated differently

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Facebook’s oversight board said the social media company hadn’t been “fully forthcoming” about internal rules that allowed some high-profile users to be exempt from content restrictions and said it will make recommendations on how to change the system.

In the first of its quarterly transparency reports published Thursday, the board said that on some occasions, Facebook “failed to provide relevant information to the board,” and in other instances the information it did provide was incomplete.

For example, when Facebook referred the case involving former US president Donald Trump to the board, it didn’t mention its internal “cross-check system” that allowed for a different set of rules for high-profile users.

Facebook only mentioned cross-check, or XCheck, to the board when asked whether Trump’s page or account had been subject to ordinary content moderation processes.

The cross-check system was disclosed in recent reporting by the Wall Street Journal, based in part on documents from a whistle-blower.

The journal described how the cross-check system, originally intended to be a quality-control measure for a select few high-profile users and designed to avoid public relations backlash over famous people who mistakenly have their posts taken down, had ballooned to include millions of accounts.

The oversight board said it will undertake a review of the cross-check system and make suggestions on how to improve it.

As part of the process, Facebook has agreed to share with the board relevant documents about the cross-check system as reported in the Wall Street Journal. – Bloomberg

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