An unexpected twist awaits those itching to purchase their very own island tax haven. The agent Knight Frank has mysteriously withdrawn the Channel Island retreat of Herm from the market.
An unexpected twist awaits those itching to purchase their very own island tax haven. The agent Knight Frank has mysteriously withdrawn the Channel Island retreat of Herm from the market, the 40 year lease for which was initially offered at the bargain guide price of £15 million.
What could a UHNW buyer get for this price? Quite a lot, it would seem. Apart from the four-bedroom manor house and a fortified keep that has been converted into three flats, there is a 13th-century chapel, a swimming pool, and ornamental gardens. Beyond the granite wall that surrounds the estate, the buyer gets 80 acres of farmland with a dairy herd.
Although the lease requires that the island must be kept open to visitors, there is nothing to stop the tenant from reducing the tourist facilities, which include the 40-room White House Hotel, eighteen self-catering cottages, some log cabins and apartments, an 80-pitch campsite, two pub restaurants, two beachside cafes, three shops and a post office. During the summer up to 150 staff live and work on Herm, while in the winter months that number dwindles to about 50. A key responsibility for the tenant is to operate at least one ferry a day between Herm and Guernsey, located three miles away.
Of course, the tax advantages of being domiciled in the British Channel Islands are well known. Income tax is only 20 per cent and there are no capital gains taxes or death duties. The billionaire Barclay brothers, who own the Telegraph Media Group and the Ritz Hotel in Piccadilly, bought the island of Brecqhou, off Sark, for £2.33 million in 1993, but that island, though completely private, is considerably smaller and less beautiful than Herm.
If your fantasy includes becoming a feudal squire as well as keeping your tax bill to the minimum, sit tight. Our sources are keeping mum as to how many viewings they have had and whether vetting is required. They promise further developments and lessened secrecy by the end of June.