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February 22, 2024
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Heartbroken family forced to sell £9m home in Sandbanks to pay seven figure inheritance tax bill after owning the idyllic property for 80 years


  • EXCLUSIVE: Bailey family have to sell the seaside house to cover £3m tax bill 
  • Home was first bought by their father Oswald Bailey for £7,000 back in 1945
  • Family said sale as ‘very sad’ and believe a buyer will probably demolish home



A family has told how they will be forced to sell an idyllic seaside house in the millionaire’s playground of Sandbanks, Dorset – after being hit with a £3million inheritance tax bill.

The property on Panorama Road on the peninsula overlooking Poole Harbour has been in the Bailey family for nearly 80 years, but will almost certainly now be demolished to make way for a modern house.

It was originally built for a local doctor in 1918 and then bought by Oswald Bailey, a British camping entrepreneur in 1945, paying £7,000 for it. Now it is on the market for £9 million.

At the time Sandbanks was a sandy strip with ramshackle, mostly wooden, houses and a world away from the exclusive property hotspot it is today.

Today the resort has become Britain’s version of Miami Beach, and the 105-year-old house has risen in value by 1,200 times more than what was paid for it.

The property on Panorama Road in Sandbanks overlooking Poole Harbour has been in the Bailey family for nearly 80 years
Oswald Bailey, a British camping entrepreneur, paid £7,000 for the seaside property (ringed) in 1945 – but now it is on the market for £9 million

Mr Bailey left the property to son, Frank, in 1949. He and his wife Lalage raised their four children – Stephen, Hilary, Alison and Nicola – there.

For as long as they had it Frank and Lalage had no intention of selling up speculative property developers.

Frank, a former managing director of Oswald Bailey, died in 2005 while Lalage passed away peacefully in a room facing the sea six years ago.

The four siblings then naturally inherited the old-fashioned, three storey property.

But reluctantly they now have no choice but to sell it after being left with a seven-figure inheritance tax bill.

Under inheritance tax rules, an estate which has passed to children is exempt from tax for the first £500,000, but everything above that is usually subject to a 40 per cent levy, which if HMRC agree with the £9m valuation, would mean a bill of more than £3 million for the family.

The family could have minimised their inheritance tax bill if their parents had passed on their wealth before they had passed away, so that it was exempt using the seven-year rule. 

It is currently on the market for the first time in eight decades and the family accept that whoever does buy it will most likely demolish it and build an ultra-modern, luxury mansion in its place.

Stephen, 68, said: ‘We have never had any money out of the house because the home has always been the important thing, not the money. But inheritance tax is driving the sale now.

The house has a kitchen, dining room, sitting room and study on the ground floor, four bedrooms with two bathrooms and a separate kitchen on the first floor and an two-bed apartment with a bathroom and kitchen
Today Sandbanks has become Britain’s version of Miami Beach, and the 105-year-old house (pictured, centre) has risen in value by 1,200 times more than what was paid for it
The house (ringed) has its own jetty and boasts stunning views overlooking Poole Harbour
Pictured: The property’s private jetty where buyers can launch their own boats

‘It is very sad but we have accepted it now. It will obviously be a wrench for all of us, especially my two sisters who live there.

‘We realise that there is a very good chance the house will be demolished. I’m not crying “poor little me” by any means, it’s just one of those things.

‘I am philosophical about what will happen to it but one of my sisters is opposed to it being knocked down and rebuilt.’

Stephen, who is still a director of the family firm Outdoorgear UK Ltd, now part of the Millets empire, recalled the happy times spent at the house.

‘We all grew up there, it was the most wonderful place to grow up in.

‘The sea was at the bottom of our garden and we used to row across to Brownsea Island, about a quarter of a mile away, to have adventures there.

‘When they were a bit older, my sisters swam there.

‘My father had a 45ft motor boat and moored it in the harbour and he would just take us off to France in it.

‘We knew Sandbanks was getting expensive when the house next door sold over 20 years ago for over £1m. Within two years it sold again for £3m.’

The house in its current form has a kitchen/breakfast room, dining room, sitting room and study on the ground floor, four bedrooms with two bathrooms and a separate kitchen on the first floor and an apartment consisting of two more bedrooms, a bathroom and kitchen.

At the back of the property there is a split level large garden, with a lawn and terrace area and steps leading down to the waterside lawn
Pictured: The property’s garden looking out onto Poole Harbour and features a patio and lawn
Pictured: Stephen Bailey and his sisters Nicola and Alison overlooking the harbour from the top of the property’s private jetty
At the time Oswald Bailey bought the property Sandbanks was a sandy strip with ramshackle, mostly wooden, houses (pictured, the home in 1956)

The property is screened by trees from the main road at the front. At the back there is a split level large garden, with a lawn and terrace area and steps leading down to the waterside lawn. It also has its own private jetty jutting out into Poole Harbour.

The family is hiring an architect and will apply for outline planning permission for demolition of the house and replacement with a more modern living space.

Mr Bailey said he had been surprised to see MailOnline’s exclusive story about head-hunting tycoon Tom Glanfield, who bought a £13.5 million seafront chalet bungalow, only to have his application to demolish it and build an eco-home refused by the local council.

Mr Bailey said: ‘That’s a scandal. I thought that was so sad because it seemed to be a very eco-friendly place and some of the place that are built around here are really ugly white boxes.

‘Who’s got their priorities wrong here when you have a chap who was keeping most of the trees, showing respect to wildlife and putting a green roof on the house and he gets refused?

‘It looked like a lovely house that was going to replace what’s there at the moment, whereas there are some people putting up these ugly square boxes.’

Once built a new modern mansion on the same plot is likely to be worth about £13m.



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