French energy company EDF Energy has bought the UK’s only desert. It has exchanged contracts on the Dungeness Estate after it went on sale for £1.5 million in August. The 468-acre estate is designated as a National Nature Reserve, a Special Area of Conservation and a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
It said it wants to continue to work with the local community to manage the unique landscape, which has been used as a location for numerous films and music videos. The site had been owned by the Paine family trust since 1964 but was put on the open market by Strutt and Parker last year. The contract includes the freeholds for 22 chalet homes, which are subject to 99-year leases.
Maurice Ede, trustee for the estate, said:
“After the decision was made to sell the estate it was important the purchaser would have the ability, track record and correct intentions of maintaining an estate such as this and we are very happy to be passing that responsibility to EDF Energy.”
However, the sale does not cover the area’s two lighthouses, the Pilot pub, Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway station or the neighbouring RSPB reserve.