The preservation of the Manor of Bosham, an historic section of Chichester Harbour, has been secured with its purchase by local resident Franck Petitgas.
Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
The sale of the estate – which includes vast sections of Chichester Harbour and its seabed, several freehold buildings including the historic clubhouse of Bosham Sailing Club, and more than 800 boat moorings – brings to an end nearly 100 years of ownership by the Guinness family.
The estate was bought in the 1920s by keen yachtsman Rupert Guinness, 2nd Earl of Iveagh.
New owner Mr Petitgas confirms he will continue the careful stewardship of the Harbour and its historic buildings, running it as a family concern for the long term.
“We are privileged to act as custodians of this beautiful and unique setting,” he said.
“Our paramount aim is to preserve and enhance these environmentally and historically sensitive surroundings, so they can be enjoyed by the Bosham
community and beyond, for many generations to come.”
Mr Petitgas, a keen sailor from an early age, is a long-standing resident of Bosham and member of Bosham Sailing Club.
He is committed to the conservation and environmental balance of Bosham and Chichester harbour, which is designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
He is a former Trustee of the Chichester Harbour Trust, and a Founding Patron of the South Downs Trust.
His wife, Amanda, has worked for a conservation charity for more than fifteen years.
Colin Mayes, Chief Executive of the Burhill Group Ltd, the Guinness family business that sold the estate, said he was gratified that ownership would remain in the community with an owner and family fully sensitive of its preservation needs and historic value.
“I’m delighted we have found an owner committed to the Bosham community and Chichester Harbour, who will serve as a long term faithful steward of this important estate,” said Mr Mayes.
Mr Petitgas acknowledges the vital importance of the estate’s existing partnership with the Chichester Harbour Conservancy.
He and his family also have decided to devote resources to support the Conservancy’s conservation and education initiatives.
Richard Craven, the Director of the Chichester Harbour Conservancy and the Harbour Master, said “We welcome the Petitgas family’s commitment to
conserving the estate and their wider ambition for conservation and education.
“We look forward to developing a strong partnership to advance this, and to continue providing an excellent service to yachtsmen in Bosham.”
In addition to the estate transaction, Bosham Sailing Club will be acquiring its clubhouse and its adjacent dinghy park.
The move is recognition of the importance of sailing to the community, and is coming about following the strong support from many Club members.
Frank McCormack, the Commodore of Bosham Sailing Club, at the heart of the village and the oldest sailing Club in Chichester Harbour, expressed the views of members, saying: “The Club and its members are very grateful to Franck Petitgas, a long standing member and our Bosham neighbour, for creating the opportunity for the Club to take control of its future by acquiring ownership of the properties it uses.”
VailWilliams acted as agent for Burhill.
Ian Froome, specialist marine agent, was lead advisor. Collins Benson Goldhill and Penningtons Manches Cooper acted respectively as solicitors for Mr Petitgas and Burhill Group Ltd whilst Irwin Mitchell represented the Bosham Sailing Club.
Paul Pressland acted as advisor to Mr Petitgas and Nick Stride of Stride and Sons advised Bosham Sailing Club.