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Staycation trend sparks new venture for Powys property entrepreneurs

A husband and wife team of property entrepreneurs have launched a new venture to capitalise on the trend for holidaying in the UK, with support from Lloyds Bank.

Bob and Margaret Pownall, who are based in Powys, already have a successful commercial and residential property portfolio, with more than 20 properties in Greater Manchester and Cheshire.

Now, inspired by the upturn in the number of Brits choosing to staycation in the UK, they have launched RFP Lettings with the acquisition of an historic 17th century farmhouse in Knockin, Shropshire, along with two cottages.

The seven-bedroom, grade two listed Top Farm House includes a grand piano in the lounge and is further complemented by the one bed Top Farm Cottage and two bed Top Farm Lodge.

Bob and Margaret oversaw the refurbishment of the properties, which have been transformed by a £750,000 investment.

The holiday lets have already proved extremely popular with holidaymakers and are fully booked for months ahead, with lettings offered via rental agency Sykes Holiday Cottages.

The duo plan to offer the site as a wedding venue, working with local suppliers and using a marquee to host as many as 200 people.

Margaret said: “We believe that the trend for staycations will last after the pandemic is over and we realised that now was the time to invest.

“Top Farm House is in a beautiful, tranquil location, with amazing views of the mountains and the Shropshire plains.

“But the area remains relatively undiscovered, even though it is centrally located and easily accessible from cities including Liverpool and Birmingham.

“There’s clearly a lot of pent up demand from Brits who have missed their holidays and we are already looking for new opportunities to invest in high quality holiday lets, potentially in the Snowdonia National Park.”

The new venture was supported with a £646,000 term loan from Lloyds Bank.

Numan Rezaul, relationship manager at Lloyds Bank, said: “Travel restrictions mean many Brits have been looking closer to home for holiday destinations and they are rediscovering what the UK has to offer.

“Bob and Margaret have found a really distinctive, high quality property to launch their new venture and, with their experience in the property sector, I am sure RFP Lettings will go from strength to strength.

“Lloyds Bank is working closely with business customers right across the UK to guide them through this challenges and opportunities as we emerge from the pandemic and help them access the support that’s available.”