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Hawthorn House is coming home

A Grade II listed Birmingham building at the centre of local fears for its future has been sold for double the guide price.

Hawthorn House, on Hamstead Hall Road, Handsworth Wood, is now set to return to its roots as a family home following the Bigwood auction at Aston Villa Football Club.

It had been feared it could be purchased for commercial development or alternatively as a mosque or Sikh temple despite a restriction that it could not be used for religious worship.

Instead it has been bought by Harkamal Sandhu, his wife Kiranjit, his father Jaswant Sandhu and his father-in-law Guljinderpal Singh Kandola as their own residence.

Mr Sandhu said: “We have been living in the Handsworth Wood area for more than 20 years and we wanted to keep this site away from commercial development.

“The property will be residential – we have bought it as our own personal home.”

Both Mr Sandhu and his wife are chartered accountants.

The imposing 19th Century building, put up for sale by Birmingham City Council, has latterly been used as offices but was originally residential.

It had a guide price of £350,000 to £400,000.

After a tentative start, bidding was furious and continued until the hammer of Bigwood managing director Rory Daly came down at £775,000.

He said: “The auction room was packed and we were very pleased the way this, the first lot of the day, went.

“There had been considerable interest in Hawthorn House and we had expected some keen bidding. But this was a very good result.”

And the outcome was despite the building being billed in the catalogue as in need of upgrading and modernisation.

The imposing property is set in 2.5 acres of grounds and comprises six reception rooms, kitchen and stores on the ground floor, nine rooms and two kitchens on the first floor and three more rooms and a kitchen on the second floor.