The farmer who caused outrage in her village after offering her two acre plot of land for free to travellers to upset locals has sold the £350,000 plot to a mystery buyer.
Linda Watson, 48, has made a deal to sell land in Kirtling, Cambridgeshire, which she has owned for the last 17 years.
She decided to try and infuriate her neighbours after she was refused planning permission to build a house on her smallholding on the edge of the village.
In revenge on her ‘unsupportive’ fellow villagers, who she said were ‘up their own a****’, she handed it over to travellers to live on free of charge – if they ‘ruined’ the area.
Linda Watson was refused planning permission to build a house on her smallholding on the edge of the village
A group of travellers arrived at the site after Ms Watson said that they could live there for free
Ms Watson was confronted by villagers outside her home after offering travellers her land to annoy locals
Speaking from her home today she revealed that she has finally sold the land but admitted the bitter battle some of the 300 local residents will ‘get seriously messy’.
She said: ‘A deal was been made to sell the land at 9 am this morning. I have a meeting to see the solicitors on Friday.
‘I can’t disclose the details of who it is without their permission.’
Villagers were up in arms when they heard of her offer to sell to the traveller groups and confronted her in her driveway yesterday.
After announcing the sale, she said: ‘I think it’s going to get seriously messy and this is going to go on for a long time. It’s not over.’
While Ms Watson would not disclose the price of the purchase, the land was valued at £350,000 more than four years ago, and she has spent around £80,000 renovating it.
She said: ‘The land was valued around four to five years ago at £350,000 by estate agents in Newmarket but a lot has been done to the land since then so it is worth a lot more. I can’t disclose how much more.
When I bought it the place was a complete mess, it was a pig sty. I’ve spent a lot of money making it look nice and building up a business for myself.
‘This was an investment for my daughter and I work really hard to do the best I can.’
After Ms Watson advertised that the land was free to live on, travellers started turning up in their droves.
Linda Watson (pictured) says she wants travellers to take over her plot in Kirtling, near Newmarket in the hope it will create ‘s*** for the village’
Mrs Watson, 48, said yesterday she would be the ‘happiest woman going’ if travellers took up her offer to stay on her two-and-a-half acres (pictured on a plan)
This is a wide view of Kirtling, a village near Newmarket, in the Cambridgeshire countryside
They started queuing outside the smart gates of the Coedendderw Stud, which she has run as a rehabilitation centre for horses for the past seven years.
There was so much interest, she and her second husband, Mark, 50, a self-employed builder, had to shut the gate because so many turned up to lay claim to the land.
She added: ‘Some were from Ireland. One group turned up at 4pm and said details had been shared between 32 Facebook traveller sites.’
Yesterday she revealed she had received several offers to buy the land and has now accepted a bid.
It was then that her neighbours started fighting back.
Tom and Karen McNaughton, who live just down the road, rallied fellow villagers to take action against her and ‘block off her driveway and protest’.
Tom and Karen McNauthton, who live a short distance from her small-holding, believe the village should get together and ‘block off her driveway and protest’
Karen, 57, said: ‘We should get the whole village down there to stand in the front of her gates. The village wants nothing to do with it.’
Linda, who has lived in a caravan onsite since splitting from her first husband in 2010, has never really gelled with the local community and described them as being ‘snobby, gossipy and two-faced and nosy.’
Yesterday she revealed that her decision to welcome travellers was mainly down to her long-running dispute with her wealthy – and famous – next-door neighbours.
She claimed that renowned horse-trainer Lynda Ramsden, 67, and her stockbroker-turned-gambler husband Jack, 75, had terrified her own horses by allowing a helicopter to land on the lawn of their home.
To add insult to injury, she claims that the Ramsdens had been allowed to extend their house after they bought it three years ago, while another neighbour was given permission to build a three-bedroom bungalow in their garden.
Yet her applications to build a bungalow on her land in order, she says, to improve her business and living conditions were routinely turned down.
Planning records show that the Ramsdens – who yesterday declined to comment – wrote to the council in June last year to ‘express concern’ that Linda’s venture wasn’t ‘of sufficient size to allow for a financially viable business’ and it would ‘struggle to produce a long-term profit sufficient to demonstrate it could afford to construct a dwelling based on its income’.
Linda was furious and added: ‘I only wanted to build a two or three bedroom bungalow.
‘We didn’t want a mansion – just somewhere to live after all those years in a caravan.’
Ms Watson had applied to build a small house on the land but says she is moving abroad after it was refused by the council
Linda has lived in a mobile home (pictured) on the land for seven years wit her husband