Luxury home for sale: train track and boat lake included
A WELL known city businessman is selling his "perfect" £880,000 family home as he battles a serious illness.
Charles Howeson told The Herald that it was time for him and his wife Emma to sell up.
The self-made millionaire and business leader has put his six-bedroom Crownhill house, called Smallack Barn, on the open market.
The house, just off Smallack Drive, is laid out over six levels. The site used to be a cluster of outhouses and barns which the Howesons converted into a large-scale family home 13 years ago.
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Mr Howeson says they are moving on with a heavy heart. "It is tremendously sad to have to say goodbye as we actually built this home ourselves," he said.
"It was just a series of barns before. You can only really have one perfect house in your life and this was it. It has given the whole family huge enjoyment for well over a decade."
The former Royal Navy officer explained that he has been seriously ill, although he says he is "winning" his battle. Mr Howeson said his illness made him realise that now is the time for him and his wife to adopt a simpler life.
The bespoke home includes a drawing, family and dining room along with a separate flat and a landscaped garden featuring a lake, an outdoor hot tub and a 400ft model train set. It has been put on the market with an asking price of £880,000.
Mr Howeson admitted that they are "rattling about" in the huge home now their children have moved away.
He and his wife have already purchased a smaller property on the former Millfields Hospital site in Stonehouse for them to relocate to once the sale is complete.
"We're downscaling to a house one-fifth of the size so it is quite a challenge selecting what we want to take with us. I certainly won't be able to take my model ship collection with me.
"It will be a different sort of life. We love living in Plymouth but we have always felt like we live in the country here – we look out onto a valley from our terrace but at the same time we're just a short way from the city centre."
In 1991, after 25 years in the Navy, Mr Howeson began to get involved with various business and community ventures, including healthcare, banking, water and the railway.
He is currently the chairman of the First Great Western Trains advisory board and of the Plymouth Area Business Council, as well as the president of the charity he founded, The Plymouth Drake Foundation.
But he admits that his illness has forced him to slow down.
"I have reduced my work a little," said the father of three.
"Although I do not think you should just give everything up when you are ill. That's the wrong attitude to take."
The Howeson children have now all flown the nest with the youngest Tavoya, 20, studying in Oxford while Pippa, 30, and Robin, 29, are both making a living in London.
"They are saddened that we're moving but they are realistic and fully understand the reason we're selling," said Mr Howeson.
"We know that we have been incredibly lucky to live here but now we require a simpler way of life."