Maxwell's estate back on market

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(First Edition)

ROBERT MAXWELL'S family mansion is being re-advertised for sale in a surprise move.

Headington Hill Hall, Oxford, the seat of the disgraced millionaire publisher's empire, has been put in the hands of the London property agents Conrad Ritblat.

The 85-year lease on the 15-acre estate was put on the market eight months ago. Several bids have been made but it is believed the receivers, Grant Thornton, are looking for more money.

Maxwell's widow, Betty, still lives in the 29-bedroomed Victorian mansion. The estate was said by property analysts to be worth about pounds 2m.

The only bidder to declare itself so far is the former Oxford Polytechnic, now a university, which occupies a neighbouring site and sees the estate as ideal for a new campus. The size of its offer has not been disclosed.

The mansion has five main reception rooms, eight bathrooms, a billiard room, wine cellars, a separate lodge with five rooms and a bathroom and an outdoor swimming pool.

Maxwell bought the property on a 99-year lease from Oxford council in 1978. He agreed a lump sum of pounds 10,000 and pounds 1.5m to be paid over the lease period.