8 Sep

At home with Freddie

At home with Freddie

Andrew Flintoff is usually seen in his public persona as the swashbuckling, fast-bowling, big hitting, all-action cricket hero. But beyond that lies a dedicated family man whose home life with his wife and three children matters too. This has been reflected in the way he has gone about developing his new home.

While the average discerning buyer with a sizeable budget may not want to go down the self-build route, what those seeking a good quality home will want to know is that the house they are buying includes the sort of features that will fit their lifestyle needs and that of their families.

In the case of the man they call "Freddie", it was initially a demolition job - something he often does in his profession - as he gained permission at the second attempt last month to develop his mansion on the site of an existing home previously owned by another local sports personality, Mark Hughes, the former Manchester United footballer who now manages neighbours Manchester City.

Even this former home in the Cheshire village of Mottram St Andrew cost £1.85 million to purchase, this being a haunt of Manchester's nouveau riche. But Mr Flintoff was seeking a bigger home, one with six bedrooms and two swimming pools in a downstairs leisure complex.

Overall this home is costing £4 million, although this is including demolition and building costs, so it may be imagined that most buyers looking for something on this scale would get something similar for less. Having a swimming pool will be a must for many, not least any who wish to keep fit, whether or not this is a critical factor in their professional fortunes.

With three storeys and a large garden at the back, such a dwelling will provide plenty of space for the Flintoffs outside as well as in, the sort of thing many a buyer of such properties may themselves want for their own children, although theirs may not inherit genes for hitting hard balls long distances towards the nearest glass pane.

The basement facility also has a snooker room, gymnasium, sauna, cinema and bar, according to the Manchester Evening News.

Apart from the house itself, the location is also a key element of the move. Many other sports stars live in the area, which is easily connected to Manchester. It is just a couple of miles from Wilmslow, from where the A34 heads into the city and links with the M60 inner ring. Yet at the same time it is a small village, occupying a peaceful spot amid the lowland pastures of north-east Cheshire, where thatched cottages and farms are as much a part of the landscape as plush houses.

When not making the short journey to Old Trafford, Andrew Flintoff is to be found plying his trade not only all over England but also around the far-flung corners of the world. Given that he has been doing this since 1998 but now has a wife and family at the centre of his life as well, the need for somewhere good to come home to may be a big motivating factor in the project. For those seeking high quality property with swimming pools, cellars and other desirable attributes, the same may be true.

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