Former JUDAS PRIEST Guitarist K.K. DOWNING's Astbury Golf Dream Comes To An End

Former JUDAS PRIEST Guitarist K.K. DOWNING's Astbury Golf Dream Comes To An End

According to The Times, former JUDAS PRIEST guitarist K.K. Downing's estate at Astbury Hall, his home near Bridgnorth, in south Shropshire, England, collapsed into administration and immediately was put up for sale with an asking price of more than £10 million (approximately $13.21 million).

The news comes a year and a half after Downing bought out his Birmingham, U.K.-based partners, stating at the time that he was planning to build a leisure resort around his countryside golf course. The guitarist's vision for the the three-hundred-and-twenty-acre estate included forty holiday homes, a hotel, spa and another nine-hole course.

Administrators from FRP Advisory blamed "tougher economic times within the wider corporate hospitality market," which had put "unsustainable pressure on the cashflow of the estate under its current financial structure."

Downing told Shropshire Star: "We have had a fantastic season; things were going really well. We had plans for an hotel that we were doing really well with. Obviously, there was a necessity for a funding element.

"The company took out a short-term mezzanine fund in early August to take us through to March. This was essentially to bring in professional architects and a team from London. Everything was in place as far as we were concerned.

"Unfortunately, about six weeks into the loan, we were served a short-term notice about breaches.

"We are at the moment looking to re-finance that loan. We were taken aback that the funder was not more flexible with us as partners.

"Obviously, the Astbury is an extremely valuable asset and we have to be cautious and careful. We are on the case.

"This isn't anything to do with owing money. We are still open for business and are operating."

In a 2009 interview with Shopshire Magazine, Downing admitted that it could be odd coming back to sleepy Shropshire after touring the world with JUDAS PRIEST.

"It is weird," he said. "I've been going and coming from this place all my life and every time it's like it's reinventing itself. I have to reintroduce myself to everything. I go to the cupboard and say, I'm sure I bought some sugar — where is it?'"

Regarding his decision to buy a house not too far from his Midlands roots, he said, "It became common sense to buy a property of your own and a few of us acquired homes in the south of Spain. I came here in 1985 — a long time. It was the house really that I liked. Before I came here I had a tiny semi in Bloxwich as my first house, but the deal was that there was bus stop outside it, and when we started doing 'Top Of The Pops' in the late '70s, people used to get off the bus and walk up the garden path for an autograph."

K.K., who is a founding member of the British heavy metal legends and was part of the group since 1969, announced his retirement from PRIEST in April 2011.

He later shot down as "inaccurate" reports that he left JUDAS PRIEST because he chose to concentrate on running the golf courses on his property.

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