Crowdfunding site helps save chateau

Historic 'first' as 6,200 people from 45 countries join to buy derelict site

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A derelict but beautiful château has been saved after several thousand people in a crowdfunding group donated €51 each to buy it and save it from falling into further ruin.

Just over 6,200 people from all over the world will become the new owners of La Mothe-Chandeniers in Vienne, Poitou-Charentes in what has been described an “unheard-of event in the history of world heritage”.

The 13th century chateau at Trois-Moutiers between Tours and Angers has been heavily damaged by water and vegetation growing through the stonework and the rescue bid was launched on the website. It had just 80 days to raise the €500,000 needed to buy and save it being bought by a developer and, perhaps, demolished.

The thousands of buyers from 45 different countries managed it with about a month to spare. They had joined a limited company called a Société par Action Simplifiée (SAS), which avoided having all 6,271 lining up to sign the sale document at the notaires.

Fundraising continues, however, on the Et si on adoptait la Mothe-Chandeniers page as money is still needed to fund vegetation clearance and prevent the building falling into further disrepair. So far more than 10,000 are now taking part and backers can also buy €60 ‘boxes’ to give for Christmas presents to help the project.

The €500,000 first phase pays to buy the chateau; a second stage taking the fund up to €650,000 will pay purchase fees and taxes, costs for the fundraising operation, clearing vegetation and an architectural study; another €100,000 to fund work to secure the building, then a final €250,000 stage for remedial work.

Despite the costs, the chateau, which was twice seized by the English during the 100 years war, will not be brought back to its former glory but a five-year business plan could see some changes.

The new owners will be the first to visit the site when work is done in 2018.