Homes gossip

Former England cricket captain Kevin Pietersen has reduced the asking price for his Battersea flat; and former racehorse trainer, Charlie Brooks, has converted a hay barn in Oxfordshire
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Kevin Pietersen and Jessica Taylor
© PA
Kevin Pietersen and Jessica Taylor

Already bowling his maiden over

Former England cricket captain Kevin Pietersen has taken a typically robust view of London’s volatile property market. Still unable to sell his two-bedroom Thamesside Battersea flat - originally for sale at £935,000 - he has reduced it further from £890,000 to £875,000 through Featherstone Leigh.

The fifth-floor property, with a useful three parking spaces, is in St George’s swanky Battersea Reach development. “Kevin is quite happy to rent it, too, for £900 a week,” reports a neighbour. “He has already moved to a larger flat in Chelsea.”

The South African-born Hampshire batsman is married to former Liberty X singer Jessica Taylor, who recently came third in ITV‘s Dancing On Ice. The canny pair already own several buy-to-let properties in Lancaster, near her Preston birthplace.

Charlie Brooks
© Alan Davidson
Charlie Brooks
A recent engagement and a debut novel are not the only changes in the glamorous life of former racehorse trainer and playboy Charlie Brooks. He is putting the final touches to his new home, a converted hay barn beside his mother’s Oxfordshire farmhouse.

The Old Etonian boulevardier, who previously lived in Clapham, currently shares the Battersea home of his fiancée, tabloid editor Rebekah Wade, recently divorced from ex-Eastenders star Ross Kemp.

A former boyfriend of ex-model Miriam Francome, Brooks has just written Citizen, a Dick Francis-style thriller exposing the darker side of the Turf. In 1989 he briefly took over Uplands, the Lambourn stables of the legendary National Hunt jockey-turned-trainer Fred Winter.

Freddie Nicolle
© Ian McIlgorm
Freddie Nicolle
Freddie Nicolle, once London’s most eminent plastic surgeon, is selling Stud House, his Grade II-listed home on the Berkshire/Wiltshire borders for £1.25 million through Knight Frank.

He and his wife, Helia, bought the four-bedroom property in pretty Chilton Foliat three years ago after moving from nearby Ramsbury. “The house and garden were in a fairly run-down state,” reports a neighbour. “But Freddie restored them beautifully, as indeed you’d expect from a top plastic surgeon.”

The couple are now packing up to move to France. Until his recent retirement, pukka Nicolle - Eton, Cambridge and White’s Club - carried out more nips and tucks on Society ladies, actresses and royalty than any other plastic surgeon. But he has loyally resisted the temptation to write a cut-and-tell autobiography.

Polly Fry
© John Walters
Polly Fry
Widcombe Manor, a magnificent Grade I listed Bath mansion, for rental at £20,000 a month through Savills, was once the centre of a major royal scandal.

The six-bedroom 18th century Inigo Jones-designed property formerly belonged to inventor Jeremy Fry, who was forced to stand down as Society photographer Tony Armstrong-Jones’s best man when he married Princess Margaret in 1960. This followed revelations that Fry had been fined £2 for a “minor” homosexual offence.

The flamboyant member of the Quaker chocolate family, who died in 2005, was renowned for his louche gatherings attended by Mick Jagger, Peter Sellers, Cecil Beaton and other familiar Sixties figures.

It was recently revealed that he was not the father of his daughter Polly, whom his wife Camilla conceived after a fling with Tony (aka Lord Snowdon) during a corridor-creeping house-party at Widcombe.

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