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Charlotte Church panics about finances in first episode of her new TV show

Charlotte Church debuted her new TV show on Tuesday night, following her dream to open a wellness retreat in her native Wales.

The singer’s new project Charlotte Church’s Dream Build sees cameras follow her as she invests more than £1million into a 16th-century mansion in Elan Valley in the hope that she can transform it into a swanky retreat.

But the Really show’s debut episode saw the star panicking about her finances as she admitted ‘I’m up s**t creek without a paddle.’ 

Dream project: Charlotte Church debuted her new TV show on Tuesday night, following her dream to open a wellness retreat in her native Wales 

The programme follows Charlotte, 35, as she attempts to transform Laura Ashley’s former home in Powys, Rhydoldog House, investing her life savings into the project.

Speaking during the first episode Charlotte admitted she was worried about her finances, explaining that she has been left with a £750,000 mortgage alongside a £300,000 investment from her mum Maria and stepdad James, ‘because I gave them a whack of money when I was a teenager’.

Her costs to renovate the property are said to have ballooned to £1.2 million. The TV show is helping to raise funds for the property. 

Charlotte found fame aged 11 and was once reported to have amassed a £25m fortune. But the Cardiff-born star has previously claimed she would ‘always have to work’ to fund her ‘lifestyle’ and is more recently reported to be worth £5.6m.  

Major renovation: The singer's new project Charlotte Church's Dream Build sees cameras follow her as she invests more than £1million into a 16th-century mansion in Elan Valley in the hope that she can transform it into a swanky retreat

Major renovation: The singer’s new project Charlotte Church’s Dream Build sees cameras follow her as she invests more than £1million into a 16th-century mansion in Elan Valley in the hope that she can transform it into a swanky retreat 

Charlotte explained in the TV show that there was a strict June deadline for the renovations to be completed so she could captalise on the lucrative summer trade for both the wellness retreat and her plans to host weddings and glamping breaks in the 47 acres. 

‘If we don’t get it done by the start of June I’m up s**t creek without a paddle! I’m in a lot of trouble,’ she confessed. 

‘It blows my mind and fills my heart that I own it now. My biggest project is about to begin. I have pretty much spent my entire life savings on this,’ she added of her dream project.

The opening episode saw Charlotte give a tour of the run-down property. The singer explained to viewers that she was drawn to the property’s grounds but confessed she hadn’t realised how much work the house, where she will be living during the renovations, needed.   

At odds: The Really show's debut episode saw the star panicking about her finances as she admitted 'I'm up s**t creek without a paddle'

At odds: The Really show’s debut episode saw the star panicking about her finances as she admitted ‘I’m up s**t creek without a paddle’

‘I am obsessed with nature and want to make the most of Rhydoldog’s magical landscape. It’s dreamy but a bit of a nightmare house, not looking her best.’ 

Last month it was revealed Charlotte’s eco-friendly wellness retreat has been opposed by her local council – who fear it could cause ‘unacceptable risk’ to drivers.  

Objections from the highways department at Powys County Council, warning of potential dangers for drivers on the narrow lane driving up to the 47-acre estate have impacted her plans.

Lavish:  Speaking during the first episode Charlotte admitted she was worried about her finances, explaining that she has been left with a £750,000 mortgage alongside a £300,000 investment from her mum Maria and stepdad James

Lavish:  Speaking during the first episode Charlotte admitted she was worried about her finances, explaining that she has been left with a £750,000 mortgage alongside a £300,000 investment from her mum Maria and stepdad James

Ready for summer? 'If we don't get it done by the start of June I'm up s**t creek without a paddle! I'm in a lot of trouble,' she confessed

Ready for summer? ‘If we don’t get it done by the start of June I’m up s**t creek without a paddle! I’m in a lot of trouble,’ she confessed

A report submitted to the planning department allegedly says ‘actual vehicle movements generated by this proposal would be significantly higher than the 22 per day quoted [by the plans]’. 

Concerns were also raised by environment agency Natural Resources Wales, who fear that bar breeding sites and the nearby River Wye could be damaged. 

A decision on the renovations will be put to the local authority’s planning committee at the end of January, with a statement sent on Charlotte’s behalf stating she has ‘ambition for the site to be carbon neutral.’ 

Family: Charlotte is a mum of three to Ruby, 13, and Dexter, 12 - with her former partnerGavin Henson and a baby daughter with her husband Jonathan Powell

Family: Charlotte is a mum of three to Ruby, 13, and Dexter, 12 – with her former partnerGavin Henson and a baby daughter with her husband Jonathan Powell

Magical: The opening episode saw Charlotte give a tour of the run-down property, explaining that she was drawn to the property's grounds but confessing she hadn't realised how much work the house needed

Magical: The opening episode saw Charlotte give a tour of the run-down property, explaining that she was drawn to the property’s grounds but confessing she hadn’t realised how much work the house needed

MailOnline has contacted representatives for Charlotte Church and Powys County Council for comment. 

Rhydoldog Houses boasts seven bedrooms with stunning views of the surrounding countryside, and also has a 200-year-old barn which will be turned into guests houses, as well as a large hall for gatherings. 

The property also boasts its own helicopter pad plus a hidden rooftop hot tub. 

Back in June 2021, Charlotte revealed that applications were open to share in her dream of ‘a system of non-hierarchical participatory democracy’ at the home, which dates back to the 15th Century.

Passion project: Charlotte and her family are living in an apartment in the house during the massive renovations

Passion project: Charlotte and her family are living in an apartment in the house during the massive renovations

Wellness retreat: Proposals for Rhydoldog House in Wales talked of how guests will undergo a cleansing ritual, with their feet bathed in spring water, before having a 'ceremonial entrance' as they enter the property situated in Elan Valley

Wellness retreat: Proposals for Rhydoldog House in Wales talked of how guests will undergo a cleansing ritual, with their feet bathed in spring water, before having a ‘ceremonial entrance’ as they enter the property situated in Elan Valley

Vision: Documents submitted to Powys' planning department last month reveal the scale of Charlotte's vision for the first time and explain how four key aims have shaped the plans

Vision: Documents submitted to Powys’ planning department last month reveal the scale of Charlotte’s vision for the first time and explain how four key aims have shaped the plans

Green: The application also includes plans for a pond, a car port and solar panelling

Green: The application also includes plans for a pond, a car port and solar panelling

Her aim is to build a ‘zero-emissions, off-grid’ healing retreat centre with spiritual healing practices such as sound ceremony and forest bathing 

She said: ‘There’s 47 acres of magical wonderousness in mid Wales. We are going to set up a small democratic community here for the next year basically.

‘We are going to be focused on different wellbeing practices like meditation and reconnection with nature. Probably do a bit of chanting at dawn.

‘Send us an application if you are interested in living in a community, doing things a bit differently and reconnecting with yourself, with community and with nature.’ 

Interesting: 'Both ceremonial and boot room entrances have significance within the building,' the plans state

Interesting: ‘Both ceremonial and boot room entrances have significance within the building,’ the plans state

The house currently gets 80 per cent of its energy from an onsite hydro-mill and there are plans to install solar panels to make up the other 20 per cent.

Charlotte expects the work to convert the property into a retreat to take 12 months – and aims to complete it around June 2022.

She said: ‘You will need to tell us about your skills, experience, values, and why you want to be a part of this project. No skill is without value, so please declare all skills when applying for a position.’

Multi-millionaire Charlotte, 33, alongside Black Cat Architects and Arbor Architects, have planned for a wild moon garden of white plants, with guests handing over their shoes at the entranceway- based on Japanese design called a ‘Shikii Threshold’. 

The planning documents state: ‘A member of staff washes your feet. When you are ready you step over the Shikii threshold to be greeted in the welcome hall and welcomes to the course.’ 

End goal: Charlotte, alongside Black Cat Architects and Arbor Architects, have planned for a wild moon garden of white plants, with guests handing over their shoes at the entranceway- based on Japanese design called a 'Shikii Threshold'

End goal: Charlotte, alongside Black Cat Architects and Arbor Architects, have planned for a wild moon garden of white plants, with guests handing over their shoes at the entranceway- based on Japanese design called a ‘Shikii Threshold’

Guests will arrive via a sweeping, tree-lined driveway to the landscaped, biodiversity moon garden at the front of the seven-bed property, replacing the existing car park which will be moved to the rear.

‘By reinstating the area in front of the house as a landscaped garden, the main entrance to the house will become much more legible and connected with the landscaping,’ the proposal says.

‘This will create a ceremonial arrival, allowing guests to immerse themselves in the wild nature of the site, unimpeded by cars and back of house facilities.’

From there, they will pass over the Shikii Threshold following the foot-bathing ritual. For the remainder of their stay, guests will be expected to use a ‘boot room’ entrance. 

Renovation: A separate application reveals Charlotte's plans for four log cabins and a bath house in woodlands, using the trunks and root systems of living and felled trees as natural foundations and supports

Renovation: A separate application reveals Charlotte’s plans for four log cabins and a bath house in woodlands, using the trunks and root systems of living and felled trees as natural foundations and supports

‘Both ceremonial and boot room entrances have significance within the building,’ the plans state.

‘The ceremonial entrance being the very first activity of the retreat stay and the boot room being the boundary between internal and external activities.’  

Surrounded by steeply-sloping ancient woodland, dramatic rocky outcrops and waterfalls, it offers stunning views to distant mountains from an elevated spot above the town of Rhayader.

Charlotte believes the picturesque backdrop will allow people to ‘reconnect with nature’, with the proposals stating the retreat will aim to: ‘Create spaces that encourage people to reconnect with nature; Encourage social gathering and connection; Promote the importance of ritual, ceremony and rights of passage. 

Pictured: Inside the barn Charlotte is planning to convert

Pictured: Inside the barn Charlotte is planning to convert 

‘Consider site resilience and explore options for improving the energy performance of the site.’ 

In early 2021, Charlotte unveiled her dream to create a wellness retreat with spaces for mixed martial arts, spiritual healing, yoga and outdoor pursuits. 

The application also includes plans for a pond, a car port and solar panelling.

A separate application reveals Charlotte’s plans for four log cabins and a bath house in woodlands, using the trunks and root systems of living and felled trees as natural foundations and supports.

A delegation from Rhayader Town Council has visited the site along with 12 members of the public and the application is currently under consideration by Powys County Council.  

Watch Charlotte Church’s Dream Build ion Discovery’s Really channel on Tuesdays at 9pm.

How did Laura and Sir Bernard spend their years at Rhydoldog House?

Laura Ashley in a 1976 documentary about her clothing brand

Laura Ashley in a 1976 documentary about her clothing brand

The pair originally bought the home in 1961 to be near to their fledgling business in the town of Carno. Laura Ashley had been born in Wales and had opened the company’s first shop in Machynlleth, Montgomeryshire.

Rhydoldog would accommodate high-level company board meetings as well as some of Wales’ most lavish parties.

At the height of the their success during Laura’s life, the house would also be used as the backdrop for the fashion brand’s iconic photo shoots of clothes ranges.

The surrounding grounds were even said to have inspired the designer’s famed floral prints that continue to this day.

As the years went on the pair spent less time at the property, affording to buy home in France and Belgium as well as a yacht. Sir Bernard, trained as a private pilot, would fly back from their home in France to keep up with the running of the company. 

Laura died due to injuries she sustained in a fall at her daughter’s home in the Cotswolds back in 1985.

After the 40th anniversary of Laura Ashley in 1993, Sir Bernard retired as chairperson and became an honorary life president. 

Not much is known about Sir Bernard’s life as a widower in the property, but he lived there for the next 24 years until his death in 2009.

The home went on the market soon after, although the couple’s daughter Jane said that she had spoke to the National Trust and even the National Museum of Wales about restoring the property in public hands but logistics could not be agreed.

Daughter Jane told the Western Mail: ‘I had several meetings with the National Trust and even the National Museum of Wales was trying to think of a way [not to sell the property]. It was just too problematic to keep it.’

The home was eventually sold for £1.2m in the autumn of 2009 to new owners who restored much of the frontage, but are not believed to have given the house the complete overhaul it needed.

Now it appears that the property has been snapped up by singer Charlotte Church, who will be able to spend a bit of her £8m fortune to complete the job.

The soprano had originally envisaged turning the home into a school, but one local said there had been ‘no mention’ of the idea, and may not attract many pupils given its isolate position. 

Charlotte Church panics about finances in first episode of her new TV show Source link Charlotte Church panics about finances in first episode of her new TV show

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