I had big plans for Grand Designs' £7.5million 'saddest' home before rejection… here's why owner's flogging a dead horse | The Sun

I had big plans for Grand Designs' £7.5million 'saddest' home before rejection… here's why owner's flogging a dead horse | The Sun

MICHAEL Jackson's ex-bodyguard is dismayed after failing in a £7.5million bid for a seaside home that flopped on Grand Designs.

Martial arts expert Matt Fiddes wanted to splash out on the lighthouse-inspired Devon property which has been dubbed the "saddest ever" to feature on the Channel 4 makeover programme.

But his pitch for the art deco home has been rejected by owner Edward Short, who labelled him a "time-waster".

And now he has hit back by accusing his rival of "flogging a dead horse".

Mr Fiddes, 44, provided security for the late "King Of Pop" Jackson for more than a decade before building his own martial arts empire now worth an estimated £120million.

He launched his bid last year to buy Chesil Cliff House, off the north Devon coast in Croyde.

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The property has twice featured on Grand Designs, with Mr Short and his family struggling with attempted renovations.

Now Mr Fiddes has spoken out about his unsuccessful attempt to secure it himself, hitting back at the snub by Mr Short.

The ex-bodyguard told the Bristol Post: "He should have taken my offer as I would have turned one section into luxury apartments and the other into an Airbnb.

"If it does come on sale for a realistic price, I will buy it – but not as it is right now as he's flogging a dead horse."

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Mr Fiddes, who left school with no qualifications and still cannot write, earlier this year did buy a £300,000 Lamborghini – and urged young people to believe "anything is possible".

The entrepreneur, who grew up in Barnstaple in Devon, felt prompted to take up martial arts after being bullied at school.

He went on to achieve a 7th Degree black belt master in tae kwon do and black belts in kickboxing and kung fu, as well as setting up the first Matt Fiddes Martial Arts School “with just £100".

He appeared on Channel 5’s Rich House Poor House in 2017 – swapping properties with Andy Leamon, who lived in a council house with his wife and two kids.

He also claims to have provided bodyguard services for "numerous celebrity clientele including actors, supermodels and singers".

These included Michael Jackson for more than a decade, before the singer died in 2009.

Mr Fiddes was introduced to the pop star through friend Uri Geller, and went on to be his personal security detail – while he was also taken on as personal trainer in 2019 by the model Katie Price.

He complained in February this year about being allegedly snubbed by staff when seeking to buy a new Ferrari because he was wearing a tracksuit.

His difficult Devon upbringing played a part in his desire to snap up Chesil Beach House.

He said: 'I see this as an achievement stamp for me – I had a painful time in Croyde when I was younger because I was evicted.

'But this property is five minutes away from my first rental when I moved out from my mum and dad's in Swindon.

"People told me I wouldn't make it and it wouldn't work out – but I've been buying houses since I was 18 and it doesn't matter I can't write well because I only have to sign autographs and cheques."

Chesil Cliff House, which comes with an infinity pool and three acres of land, was originally put up for sale for £10million by estate agents Knight Frank.

The main house, a white art-deco styled lighthouse, is now being offered for £7.5million with an adjacent beach development up for grabs for £2.5million.

But Mr Fiddes insists the place is now worth "no more than £3million or £4million".

It was featured in a episodes of Grand Designs in 2016 and 2019, in which Mr Short told of his "nightmare" luck since buying the property.

Attempts to complete a refurbishment plunged his family into debt and contributed to his marriage ending after 12 years, he revealed.

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The show's presenter Kevin McCloud described the property four years ago as "the bare bones of a house and more like a desolate carcass".

Former One Direction star Harry Styles reportedly looked into purchasing the Lighthouse, although this was later denied.

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