It is many people’s dream to wake up and find they have won a multi-million pound mansion.
But for some reality has come crashing down as they find their new home brings a bundle of issues.
In Darren Wordon’s case, it was that his £2.5million Cotswold pile is plonked in a valley prone to severe flooding.
The father of two from Bath won the sprawling mansion after entering a charity prize draw through Omaze for just £25.
The stunning property boasts seven bedrooms, 2.3 acres of land and comes with £10,000 in cash chucked in to help him get set up in the exclusive Chipping Norton.
Mr Wordon and his family should now be preparing to rub shoulders with their new neighbours the Beckhams, Jeremy Clarkson, Amanda Holden and David Cameron.
But instead their dreamy bubble looks set to burst as other local residents warn of the flooding threat to his home – which may not be insurable.
In Darren Wordon’s case, his £2.5million Cotswold pile is plonked in a valley prone to severe flooding
The father of two from Bath won the sprawling mansion after entering a charity prize draw through Omaze for just £25
The stunning property boasts seven bedrooms, 2.3 acres of land and comes with £10,000 in cash chucked in to help him get set up in the exclusive Chipping Norton
Their dreamy bubble looks set to burst as other local residents warn of the flooding threat to his home – which may not be insurable
Darren Wordon (pictured) was the latest person to win the grand prize with Omaze
Willowbrook House in Radford, a hamlet six miles east of Chipping Norton, sits in a valley that floods nearly every year.
Mr Wordon’s new neighbours have revealed the problems he faces if he decides to make the move.
Julia Boardman said: ‘This valley has been flooding for hundreds of years, it is just the natural way of things.
‘Before there was a just a cottage at the side of the plot which never flooded and the water was able to flood down and drain slowly away in the stream.
‘Then they built this horrendous house. They built this about five years ago and they only got planning permission because of a loophole.
‘The local council was so weak it never managed to stop it and we ended up with this house.’
The mansion sits between two historic listed properties and is a visual oddity in the tiny community.
But it hit the headlines when it became the prize for Omaze’s raffle fundraiser – the third million pound house draw the US-based charity had ran.
When locals heard about the lottery, they revealed the extent of the damage the flooding can cause.
They also claimed developers Palladian Properties had gone ahead with the build despite their warnings.
The family have said they are not sure what they plan to do with the £2.5m property – whether they will sell it or live in it
The property boasts a beautiful open plan setting, with a kitchen complete with a breakfast bar and an adjoining dining room. The flagstone flooring is a feature throughout the property, are as the big and open bay windows.
The living room is open and light but also features a stunning fire place and wood burner, perfect for the cosy evenings in. The room is carpeted with spotlights in the ceiling to give a warm glow alongside the fireplace, which features stunning brickwork
The furnishings in the kitchen are light and complement the wide open windows giving the property a natural and light feel
There is also a study which features large windows, perfect for looking over the incredible Cotswold countryside . Wooden doors and entry ways are a big feature in the property, giving it a natural and cosy feel.
Ms Boardman continued: ‘It flooded on October 4 and December 23 last year, which was before Omaze knew about the property and the water went straight in through the back door and out of the front door. All the water flows down the valley and settles in the bottom.
‘The water got so high – it was nearly halfway up the gate post – that it was going to flood the neighbour’s house. We had to make a gap in the wall opposite so the water could flow out.’
Another neighbour, who did not want to be named, said: ‘The developer has been really difficult, he has done everything possible to make the house bigger.’
They added: ‘I just don’t know how the council could allow it? It is not even real stone.’
Willowbrook House is said to have flooded twice in recent years, costing the developers thousands of pounds.
But it is also an issue for whoever moves in, with it being difficult for them to get flooding insurance.
Work has been carried out at the front of the mansion after the torrent of water last year, which still marks the road.
Mr Wordon’s new neighbours are also angry at Omaze for failing to listen to their concerns.
The study area in the property offers an incredible views of the Cotswolds countryside beyond
The kitchen is light, open and airy and has patio doors which open up onto the 2.3 acres of land which comes with the home. It comes complete with the beautiful white furnishings and a wooden breakfast bar, with marble surfaces
The wood burning fire is the main focus of this room, featuring beautiful brickwork and light and fresh painted walls. The living room has carpeted floor, but other parts of the property feature wooden flooring to complement the wooden doors.
The wood burner makes a perfect addition to the property, giving it a cottage feel despite its huge size. Beyond the wood burner, there is a clear view into the next room
The property features seven bedrooms, all large and open with stunning views over the countryside and 2.3 acres of land. The bedrooms are large, open and airy with sections cutting off secluded and private areas of the room for occupants
One said: ‘Omaze has the power to remove all negative comments that people have made on social media.
‘They came down here last week with a big film crew and the winners, who I got the sense were rather underwhelmed.’
It is understood Mr Wordon will also have to apply for planning permission to change the use of the garden as it is still registered as agricultural land.
But James Oakes, senior vice president international of Omaze, says there had been some ‘blockage’ but it has been put right.
He says the flood in December was a ‘non-event’ and the house is in ‘incredible condition’.
‘We are going into this in good faith,’ he says. ‘Photos can be misleading and I am aware there are some neighbours who are not happy.’
Before Omaze came along, estate agent Knight Frank had the house on its books for at least two years.
It was under offer, on more than one occasion, but the deals fell through before anyone moved in.
The Mail previously obtained photographs taken in October and December last year showing water surrounding the building.
There was also flooding in the front garden and driveway which was seeping into the house to such an extent the carpets had to be removed and changed.
Although it is not listed by the Environmental Agency as standing on a flood plain, Willowbrook is sited next to a watercourse.
Darren, Mandy, Matthew and Maddison celebrate their big win in the Cotswolds having spent just £25 on the raffle
The bathrooms are also light and open, featuring beautiful furnishings which complement the stunning home. This bathroom features marble flooring and a small bath which slots perfectly into the room
Each bedroom has large windows, which help to give the occupant an amazing view of the Cotswolds countryside below. Each bedroom features large wardrobes, and neutral carpets which can complement any colour
In total, there are seven bedrooms in the property, as well as another two bedrooms in an adjoining cottage. The high ceilings in this room showcase the curves in the roof.
Harry Sheppard from Knight Frank, who negotiated the sale to Omaze on behalf of Palladian Properties (Willowbrook) Ltd, said he was told the flooding was sorted.
He previously told MailOnline he had been given assurances prior to the exchange of contracts on December 10 ‘any flooding issues had been dealt with’.
He said he was also told it was ‘unfortunate that after exchanging contracts there had been such heavy rain’.
But Ms Boardman, who has hundreds of photos of past floods in the area, believes the works will not fix the problem.
She added: ‘The rain will run off the hill behind the property and still flood the house. I just hope the winners can get some money out of this house, this is not their fault.’
Omaze hands a slice of the profits it raises in the house raffles to charities such as the Prince’s Trust, Teenage Cancer Trust and the British Heart Foundation.
MailOnline has contacted it and Knight Frank for comment.
Two out of three homes won in Omaze raffles have already been sold on
Other homes sold by Omaze were also on estate agents books for some time before being plucked up as prizes by the California based company.
Ian Garrick from Mablethorpe, Lincolnshire was one such winner of a four bedroom property in Cheadle Hulme, Greater Manchester late last year after entering the prize draw for just £10, with funds going towards the Teenage Cancer Trust.
The 3,000 sq ft property came complete with four bedrooms, four bathrooms, large living space and a kitchen, and a home office with a hot tub and landscaped garden.
Ian Garrick (pictured) was the first winner of Omaze’s million pound house draw last year
At the time, he told local media that the win had been a ‘much needed boost’ after his wife, Julie, died of cancer, and that it would allow for him and his three sons to start afresh.
On their Facebook page, estate agents Snowden Wilkinson announced that the property on Ramillies Avenue in Cheadle Hulme home was sold for a ‘record price’ for the area in December 2019.
They first shared that the property was on the market via social media in January 2019.
It was announced that Mr Garrick had won the property in November 2020.
It has since been revealed that Mr Garrick decided to sell the property on. An online search shows that the property was sold once again in December 2020 for £1,150,000.
It is understood he sold the property on via estate agents Snowden Wilkinson
On their Facebook page, the Snowden Wilkinson shared a post congratulating the new owners on their home in May of this year.
A second winner who took the grand prize of a luxury four bedroom townhouse in Fulham, west London after entering the second house raffle organised by Omaze for £10.
It was announced that Marilyn Pratt had won the £3m property, which features three bedrooms, an office, a gym and a walled garden back in April.
She immediately told local press she intended to sell the home.
Prior to her win, the property had been on the market several times. It was first on the market in 2017 with estate agents Portico in Highbury.
Brik listed the property in January 2020 while a second estate agent, Chatterton Rees, listed it in August of the same year. Omaze launched the raffle for the property in October 2020.
Marylin Pratt (pictured) won the luxury property that has been on and off the market in London
The £3m home was first listed on the market by estate agents Portico in Highbury in 2017
The property has been listed several times by different estate agents over the years
It has also been listed by Farrar & Co – Kensington & Chelsea in its time.
The next property set to sell via Omaze is located in Devon and comes complete with an infinity pool, home cinema and views of Combe Martin Bay.
Stealth House, designed by architect Guy Greenfield, first came onto the market with estate agents Knight Frank in 2018, with a price guide of £2.5m
The property in Ilfracombe also boasts 0.9 acres of land, as well as five bedroom, six bathrooms and two living areas.
The winner of the prize will also receive £20,000 to help them settle in to their new pad.
But, concerns have been shared on Facebook that the house is too close to the cliff edge, which could be worn away over time, resulting in it potentially being an unsafe structure.
One person wrote on
The next property set to sell via Omaze is a located in Devon overlooking Combe Martin Bay
The property in Ilfracombe boasts 0.9 acres of land, as well as five bedroom and six bathrooms
The property has been on the market listed be estate agents Knight Frank since 2018
Another wrote: ‘I’m sure it’ll look a lot more interesting in about 20 years when half of it has fallen off the edge of the cliff due to erosion.’
Omaze was founded in Los Angeles in 2012 by Matt Pohlson and Ryan Cummins.
The concept came when Pohlson and Cummins attended a charity auction called Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
One of the prizes was a chance to play basketball with Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson, their childhood hero.
They saw the potential of what they call ‘incentivised giving,’ which in the U.S. has the backing of the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Miley Cyrus and Ben Affleck.
In 2015, Omaze partnered with Star Wars, where people donated $10 to be entered into a draw to visit the set of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
The company said it raised more than $4.26million, of which a percentage went to Unicef.
The company kicked off its UK giveaways last year.
MailOnline has contacted Omaze for a comment.
What are the rules on raffling a home – and what happens if they don’t sell enough tickets?
What is a house raffle and how is it legal?
Raffling off a home is becoming more and more popular with dozens taking place every year in the UK.
For the seller, the idea is to sell enough raffle tickets to cover their asking price – plus cover the cost of running it.
Most set up a website to advertise their competition and charge between £2 and £5 a ticket in order to attract as many entrants as possible – but more expensive properties can be raffled at £25 a ticket.
Once they hit their target total, they then select a lucky winner at random – but the draw must be carried out by a regulated lotto firm not the owner.
Those who want to keep the money gained for themselves must either hold a free prize draw or add a competition element to the raffle.
Competitors should have to prove their skill, knowledge or judgment in order to win the top prize.
Many people get around this by asking an incredibly simple question such as ‘what style of property is this house: A – Victorian, B – Tudor or C – Georgian’ when people pay for their raffle ticket.
Others have run spot the ball games to decide the winner.
How often do house raffles fail?
More and more raffles are failing to hit ticket targets as people become suspicious of them.
In this case the organisers will fall back on their terms and conditions.
These usually allow them to keep 25 per cent of total sales to cover their time.
They can also deduct further reasonable running costs such as legal or PR spending.
The remaining money is then given away – but it is always smaller than the value of the home that was up for sale.
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