Sunday, November 19, 2017

County council estate acquires 440-acre arable farm

October 3, 2017 by  
Filed under Property

BankHouseFarm

Norfolk County Council has acquired a productive arable farm in west Norfolk totalling 439.66 acres for the council’s county farms estate.

Bank House Farm in Marshland St James comprises just under 440 acres of Grade 2 arable land including 1.28 acres of woodland. The soil is especially suited to growing sugar beet and cereals and offers flexibility for a wider range of cropping.

The farm also includes two grain storage buildings and an on-site office within a secure yard. The purchase price was negotiated by Norfolk County Council’s commercial property team and their appointed agents Cheffins. It will be financed from existing funds.

Keith Kiddie, chairman of Norfolk County Council’s business and property committee, said: “Securing Bank House Farm is a further step towards future-proofing the county farms estate and offers huge lettings potential as it has appeal to both established and up-and-coming farmers.

Important role

“The county farms estate plays an important role in maintaining rural communities and this acquisition strengthens the estate’s ability to provide employment and generate income for the county.”

Councillor Kiddie said the acquisition represented a good investment and would provide a strong return. It places the total estate size at 16,738 acres, far above the council’s constitutional commitment to hold a minimum of 16,000 acres.

Norfolk’s county farms estate is the third largest county farms estate in the UK – behind Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire. It said the farm purchase allowed for flexibility to develop or sell off other land within the portfolio if necessary.

Cheffins associate Edward Tabner said: “Bank House Farm offered good value for money while being located close to an important part of Norfolk County Council’s current estate holdings.

Modern agriculture

The farm provides fantastic modern grain storage facilities and field sizes suitable for modern day agricultural practices. The vendor had maintained a high level
of investment in the farm and more recently it has been handled by a very capable contractor, ensuring the land was in good condition.

“The purchase shows a commitment by Norfolk County Council towards the rural economy and a desire to maintain its county farms estate, whilst improving on its estate strategy.”

The farm will be let from October 2018, together with a number of other farms within the county farms estate. Norfolk County Council said its members would decide the letting criteria for all future letting on the estate.

Norfolk’s county farms estate is split into 70 smaller estates ranging in size from 7 acres to 3,094 acres. As a whole, it provides farming opportunities for more than 145 tenants with average farm size of 120 acres.

Enterprises range from the traditional arable crops such as wheat, barley, potatoes and sugar beet, through to more unusual uses – including the production of essential oils, two care farms, pheasant rearing businesses, selling of rare breed meat, plant nursery, and several horse liveries.

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