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Applying for a tenancy

Enquiries and advertisement

New farms estate lettings are advertised as early as possible each year through local, and national farming press, the County Council website and social media.

A detailed prospectus is provided for each holding to be let, with key information that is known on each holding.  Applicants will need to satisfy themselves on any specific areas of the holding.

Prospective tenants may contact the County Farms Team at any time to enquire about farms available for letting, there is no preferential treatment with this having occurred. The County Council will note the enquiry but will not retain a list or record in respect of pre-advertisement  enquiries. All such enquirers will be advised to periodically look on the County Council website, social media and press for forthcoming lettings.

A viewing day(s) will be held for all equipped holdings which attendance at will be compulsory for a successful application (except on bare land lettings).  The Council’s land agents will host the viewing day and this will be your opportunity to see the farm first hand, to assess the land, the buildings and the dwelling.

Prospective tenants are encouraged to take full advantage of viewing days to view the farm and help flesh out your application.  We like to see and talk to prospective tenants.

The Council occasionally offers a prospective tenants training course which will go through the application and selection process, and offer professional advice and support for would-be applicants. The course will be advertised along with the farms.

Submitting a business plan

In addition to the application form, you will need to prepare and upload your business plan.

This should include:

  • Business name
  • Business summary
  • Business aims and objectives.  You may want to consider how your proposed business supports the Council’s management policy.
  • Financial summary (to include a tender rent and financial forecasts for the first three years of the proposed business to include cashflow, gross margins, capital budget, profit and loss forecast and sensitivity analysis)
  • Management strategy
  • Marketing and sales strategy
  • Targets and timescales
  • SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats)
  • Business strapline
  • An elevator pitch in less than 200 words

Don’t be afraid to set out any possible improvements required to the farm but do make sure that you can show how these may be funded relative to the rent.  Your plans and forecasts will have to stand scrutiny and questioning.

Be wary of relying wholly on standard figures to base your costings on.  Each farm is different and you will need to make adjustments to account for the area.  For example, different soils will vary
yields from one farm to another.  A sensitivity analysis will help you show how resilient your business plan is to market volatility. Don’t be seduced into tendering a high rent in the hope that this will get you the holding.  In reality it is rare that the highest tender gets the farm.  The Council is looking for a tenant who has a sound business plan that stacks up financially to produce a sustainable farm business.

Why do we ask you to submit a business plan?

If you apply for a Council farm you will be asked to prepare a business plan. The plan has two main functions:

  • Enabling you to show how your proposals operate financially and to what degree the business is economically viable and sustainable.  The business plan also draws out your business objectives and acumen, and supports the rental figure you wish to tender.
  • Giving you the opportunity to clearly describe how you will manage the holding in terms of environmental management, stocking, cropping, building use/ adaptation, and so on.  It can also be used to detail diversification plans, proposals for adding value, off-farm work and more.

The business plan should include the items detailed above and cover at least the first three years of the tenancy.  This will assist our scoring and plan comparison.

Applicants should consider whether to take appropriate professional advice from their bank manager, land agent or accountant; you are taking a very big step and professional advice is invaluable.  However, applicants should remain responsible for developing the business plan, should understand the information it contains and be able to explain and justify it at interview.

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