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Norfolk’s County Farms estate acquires 440-acre arable farm

08 September 2017

The County Farms estate, owned by Norfolk County Council, has acquired a productive arable farm in west Norfolk totalling 439.66 acres.

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 has been negotiated by Norfolk County Council’s Commercial Property Team and their appointed agents, Cheffins of Ely, and will be financed from existing funds.

Cllr 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.

“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.”

This acquisition is a good investment for County Farms and will provide a strong return on investment. 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. This allows for flexibility to develop or sell off other land within the portfolio if necessary.

Edward Tabner, Associate, Cheffins comments: “Bank House Farm offered good value for money whilst being located close to an important part of Norfolk County Council’s current estate holdings. 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 Members will decide the letting criteria for all future letting on the estate.

Notes to editors

About the County Farms estate

The County Farms estate in Norfolk currently covers an area of around 16,300 acres and is the third largest county farms estate in the UK behind Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire.

The estate is split into 70 smaller estates ranging in size from 7 acres to 3,094 acres and provides farming opportunities for more than 145 tenants with average farm size of 120 acres.

Use of County Farms ranges from the growing of 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.

About Cheffins

Cheffins is Cambridgeshire’s leading firm of surveyors, valuers, property advisers and auctioneers. Established in 1825, the firm has six offices in Cambridge, Ely, Haverhill, Newmarket, Saffron Walden and Sutton. Cheffins’ professional services include residential sales; residential lettings; fine art auctions; commercial property; agriculture and rural business services; vintage and classic auctions; planning and development; property auctions and tractor and plant machinery.

For political comment

Cllr Keith Kiddie (Conservative), Chairman of the Business and Property Committee, on 01379 644 750
Cllr Colleen Walker (Labour) on 01493 782272
Cllr John Timewell (Lib Dem) on 07717 881857

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