After some months of anticipation, a 500-acre farm near Pewsey in Wiltshire is finally being launched for public auction at the end of September.
Down Farm, which lies close to the edge of Salisbury Plain, was originally prepared for sale with a view to beating the 5 April deadline that saw changes to Capital Gains Tax.
The farm’s advisers then took a new view, which has given the owner the time to seek planning permission to convert the two cottages on the farm to a single, 3000sq ft dwelling with an annexe. It will not have an agricultural occupancy restriction.
The land is mainly arable, with good outbuildings, including a grain store and two cattle yards. There is some permanent pasture and various belts of trees in a downland landscape that might also offer some scope for a partridge shoot.
Chris Boreham of Dreweatt Neate, Newbury, who is handling the sale, says: “Down Farm is a good commercial arable farm, with good-sized fields and chalky soil. It has been run as part of a bigger unit, but now there is the opportunity to build a good house and create a stand-alone, residential mixed farm.”
Because the farm has been expected to come to the market for some time, there has been enough interest, both from locals and from further afield, to warrant an auction, Mr Boreham said, adding: “We could have gone for a private auction, but have decided that we might just as well have it all out in the open.” The farm has been guided at £3.75m, or £7500/acre.
While Down Farm enjoys some planning uplift, Wiltshire agents are generally taking a more cautious approach to valuation. Woolley & Wallis is remarketing 227 acres of arable chalkland outside Burbage, after a sale agreed at a substantial premium to its £1.4m guide fell through this summer.
“We are taking a more realistic view this time round,” said Richard Nocton of the firm’s Marlborough office. “The edge has come off the market in the last four to five weeks, although there is a frightening shortage of properties, which should help keep prices up.”