14 September 2001

Arable opportunities in East Anglia

TWO EAST Anglian commercial arable farms have just been launched.

In mid-Suffolk, Lacy Scott & Knight is offering a 490-acre unit at Creeting St Mary. Eton College Farm has been managed under a contracting agreement and is now for sale due to a restructuring of business assets by the current owner.

Included in the principal lot is a farmhouse that has been empty for about 20 years, requires complete renovation, and, according to agent Philip Scarff, offers a "splendid opportunity" to create a residential property of "substance".

Over half of the 460 acres included in lot one is classified as grade 2 soil, falling into either the Hanslope or Swaffham Prior associations. Five fields each extend to over 45 acres and all the land has been recently drained.

A good range of buildings, including a 14,000sq ft on-floor grain store, is featured and the package is being guided at more than £1.6m.

The balance of the land is likely to be sold in three lots, some of which will be off-lying fields while an area near the A14/A140 interchange is considered to have some potential for alternative use. No guides have been set as yet.

Further east, Brown & Co has added Sculthorpe Lodge Farm, Fakenham, Norfolk to its books. The sale consists of 330 acres of bare grade 3 land and is part of the rationalisation of a much larger local holding.

Despite the ability to freely trade sugar beet quota under the British Sugar outgoers scheme, selling agent Hugh Baker is including 1000t of A + B contract as part of the £2500/acre asking price. "I reckon this adds value to the land, in a lot of cases without the contract you would be left with just a cereal farm."

Demand for arable land in the region is still strong, reports fellow Browns agent Katherine Phillips who put 312 acres of grade 2/3 Lincs land at East Keal Fen, Spilsby, on the market last month. "We have received plenty of interest from local farmers at the £2500/acre guide price," she says. &#42