12 July 2002

Assets shake-up leads to sizeable Essex offer

By Andrew Shirley

A RESTRUCTURING at family-owned farming company J S Blyth & Son means almost 900 acres of land in the Tendring Hundred, near Colchester, are about to hit the Essex land market.

Local specialist Fenn Wright is handling the sale, and agent David Brooks says the move is partly due to the vendors decision to get out of dairying. Once the decision had been taken it was agreed to sell as quickly as possible in case the land market weakens after harvest, he adds.

However, the agent is not overly pessimistic. "If we dont get too much more on the market, values wont come down too much." But even if more land does become available he is not sure people will accept significantly lower offers.

"In East Anglia, both buyers and sellers have it in their minds that arable land is worth in the region of £2500/acre. Banks arent pressing too much, and unless anybody has got to sell they might just sit on it and wait."

The land for sale makes up a diverse portfolio. The largest chunk is Little Clacton Lodge, 550 acres of ring-fenced Grade 3 soil near Thorpe-Lee-Socon. All is IACS registered except 84 acres of permanent pasture.

Mr Brooks is valuing the entire block, including cattle buildings and a former dairy unit at £1.25m. This puts the arable land at £2500/acre, which the agent hopes will tempt local producers. "There are farmers keen to buy more land, although I am not sure it will go as a whole. Somebody might take up to 300 acres."

Seven separate blocks in the area owned by J S Blyth are being sold as well. These range from 18 acres to 83 acres with a guide price of £2500/acre. Still within the Tendring Hundred, Fenn Wright is also selling Glebe Farm, this time in association with agent Stanfords.

Featuring a four-bedroomed house in need of modernisation and 100 acres of Grade 2/3 arable land suitable for sugar beet and potatoes, the whole unit is priced at £600,000. The dwelling with five acres would cost £330,000. &#42