20 September 1996

Buyers plump for farm option

RECENTLY land benefiting from permission for alternative uses has usually been sold to buyers wanting to farm, rather than take up the diversification option, as optimism in the agricultural industry prevails.

In Berkshire a 274-acre arable farm at Hawthorn Hill was purchased in 1989 by a consortium which obtained planning consent for a golf course and club house.

However Cruchfield Manor Farm was marketed earlier this year and most of the interest was farmer-led, with a sale achieved for in excess of the £1.05m guide.

"The benefit of a planning consent for golf development in this case had little or no effect on the sale price achieved, with the majority of leisure funding unable to compete with the strong agricultural land market," says Jeremy Rollason of selling agent Savills.

Also, The Langton Hall Estate, West Langton, near Market Harborough, Leics has a nine-hole golf course on part of its 318 acres and the seven-bedroom hall currently used for conference and entertaining purposes has planning permission for change of use to a hotel or 10 residential units.

Guided at £1.7m for the whole, agents based in Strutt & Parkers Market Harborough office are quite confident that it is more likely to be bought by a private buyer as a country residence.

The grade 3 land is a medium/heavy loam over clay and the firms Rodney Vigne values the arable land at around £2500/acre – capable of yielding winter wheat to 4t/acre, with the pasture at £500/acre less.

Recently at auction, auctioneers Shoulers sold about 90 acres of ineligible land near Melton Mowbray, Leics for £3200/acre.