24 July 2002

House waiting to be built

By Catherine Paice

THE launch of over 1200 acres of good farmland in rolling countryside on Northamp- tonshires border with Leicester- shire is lacking just one asset – a principal house.

It presents one of the rare opportunities, to which new purchasers have so far seldom risen, for seeking to build a substantial, architecturally significant country house under countryside planning provisions (PPG7).

Originally an outlying part of the Spencers Althorp Estate, the Brampton Ash estate, which lies between Market Harborough and Kettering, was for many years in institutional hands, during which time the main house was sold. The current vendor bought the holding as a sitting tenant.

Since the change to PPG7 was introduced in the early 90s, there have barely been 20 applications of a relevant scale to begin to meet the requirements of the planning authorities. About half have been successful.

The planning policy guidance note stipulates that an isolated house might be exceptionally justified providing it is of the highest quality, is truly outstanding in architecture and landscape, and significantly enhances its surroundings.

"This estate cries out for a new house," says selling agent Quentin Jackson-Stops at the eponymous firms Northampton office. "It is quite hard to find a block of land like it."

The land comprises 1072 acres of arable and grassland, of which 931 acres are IACS registered. Most is classified Grade 2 and 3 and has been cropped for some years in a high-yielding winter cereals and oilseed rape rotation.

A further 160 acres of woodland – much of it newly planted – with spinneys and ponds contribute to a partridge and pheasant shoot and a keen sense of the owners conservation interests.

Well accessed both by public and private roads, the estate also offers extensive farm buildings, including traditional ranges, that are thought likely to have potential for redevelopment.

Jackson-Stops & Staff is seeking £3.33m for the property as a whole or in five lots.

The core farmstead, with modern and traditional buildings, a three-bedroom bungalow (let under an assured shorthold tenancy) and 431 acres is up for £1.35m, or just over £3000/acre.

The largest block of bare land, with 511 acres and a range of traditional brick buildings, has a £1.3m (£2544/acre) price tag.

About 10 miles south-west of Brampton Ash, brick barns at Welford with planning consent for conversion to craft workshops have been auctioned by Howkins & Harrison. Set in two acres, they made £61,500.

The same auction successfully saw away all six parcels of land offered, from three midlands counties.

The largest was a block of 36.4 acres at Byfield, near Daventry, offered in three lots. A local farmer bought 25.6 acres of arable land for £75,000 (£2925/acre); two pasture paddocks made £7122 and £5524/acre, respectively. &#42

Brampton Ash Estate, near Kettering, Northants, presents a rare opportunity.