15 October 1999

Locals grab lotted bare land in mixed farm sale

By Louise Rose

BROUGHT to the market in April, Manor Farm, Etchilhampton, Wilts, has been sold in three lots with the majority of the bare land going to neighbouring farmers.

"Two years ago this type of farm is likely to have gone as a whole but in the current market lotting up is on the increase," said Ian Hepburn, Strutt & Parker who handled the sale.

The 761-acre mixed dairy and arable unit was guided at offers in the region of £2.75m for the whole and Mr Hepburn maintains an aggregate figure close to this was achieved.

A developer purchased the main farmhouse, steading and 185 acres of land with the rest of the acreage bought by locals looking to expand. On average about £2400/acre was paid for the land with AKC Agriculture, Devizes and Dreweatt Neate acting for these purchasers.

However, despite plenty of competition for the bare land from local farmers a 360-acre arable unit in Essex sold as a whole to a local businessman.

"Interest was split three ways," said Tim Fagan, Strutt & Parker, "Between London, local non-farmers and farmers after the land, who pushed the bidding to well over £3000/acre for the bare land".

Roffey Farm, Great Dunmow included a five-bedroom farmhouse, modern grain storage for 1000t and grade 2 land. A small woodland acreage provided the basis for a shoot.

Guided at offers over £1.6m for the whole Mr Fagan maintains the sale price was nearer the £2m mark.

Going to best and final offers after plenty of interest from the residential sector and businessmen, Billingsley Farm, Little Dewchurch, near Hereford sold to a Herefordshire farmer for in excess of the £1.1m guide.

"Potential buyers included farmers from as far afield as Scotland and the west country," said Anthony Mayell, Finn & Mayell, "And the sale was agreed within six weeks".

Acting for the purchaser Ryan Williams, McCartneys said: "There are plans to upgrade the farmhouse and farm buildings, but the farm business tenancy on the land which generates £54,000/year on a holding of 367 acres appealed to my client".

"The remaining four years of the farm business tenancy attracted buyers particularly those from further afield who felt they could ease their way into the farm drawing on the expertise of the tenant and his local knowledge," said Mr Mayell

Also, he said a number of farmers who had taken retirement relief on previous sales showed an interest in the unit tempted by living on a farm with the rent providing their pension.

Billingsley Farm, Herefordshire, generated interest from a new type of buyer – farmers who had taken retirement relief on previous sales and were tempted by living on a farm with a rent providing their pension.