1 March 2002

North Yorks council sale continues

IN YORKSHIRE, Mouchels Andrew Purkiss continues with the ongoing disposal of the North Yorkshire County Council 9400-acre farms estate.

The council, according to the agent, has a policy of selling farms as they become available and he expects several to come on the market during the course of the year.

Westfield Farm, near Reighton, Bridlington, is the latest holding to be put up for sale and will go under the hammer on Mar 6. The 130-acre arable unit is available due to the retirement of the current tenant and Mr Purkiss hopes it will fetch in the region of £500,000.

He is valuing the Grade 3, IACS-registered land at £2500/acre and reckons there will be demand from neighbouring farmers. "I sold the adjoining farm 18 months ago and the land there made £2750/acre."

Whether producers will still be keen to reach so deep into their pockets after another year of dire arable returns remains to be seen, but the agent is upbeat. "Land here is viewed as a finite asset, and when the opportunity arises to buy more, farmers want to take it."

Separate lot

Offered as a separate lot, he predicts the secluded, three-bedroomed house on six acres of land will go to a non-farming buyer.

Further north in Cumbria, Hopes of Wigton and H&H Bowe withdrew Mountain View, High Scales, last week when bidding stalled at £230,000, some way short of the £250,000 guide price. The 111-acre former dairy unit has subsequently been sold privately.

Just over 50 acres of land offered separately in three lots averaged £2391/acre, with a top price of £4233/acre. "I think some farmers are re-investing their foot-and-mouth compensation in land but not re-stocking as heavily," notes David Hetherington of Hopes.

Whitrigg Hall, Torpenhow, will be the firms next auction sale. The 190-acre farm, on the northern fringes of the Lake District National Park, will be auctioned in four lots on Mar 5 with a total guide of £420,000-460,000. &#42