5 September 1997

Prime Lincolnshire land presents acres of scope

FAILING to sell the land and management company on a lock, stock and barrel basis last year, (FW, Land and Farms, Nov 15), a reorganisation of the land and farming business owned by the van Geest family, now brings nearly 2000 acres of Lincolnshire silt land on to the market.

Spalding Farms, near Spalding, surrounding the villages of Weston, Pinchbeck and Donington, the package now for sale, includes 1854 acres of vacant grade 1 land for sale as a whole or in lots. The overall value is in the region of £8m says Rodney Vigne of selling agent Strutt & Parker.

The farming company, L W van Geest Farms is continuing to manage nearly 2000 acres including land let on a company tenancy and about 1000 acres subject to various tenancy agreements. It will retain the main packing, storage and office facilities at Wool Hall Farm and the distribution and storage operation it runs from leased facilities in Spalding.

"Business will be as usual," says Robin Hancox, chairman and managing director of L W van Geest Farms. "Our customers demands will still be met on 364 days of the year," he says.

The land is currently cropped on a rotation of various brassicas including cauliflowers, brussel sprouts and cabbages, horticultural products including roses, bulbs and daffodils, root crops and a small arable acreage.

"Some of the land is double cropping land and worth anything from £4000 per acre upwards," says Mr Vigne. "The skys the limit where there is neighbouring competition for the smaller blocks of 20-odd acres."

He has split the farm into seven principal lots, but these are divided into sub-lots in order to capture interest from the local farming community.

"Because of the farms layout in relation to the road network, most fields have roadside access so even if the farm sold in the maximum number of lots there would be little problem with rights of way," says Mr Vigne.

Also the largest lot, Flints and Marsh Farms, 546 acres, benefits from a range of farm buildings including a refrigerated store with capacity for 1200t of boxed potatoes and a 1000t bulk potato store. A three-bedroom cottage is occupied on an assured shorthold tenancy.

About 250 acres of the land is double cropping land and there is an 8m gallon irrigation reservoir.

However the 279-acre lot seven Donington Shoff Farm, is mainly a grade 2 silt soil type and is currently cropped on an arable crop rotation with winter wheat averaging over 3.5t/acre.

Other lots range from a 30-acre block of grade 1 land – Fulney Nursery – to Town and Otway Farms including a general purpose building, a grain store, a 3-bed cottage and 438 acres benefiting from abstraction points from a dyke and drain.

&#8226 Also near Bourne, Lincs, about 69 acres of grade 2 fenland split into three fields recently sold at auction for £210,000. Averaging £3031/acre the land at Rippingale Fen was knocked down to a neighbouring farmer by auctioneers Stephen Knipe & Co.n

About 60 acres of roses are currently grown as part of the horticultural enterprise at the Spalding Farms, Lincs.