9 May 1997

Staffs forest acres buyer could well be local industrialist

By Louise Rose

SO far, pre-marketing enquiries in more than 1000 Staffordshire acres in the National Forest suggest the buyer could be a Midlands-based businessman or industrialist.

The Dunstall Hall Estate, near Burton on Trent, includes residential, agricultural and sporting elements, a rarity to the Midlands farmland market, maintains David Leagh of selling agent John German. Guide for the estate is £5m for the whole.

"Bare arable land in the county sold last year for little under £3000/acre and to date there is no evidence of any decline in values," said Mr Leagh.

Including about 884 acres of farmland ranging from grade 2-4 mainly sandy loam with some stony soil, the farming is split between an in-hand 503-acre Home Farm, Spinks and Fernhill Farms, occupied on full agricultural tenancies, and two blocks of arable land – 52 and 85 acres – let on FBTs.

Home Farm, mixing dairy, bull beef and arable enterprises, has 449,532 litres of milk quota with about half the acreage IACS eligible. There are four dwellings, ranges of arable and livestock buildings and some traditional buildings with potential for conversion to residential and cottage industry use.

The tenanted farms with rent reviews due next year generate an income of £20,040 a year and the total annual rental on the two blocks of land let on FBTs, due to expire in August, is £11,684.

With a 10-bedroom grade II principal house, Dunstall Hall, the estate includes 11 other properties – mainly let on service occupancies or assured shorthold tenancies – ranging from a stable flat to Home Farmhouse (five-bed).

An established pheasant and duck shoot at Dunstall, with average bird days of about 200, uses the 144 acres of mixed woodland on the estate. There is a sawmill for processing any timber taken from the woods.

"In a ring fence I hope the estate will go as a whole," said Mr Leagh.