17 August 2001

Tenants buy-up sees a leaner Panmure on offer

PANMURE is back on the market, but this time the Scottish estate is a lean version of its former self.

Langley-Taylor, on behalf of recent buyer property firm Angus Estates, has agreed the sale of most of the original 13,500 acres to the 50 sitting tenants, and is now offering the 1296-acre core estate for more than £5.5m.

But the firms Christopher Hall says breaking up the Carnoustie estate in such a short time was not easy. "A number of the tenants were initially not keen to sell." He blames this reluctance on some of the previous bidders for the property.

Selling Panmure was a protracted affair, with two potential deals collapsing before missives could be finalised. And the agent reckons some of the controversy generated followed his own client.

"We eventually persuaded all of the farmers, except one, to buy. As the deadline got closer and a few signed up the rest seemed to recognise that we were actually offering them a good deal."

Price for the farms was 50-60% of vacant possession value, says Mr Hall. The only tenant not to buy was a sheep farmer who could not go ahead due to movement problems caused by foot-and-mouth. A number of pundits have questioned why original selling agent, Cluttons, did not break up the estate for the previous owner, insurance group CGNU. "I do not think the company would have wanted the adverse publicity generated by some of the tenants," says Angus Estates Simon Laird

What remains of the estate is still an attractive package. The land at Panmure is considered some of the best in Scotland and supports higher value crops, such as potatoes, carrots and soft fruit, as well as spring and winter barley.

Over 515 acres of arable land are included in the core estate along with 62 acres of grass parks. More than 680 acres of mature woodland offer sporting and commercial opportunities. A profitable sawmill and 16 well-maintained dwelling are also featured.

Mr Lairds partner James Manclark says the total annual income could be up to £200,000.

Notable by its absence is a principal residence. But, says the businessman, provision for a substantial new house is included in the local structural plan.

"It will probably be cheaper to build from scratch than restore an old property." &#42