Big-scale Grade 2 acres close to Stansted airport

Few large blocks of commercial arable land have been launched recently, but Savills’ Cambridge office is selling something that should satisfy frustrated cereal farmers looking for more soil.

Tharbies Farm at Sawbridgeworth, seven miles from Stansted Airport, includes 1280 acres of Grade 2 land that yielded over four tonnes of first and second winter wheats and almost two tonnes of oilseed rape for the 2005 harvest, said agent Adrian Wilson, who is handling the sale.

“The yields wouldn’t be that good every year, but they’d come pretty close on a rolling average.”

One of the farm’s biggest selling points was the scale of its fields, said Mr Wilson.

“It would really appeal to somebody who likes big-scale farming.”

A network of concrete roads from when the land was used as airfield during WWII also made it an easy unit to work, he added.

Most of the land qualifies for the single farm payment, which will be included in the £4.7m guide price.

“Of the total acreage, 1250 acres are registered.

There’s not much waste, the rest is ponds and roads,” said Mr Wilson.

The SFP would initially be worth more than a standard arable claim because the vendor, David Morris, who is selling following a family bereavement, also ran a large herd of Limousin cattle during the reference period.

Mr Wilson has valued the land at £2600-£2800/acre and most of it is included in three large lots totalling almost 1200 acres.

The largest block stretches to 662 acres and is valued at £1.85m.

No grain storage is included in the sale because Mr Morris has turned the farm’s central core of buildings into a business park, which he is retaining.

However, 4000t of grain storage would be available for rent initially.

“That will give the new owner time to decide if they want to buy their own buildings or use one of the local grain co-ops,” said Mr Wilson.

Anybody looking for a dwelling to go with the land could also buy a large five-bed brick house for £595,000.

This, however, has been empty for some time and would need internal renovation following the attention of local youths, said Mr Wilson.

“You’d probably get to £1m if it was in good condition.”

A range of cattle sheds available separately would make a convenient location for a new grain store, he added, but because there was also development potential the £500,000 price tag might make it more attractive for developers, he reckoned.