Crown Estate to bring more than 3,000 acres to open market

The Crown Estate is bringing 3,400 acres of its estate in Somerset to the open market.

The South Estate (area for market sale) at Taunton includes nine equipped farms, 11 residential properties and several farm buildings.

Much of the land proposed for sale is vacant possession, but let sales will be subject to existing tenancy terms, so tenants’ rights should be unchanged.

See also: What to do if your landlord decides to sell the farm

Malcolm Burns, head of rural at the Crown Estate, said: “We have been in touch with our tenants to reassure them that their rights will remain unaffected.

“Sales such as these play an important role in raising capital for reinvestment across our portfolio in sectors where we have the scale and expertise to outperform the market.”

In April, Farmers Weekly reported that the Crown Estate was negotiating with tenants of the Taunton estate on the sale of up to 7,000 acres.

Across the whole estate, three sales to tenants have been completed and discussions are said to be progressing with a number of others.

Located in the parishes of Neroche and Cheddon Fitzpaine, the estate has more than 20 dairy, livestock and arable holdings, including both equipped farms and bare land lettings.

Policy of selling ‘strategic’ sites

The Crown Estate has a policy of selling “non-core” farms and land to restructure its rural assets, creating larger lot sizes and modern tenancies, according to its latest annual report.

It owns about 220,000 acres of agricultural land and has total assets of £13bn, much of which is in retail and commercial property, as well as offshore wind.

The sale of strategic land sites and non-core rural land raised £209m in the year ending 31 March 2017. This included the proceeds of farm sales in Dorset and at Marlborough in Wiltshire. 

The Savernake Estate in Marlborough was sold to the owner of Ramsbury Estate in 2013 for an undisclosed sum.

The 8,700-acre estate consists mainly of agricultural land and comprises 25 agricultural holdings and 31 residential properties.

The Ramsbury Estate already had significant land holdings in Wiltshire, including 900 acres of land purchased from the Crown Estate in 2012.