Crown Estate in talks with tenants over Taunton farm sales

The Crown Estate (CE) is negotiating with tenants of its Taunton estate in Somerset on the sale of up to 7,000 acres.

The estate, with more than 20 farms, is a mix of dairy, livestock and arable holdings including both equipped holdings and bare land lettings in the parishes of Neroche and Cheddon Fitzpaine.

The CE 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.

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“In line with our investment strategy, the CE is considering plans for its holdings in Taunton and is currently discussing potential farm sales with tenants,” said Malcolm Burns, head of rural at the CE.

“Sales such as this 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. We will continue to work closely with our tenants and local stakeholders as plans for the estate progress.”

The CE 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 ended 31 March 2017. This included the proceeds of farm sales in Dorset and at Marlborough in Wiltshire,