Essex coast offers arable land for expansion

Almost 181ha (450 acres) of mainly arable land on the Essex coast is due to be launched in the next few days. It is expected to appeal to farmers in the area looking to expand their holdings.

Lower Farm, Brightlingsea, also contains an area of five lakes and grassland that could offer valuable alternative income, says David Brooks, partner at agent Robinson & Hall.

“My gut feeling is that the farm will go to a commercial farmer. There is no house with the land, which is mostly grade 2-3 and capable of supporting good yields of combinable crops.”

Soils are predominantly deep permeable loams and high organic matter clays (Wix and Wallasea One Associations). The arable land lies in a single block of 305 acres, about two-thirds of which is entered into arable reversion under the Countryside Stewardship Scheme. These agreements are drawing to a close, for 123 acres in September 2012 and a year later for the remaining 82 acres.

Farm buildings include a steel portal frame grain store (60ft x 40ft) with steel grain walling and ventilated floor. This has an attached workshop. while further buildings include a large covered yard, dutch barn, various redundant pig sheds and a large area of concrete hard standing and yards offering scope for alternative uses.

The arable land, buildings and about 51 acres of sea wall and saltings (low-lying marshy grassland) plus 10 acres of permanent pasture make up Lot 1, which has a guide price of £2.25m. After allowing for saltings at £500/acre, grassland at just under £2,000/acre and the buildings at £200,000 that values the arable land at about £6,500/acre.

“This is at the lower end of the scale for the area,” said Mr Brooks. “It reflects the fact that you have to make an effort to get to this part of the world and that the land will take some management to return to production.”

Lot 2 consists of 81 acres of amenity grassland, some further arable land, woodland and lakes. The grassland could be grazed and the woodland and lake could be developed into a small shoot.

There is scope to develop a commercial fishery; a certificate of Lawful use or Development exists for the two main lakes. The five lakes cover almost 15 acres and are well established. Lot 2 is guided at £400,000. (Robinson & Hall 01473 831 531)