Gloucestershire County Council farm for auction

The first of the main tranche of holdings to be sold off by Gloucestershire County Council following a review of its estate has been launched on the market.

Cleeve Farm, near Westbury-on-Severn, has a six-bedroom farmhouse in need of refurbishment, a range of farm buildings and almost 39ha (96 acres) of land. The former dairy farm is for sale in four lots, says agent Bruton Knowles.

Lot 1 contains the farmhouse, farm buildings and 10 acres and is guided at £550-600,000. Lot 2 is 73 acres of mainly permanent pasture plus a four-bay steel frame dairy building providing parlour, dairy and cubicles as well as a silage clamp and slurry store and is guided at £450-500,000. Lots 3 and 4 are 3 and 10 acres respectively and guided at £25-30,000 and £40-50,000.

Matthew Peters of Bruton Knowles said the main interest was likely to come from farmers or equestrian lifestyle buyers. “It is in a nice rural area and competitively priced; being west of the river it is less fashionable.” (Bruton Knowles 01452 880 000)

Bruton Knowles is one of two agents appointed by Gloucestershire County Council to sell up to 38 farms earmarked for disposal over the next 14 years in response to the government spending review.

How much land will be available for farmers looking to expand remains to be seen. Gloucestershire County Council’s current plan would release about 2,300 acres into the market, but this is being reviewed annually.

“Our current plans are based on a target figure of capital income of £24m over four years. If we happen to achieve a proportion of this through the sales of development land then we would retain 10 standalone units amounting to about 1,000 acres,” says the council’s land agent, Robert Fox.

The next sale in the pipeline is Lower Mangrove Farm, Fretherne, near Gloucester, a house, buildings and 18 acres of land. In line with council policy on farms with adjoining tenancies the bare land – in this case 80 acres – has been taken on by a neighbour.

In neighbouring Somerset, bare land values soared when a County Council farm there came under the hammer in 10 lots at the end of last week. In total, the farm sold for £1.883m against the guide price of £1.185m.

Park Farm near Bridgwater included a three-bedroom farmhouse, a range of buildings and almost 51ha (126 acres) of arable, pasture and woodland. The 10 lots sold for an average of £11,298/acre.

The result reflected strong demand for land in the South West and the fact that farmers had lost land to the Hinckley Point power station expansion, said David Hebditch of Chesterton Humberts.