Peterborough council begins mass farm sell-off

Peterborough City Council is in the process of selling off part of its council farm portfolio to generate capital in response to financial challenges.

The rural estate covers about 1,200ha of Grade 2 and 3 arable land with 21 tenants on a mixture of farm business tenancies (FBT) and Agricultural Holdings Act (AHA) agreements.

See also: TFA warns against Peterborough council estate sell-off

Existing agricultural tenants were offered the opportunity to purchase council farms on a first-refusal basis in 2021.

The council received six expressions of interest from tenants, and four of these are expected to be accepted and purchased by the existing tenants by 31 March 2023.

An 80ha holding at Turves Farm, Peterborough, is due to be listed for sale on the open market by the council later this spring and includes a three-bedroom bungalow and grain store.

Further farms are also likely to be sold publicly in the next two years as the council’s strategy progresses.

Open for discussion

Felicity Paddick, estates and valuation manager at NPS Group, said: “We are discussing our strategy for the remainder of the estate at the moment, and we encourage tenants to come and talk to us.”

The Tenant Farmers Association said that Peterborough City Council remains open for discussion and it is also looking at selling land with vacant possession once FBTs have ended, as well as others that have the potential for development.

Recommendations were approved by the council’s cabinet on 19 December for the disposal of part of its rural estate.

The public report stated that the council will review its estate to identify holdings that it may retain for future strategic purposes including future employment, housing, or achieving carbon targets; and holdings which could be retained or disposed of and restricted to agricultural uses.