Seven Staffordshire County Council holdings up for sale

Five fully-equipped farms and two blocks of bare land have been put on the open market as part of Staffordshire County Council’s plans to sell off part of its estate.

The mixed-use livestock and dairy holdings and land lots are to be sold by informal tender through property consultant Bruton Knowles.

The council announced in February 2019 that 688ha across 16 holdings would be on offer – more than 20% of its total estate.

See also: Practical advice for tenants buying their farms

Affected farmers were given the opportunity to buy their tenanted holdings. To date, three sales have been agreed with tenants and negotiations are continuing.

Proposals for the seven properties launched by Bruton Knowles must be submitted by the end of November 2019.

More information can be found on the Staffordshire Farms website.

A further five farms are due to be sold by the consultant in early 2020.

What’s on offer?

All farms include a house and a range of buildings with vacant possession and are offered as a whole or in lots, to be determined by potential purchasers.

3 Bramshall
Located on Stone Lane, Bramshall, Uttoxeter, in East Staffordshire, this farm includes 30ha and has a guide price of £995,000.

3 Rue Barn
Covering 35ha, this holding on Cash Lane, Eccleshall, in Stafford, is guided at £1.1m.

Coppice Farm
With a guide price of £1.065m, this property at Longnor Gorse, in Stafford, includes 32ha.

Barnsbridge Farm
Located on Norbury Road in Stafford, this farm is 45ha and has a guide price of £1.35m.

2 Old Wood Farm
Covering 45ha, this holding in Blithbury, Rugeley, Lichfield, is guided at £1.25m.

Holding 4
This 21ha of bare land at 2 Old Wood in Blithbury, Rugeley, Lichfield, has a guide price of £400,000.

Holding 6
Also at 2 Old Wood in Blithbury, Rugeley, Lichfield, this 13ha of bare land is guided at £250,000.

‘Well-received opportunity’

Mark Winnington, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet member for jobs and growth, said: “The opportunity has been well-received by those tenants who are taking the opportunity to buy their own property, or to move to a larger rented farm.

“We remain committed to the remaining estate and the opportunities it provides for both those new to the industry and to experienced farmers looking to progress to something larger.”

More than 2,670ha of the farms estate, comprising 67 farms, will remain in the council’s ownership.

The council has said it believes up to £20m could be generated by the sale of “non-core” parts of the estate, to be invested in the county’s health, care and infrastructure.

Part of the income raised will also be invested in the county farms estate.

A total of 897ha were sold or otherwise disposed of by 22 smallholdings authorities between April 2016 and March 2017, according to latest figures released in the 67th Annual Report to Parliament on Local Authority Smallholdings in England.

Over the same period the year previous, the total area of county council farms in England shrank by more than 1,000ha.

The Tenant Farmers Association chief executive George Dunn said it is always a massive loss when county councils sell off their farm holdings.

He warned that local authorities must take a much more proactive approach to their management policies in order to provide important opportunities for new entrants and contribute to the wider local authority functions.