Lincolnshire farmland attracts Far East buyer

A Lincolnshire farmer has reportedly sold 3500 acres of arable land privately to a Far East-based investment buyer originally from Denmark.

The land is part of Paul Clarke’s 7500-acre Nocton Estate on the Lincolnshire Heath, south east of Lincoln towards Sleaford.

He bought Nocton in November 1995 in what was the largest ‘ring-fenced’ sale ever recorded to a private individual and the latest deal is one of the biggest private deals in the region since then.

UK’s largest bulb producers

Since buying Nocton, Mr Clarke and his wife have built up a business that is now one of the largest UK bulb and flower producers, based on their core skill of growing daffodils and both field-grown and glasshouse flower crops.

The Clarkes are understood to be retaining the rest of the estate, which lies on lower ground, and the flower business will not be affected.

Confidentiality clause

Christopher Miles of Savills’ Norwich office, confirmed local rumours that he acted for Mr Clarke, but was unable to provide further details because of a confidentiality clause. 

It is believed that Savills also introduced the buyer, who is understood not to have bought farmland in the UK before but had signalled that he was interested in doing so.

As high as £14m

The price has not been disclosed but is unlikely that the vendors would have accepted anything but a good price, which would have been well over £10 million and probably as high as £14m.

Commercial farms in the region are ranging in value from under £3000/acre to £4500/acre depending on location, quality and whether or not they have caught the eye of a foreigner.

Irish and Danes driving market

Significant numbers of both overseas and existing farmer buyers are still looking to buy, but the market is still being driven by Danish and Irish producers, who have bought more farms in the region in the past month.

Andrew Pearce of Humberts’ Lincoln office said this interest had probably added £1000/acre to land in the Eastern Counties.

Irish owner for Crown Estate

James O’Brien of Brown & Co, who has recently launched 980 acres of Grade 2 land at Frsikney, near Boston, agreed and said both Danes and the Irish had been looking at the land, which is priced at almost £3.6m with a house and buildings

An Irishman is also believed to be buying the 1388-acres of land near Sleaford, which is part of the Crown’s Ewerby Estate.

Local rumour says that around £4000/acre was offered, excluding the two period houses.