Land and Farms: Arable unit to test market

By Andrew Shirley

 A NORFOLK ARABLE farm is set to be sold for the third time since the turn of the century.

Jonathan Fryer, of King”s Lynn-based firm Cruso & Wilkin is handling the latest sale of Manor Farm at Tittleshall, near Fakenham. But it also changed hands in 2000 and 2002, with Strutt & Parker the selling agent on each occasion.

 Mr Fryer said the owner, a farmer from Rutland, had bought the 541-acre farm with a view to renovating the seven-bedroom Grade 2 listed house before moving to Norfolk.

But a change in family circumstances meant that this was not possible, although much of the modernisation had already been completed.

The sale will be an interesting test of the market because it will be one of the largest disposals of land not including any entitlement to historic single farm payments.

 This is because the vendor was not in occupation during the reference period for the payment (2000-2002). A neighbouring farmer is contract farming the land.

“This provides a somewhat unique opportunity,” said Mr Fryer. “The market will dictate how the sale proceeds.”

According to Mr Fryer, the land, which comes with 2300t of sugar beet contract, is probably worth just over 2500/acre without the entitlement, about 300/acre less than if it had been included.

However, despite the discount Mr Fryer has set a guide price substantially higher than the 2.15m quoted in 2002. He said the increase in the farm”s residential value and the extra development potential of some traditional barns explained the increase to 2.55m. “The house has been substantially influenced by the residential market.”

 Norfolk”s dearth of good residential farms should help spur demand and five potential purchasers had already requested viewings even before a brochure for the farm had been produced, said Mr Fryer. “It is a really super farm.”

But anybody wanting to buy the farm as a single package will need to act quickly because Mr Fryer said he wanted to wrap up a deal before the end of April.

This was because anybody looking to establish SFP entitlements needed to be in occupation by Apr 30 to satisfy the 10-month occupation rule for making a claim for the regional area portion of the SFP in 2005.

 If the farm was not sold by then, his clients would be retaining the land and making a claim to the national reserve, he said. The house would be sold separately with about 10 acres for 1.2m.


 SHROPSHIRE AGENT Halls is putting 200 acres of grazing land under the hammer on Apr 4, just in time for the purchaser to register for the single farm payment and satisfy the 10-month occupation rule.

 The firm”s Peter Willcock is guiding the land at Bicton Hill, Clun, near Craven Arms, which has been split into three lots, at 300,000. No entitlement to historic SFP is included, but Mr Hall said this had not unduly influenced the price. “The land-based element will build up over the next seven years.”

He is selling the land on behalf of farming business ET & SK Hamar following restructuring and reckoned it would probably be bought by farmers. “It”s a strong farming area, people are committed.”

On Apr 25, Kidson Trigg will be auctioning a range of Wilts properties. Marr Green Farm at Burbage is an 85-acre executor”s sale following the death last year of local character Ike Hope, who spent his last years living as virtual recluse, according to the firm”s Martin Kidson-Trigg.

 organic greensand

Subsequently, the house requires serious renovation and is guided at 450,000 including six acres. About 74 acres of organic Pewsey Vale greensand soil is priced at 200,000, while 6.6 acres with long-term development hope value has a 50,000 price tag.

“We could have a few surprises there,” said Mr Kidson-Trigg. Preston and Whittondich Farms, 261 acres of bare land at Ramsbury, between Malborough and Hungerford, have been split into lots with a 3000/acre guide that includes the transfer of historic SFP entitlements.

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