Huge land plot goes on market

PUBLISHED: 13:37 25 October 2007 | UPDATED: 21:50 29 May 2010

Stebbing Farms near Dunmow goes up for sale

Stebbing Farms near Dunmow goes up for sale

FOUR thousand acres of farmland has been put up for sale and is expected to attract bids of more than £30 million. The three farms on offer represent the biggest chunk of prime Essex arable farmland to reach the market for several years, according to Stru

FOUR thousand acres of farmland has been put up for sale and is expected to attract bids of more than £30 million.

The three farms on offer represent the biggest chunk of prime Essex arable farmland to reach the market for several years, according to Strutt & Parker, the estate agents dealing with the sale.

Stebbing Farms, near Dunmow, is the biggest of the three units up for grabs. It has been described by Strutt & Parker as 2119 acres of land with some well-maintained general-purpose farm buildings, 5000 tonnes of grain storage and drying facilities and two houses.

Berners Hall Farm near Ongar has nearly 1700 acres of land with two farmhouses and five cottages.

And Paslow Hall Farm is just over 800 acres with some general purpose buildings.

The three farms are being offered individually, but will not be divided any further. Estate agent James Laing said: "In the past it has always sold as a whole.

"At a time when there has never been so much interest and demand for arable land, this represents an excellent opportunity for either an individual investor or a fund to buy a no-nonsense block of highly productive arable farmland."

The land is currently owned by a charitable trust and a range of different crops are grown, including oil seed rape, potatoes, cereals and peas.

The estate agents believe that the farms - being sold for almost £5000 an acre - will attract buyers who want to invest in arable land for its commercial use.

"This is in the prime area for wheat production in Essex," said Mr Laing. "It is likely to attract competition from arable farmers looking to move or expand and any buyer not looking for amenity, residential or sporting value alone."

Mr Laing predicted 'enormous' interest from buyers, particularly from Denmark and Ireland.

Giles Allen, from Strutt and Parker's farm agency, believes the lands main selling point is the high quality soil.

"Hanslope and Stretham soil types are both renowned for growing high yield crops. You can expect to grow four tonnes of wheat per acre.

Mr Allen added: "Two of the farms, Berners Hall and Paslow Hall, are both in a green belt area.

"Stebbing Farms is not on green belt land, but it is unlikely that it could be used for anything other than agriculture.

"All farm land is protected and you would need to get planning permission if you wanted to use the land for another purpose."

Selling a farm can be quite complicated, but Mr Allen says he hopes that the contracts will be exchanged before Christmas.

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