Important Rural Portfolio comes to the market

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News article

Important Rural Portfolio comes to the market

April 2017

Herefordshire rural portfolio sale

One of the largest and most diverse agricultural property sales in decades – which is set to raise more than £40 million for a council – is set to start this month.

Herefordshire Council is selling its smallholding estates and properties – consisting of 59 lots – in a move to raise funds to support the delivery of priority services. 

The lots cover more than 4,000 acres and range in estimated value from around £175,000 to £2 million. Herefordshire Council hopes to raise around £40 million from the sale process which runs until July 5.

Fisher German are handling the sale of the properties which currently earn the council around £400,000 a year but have a liability of almost £3 million.

The vast majority of the properties are vacant and they include farms, smallholdings, farmland, houses and cottages.

Stuart Flint, head of agency, said the size and scope of the sale was very unusual.

“It is very rare for such a wide range of property holdings to be sold in a single process – and this sort of sale happens once every 10 years or so.

“The lots range from cottages and smallholdings, to the Grade II* listed Clearbrook Farm House at Pembridge  plus larger tracts of land and commercial farms, and the valuation process and consultation with tenants has taken more than 12 months.

“The diversity of what is on offer also makes it unusual as there are development opportunities, big houses, small houses, extensive farm building ranges, properties with river frontages and a very wide range of bare land acreages.

“The properties also run the 40 mile length of the county so the logistics have also been a challenge.”

A team of 12 staff will be working on the project, and draft contracts have already been drawn up for all the properties on offer.

Stuart added: “We have had to establish an online data room so people can access the huge amount of background and legal information which has been compiled. All the searches and enquiries have already been undertaken and all the contracts are ready and in place as the sales are by informal tender.

“At this stage we are expecting a range of interested parties. In theory one party could buy all the lots but that is perhaps unlikely given the diversity of the portfolio.

“We are expecting interest from institutions, expanding farmers, developers and local agri-businesses, as well as ‘lifestyle’ buyers and people who see this as an opportunity to take on ‘a project’ in what is a really beautiful part of the world.

“Certainly the next two months are going to be busy – but fascinating.”

Details of the sale are available here 

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