A Leicestershire farm in the same family for nearly a century is continuing to diversify as it looks ahead into 2017. The partnership is currently made up of husband and wife Brian and Diane Curtis along with the two youngest of their four children. Kate Pendery and Adam Curtis.
Newtown Grange Farm, set in 200 acres of Leicestershire countryside in Newtown Unthank near Desford, is a former dairy and arable farm that still rents arable and grazing land to a local farmer. But it now runs leisure and country pursuits in the form of clay pigeon shooting and a fishing lake, and also boasts 11 offices and six light industrial units.
The clay pigeon shoot is primarily run by Adam with Kate taking on the role of landlord of the commercial property estate, Newtown Grange Farm Business Park.
Grange Farm Sporting Clays first held a charity shoot back in the late 1980s then moved on to regular 50 bird English Sporting competitions. In 1994 it registered to the CPSA and started holding 100 bird Registered English Sporting competitions twice a month.
They now have over 40 automatic clay traps and set targets along the small brook that runs through the middle of the ground and the fishing lake to cater for shooters from complete beginners to world champions.
The property diversification began in 1999, when Brian Curtis and his brother Ronald bought out a third brother and moved away from dairy farming, converting the milking parlour where they used to milk over 80 cows twice a day, into their first office development, The Dairy Block.
Since then they’ve converted the buildings they used to prepare the animal feeds into The Granary office development and the former livery area which offered stabling for 12 horses into The Stable Block. The Old Dutch barn has been transformed into six light industrial units.
Brian’s daughter Kate Pendery says: “I’ve evolved from being a horse livery girl into a business park landlord. We pride ourselves on the quality of the conversions with many of the older buildings’ original features retained – and market it as premier office space in a rural location with a relaxed and friendly but professional atmosphere.”
The industrial units are fully let, commercial property agent Fisher German has recently let 1,101 sq ft Office 6 in the former stable block to a local retail design company at an asking annual rent of £13,500. While Office 1, The Stables, a 592 sq ft ground floor office with exposed beams, original brickwork and three parking spaces, is available at a guide rent of £8,950 per annum.
Fisher German surveyor Jason Hercock says: “I’ve been impressed by the spirit of enterprise the Curtis family have shown to keep the farm sustainable and in the family for nearly a century.”
Their story has been chronicled by Brian’s dad, Thompson Curtis, in his memoirs Three Score Years and 5.