Agent sought for rural estate disposal

Cheshire West & Chester Council is procuring a surveyor to undertake valuation and agency work to dispose of rural property across the borough.

The £400,000 contract will run for four years with the possibility of extensions and follows the council declaration last year that it would dispose of its extensive farm estate.

The authority owns 47 farms covering around 4,600 acres and valued at around £31m but produced a return of just 0.8% last year.

The successful firm will help with the disposal of rural property including farms, cottages, land and woodland. Cash realised will be put back into the rural economy and current tenant farmers will get the first opportunity to buy at market price.

Earlier this year, the local authority sold Backford Hall and 24 acres of grounds as part of its property review to Emerson Group subsidiary Jones Homes for £5.4m subject to planning approval as part of its property review.

Cheshire County Council launched the County Farms Service in March 1908, with the idea of providing starter units for would-be farmers who did not have the capital to buy their own land.

When the service celebrated its first hundred years with the opening of the appropriately named Centenary Farm at Ridley, near Tarporley, the county had 120 farms occupying 10,000 acres throughout Cheshire generating over £1m in revenue.

The procurement is being run through the Chest North West Portal and expressions of interest are due by 1 August.

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