HCA seeks regional farmland manager

The Homes & Communities Agency, formed last year out of the merger of English Partnerships and the Housing Corporation, is putting its regional agricultural land management contracts out to tender for the next five years.

The two lots, one for the North and West Midlands and the other for Central and Southern England, are each worth £375,000 over the life of the contract.

The work, currently carried out by Carter Jonas in the North and Berrys in the South, entails managing land identified for disposal and development, ensuring best practice rural estate management and securing vacant possession of land as when it is ready to be sold.

Much of the land is still actively farmed and was inherited by the agency from the now defunct New Towns development corporations.

The largely 'greenfield' estate runs to 3,700 acres in the Central and Southern portfolio and 3,900 acres in the North and West Midlands.

Phil Jolly, land manager for the HCA in the North and North West, said: "We hope that one day the rules will change on developing much of this greenfield land, which tends to be urban fringe, and we will be able to dispose of plots for development."

Jolly said he did not anticipate large volumes of disposals in 2009, with any land sold likely to be to agricultural buyers.

Expressions of interest need to be registered by 27 March and the contract will begin in October 2009.

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