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Cambridgeshire's County Farms Estate

The Cambridgeshire County Farms Estate covers a vast area of land, with farms stretching from above Wisbech in the north of the county, to Littleport and Burwell in the east, and Bassingbourn in the south.

The Estate is managed by a dedicated team of rural professionals based at New Shire Hall in Alconbury.

The Estate provides significant financial returns for the council, directly contributing to the delivery of frontline services. It generates over £5 million in rent each year, with more than £50 million raised through the sale of surplus property since 1993.

The Estate supports the county council’s commitment to the development of sustainable communities by:

  • Providing a framework for local produce, goods and services.
  • Developing rural-based business opportunities throughout the county.
  • Improving and developing access for recreation, education and well-being.
  • Improving biodiversity of the natural environment.
  • Managing land in appropriate ways to address climate change challenges.
  • Providing strategic development land when appropriate.

For the people of Cambridgeshire there are also other benefits. Many farms are in some form of environmental management which increases biodiversity and improves the landscape. This also preserves the historic landscape of Cambridgeshire and provides opportunities for new public access.

Collage of county farms

Rural Estate and how we let properties

The county council has set out its commitment to the County Farms Estate by enshrining within the council’s constitution the retention and management of the Estate with the intention to:

  • Provide a ‘gateway’ into agriculture for people to operate their own business, whilst promoting the deployment of good environmental and farming practices.
  • Support its tenants whilst seeking to identify strategic development opportunities to support front line services.
  • Sustain rural communities by supporting the living, working countryside and providing opportunities for greater public access and understanding of agriculture and the natural environment.

The Estate is a valuable resource. To ensure it is farmed appropriately by its tenants the county council has established a tenant selection process, which can be found in more detail in the brochure in the ‘Becoming a tenant’ section.

The County Farms Estate has two main tenancy entry points into the estate:

  1. Starter holding - These are smaller holdings. They provide the first opportunity for starting a new farming business, on a full or part-time basis. These tenancies will usually be for a maximum of 10 years with a break at 5 years operable by either party.
  2. Progression holding - These are larger holdings for more experienced farmers. These tenancies run from 15 years upwards.

All new lettings are for a predetermined length and are let in accordance with the Agricultural Tenancies Act 1995 (as amended). On occasion, a business tenancy in accordance with the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 will be more appropriate.

The general principle is that a county council farm provides a gateway into the industry, and it is hoped that successful tenants will eventually seek opportunities to move onto larger farms on the estate or in the private sector.

Newsletter

2023 Autumn Newsletter2.54MBpdf
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