Cheshire Farms core purpose and management policy

Whilst management policy is focussed on the individual objectives of each Authority, Cheshire Farms Shared Service has a general aim of improving standards of estate management, maintenance and husbandry within the context of providing opportunities to suitably qualified persons to enter agriculture to commence farming on their own account.

Both Cheshire West and East Councils Estates are run independently on a commercial basis, producing an annual operational surplus and delivering capital receipts when property is sold. External partnerships can and have been forged to assist in bringing in funding and meeting these aims.

Cheshire East Borough Council

Cheshire East Council aims to retain an Estate of approximately 5,000 acres and provide a varied structure of entry level farm types and sizes, albeit with a preference for dairy farms, typically within 15 year fixed term farm business tenancies.

Service objectives include seeking continuous improvement in standards of estate management, maintenance, husbandry and stewardship of the land and endeavour to provide an example of how good estate management and best practice in farming are not mutually exclusive to good environmental practice.

To achieve this and with the aim of delivering wider benefit to the general public, Cheshire East Borough Councils reviewed the portfolio to assist develop management policy and is working to:

a) restructure the Estate towards a mature structure ratio of 3 Entry Level 1 sized farm (65 – 95 acres) to 8 Entry Level 2 sized farms (95 acres to approx. 200 acres) to improve the standard and quality of opportunities offered and promote movement through and off the Estate, improve the viability of those leading to a more sustainable service.

b) reinvest capital. A proportion of Capital Receipts achieved from the sale of properties identified as surplus to requirements in the restructuring process is available to invest in the property to modernise, expand and service farms.

c) continue to run the Estate on a commercial basis and produce an annual operational surplus.

d) explore potential sources of external funding

e) require incoming tenants to address the environmental management of holdings as part of the preparation of farm management plan submissions.

f) consult with the Public Rights Of Way Service to explore the potential for improving and expanding public access across the estate.

g) deliver good asset management practice across the portfolio

Cheshire West and Chester Borough Council

The Council carried a review and decided that it will withdraw from providing opportunities to farm over time as an operational service objective. See the full details of the review decision details and properties currently available.