Cheshire Farms core purpose and management policy
Whilst management policy is focussed on the individual objectives of each Authority, detailed below, the service has a general aim to improve standards of estate management, maintenance and husbandry all within the context of providing opportunities to suitably qualified persons to enter agriculture to commence farming on their own account.
Good estate management and sound practical and profitable farming need not exclude good environmental practice or benefiting the public more widely e.g. by opening up access and encouraging take up of stewardship schemes.The Cheshire West and East Estates are run independently and on a commercial basis, producing an annual operational surplus and 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 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.
To improve 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, and the wider benefit of the general public.To achieve this, Cheshire East Borough Councils reviewed the portfolio to assist develop management policy and is working to:
a) restructure the Estate towards a mature structure 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 of opportunities offered and promote movement through and off the Estate, improve the viability of opportunities 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.