Cheshire Farms core purpose and management policy

1908 - 2008 Celebrating 100 years of Council Farms in Cheshire

The core purpose of Cheshire Farms Service is to provide opportunities for suitably qualified persons to start farming on their own account. In addition, the service coordinates and shares advice.

Ridley HallGood Estate Management and practical farming are not mutually exclusive to good environmental practice and benefiting to the public more widely e.g. by opening up access and encouraging take up of stewardship schemes.

The Estate is run on a commercial basis, producing an annual operational surplus and capital receipts when property is sold. The structure of the Estate is currently being reorganised with an ambition of increasing the number of larger farms by amalgamation, improving the standard and level of fixed equipment thereby improving the viability of opportunities that are offered and leading to a more sustainable service.

Dutton Dingle

External partnerships can and have been forged with both the public and private sector bringing in funding to assist in meeting these aims. Of particular note are two initiatives.

  1. One with the Environment Agency and involving the Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group which provided information about the environmental condition of individual farms, advised farmers on best practice and offered assistance in submitting applications for Stewardship schemes where appropriate.
  2. The second under the banner of the Farmsmart Initiative through the Farm Energy centre at Stoneleigh providing energy audits and advice on best practice.

Farmsmart newsletter examples

Management policy

Management policy aims to improve standards of Estate Management, maintenance and husbandry and within the context of providing opportunities to suitably qualified persons to enter agriculture to commence farming on their own account.

  • To retain an Estate of approximately 10,000 acres and provide a varied structure of farm types and sizes.
  • 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, both Cheshire West & Chester Borough Council ( CWACBC ) and Cheshire East Borough Councils ( CEBC ) the Councils are carrying out strategic reviews of the portfolios to assist develop management policy whilst continuing to:

a) Restructure the Estate, leading to a reduction in the number of starter farms (40 - 60 acres), an increase in medium (60 - 95 acres) and promotion sized farms (95 - 200 acres), to improve the standard of opportunities offered and promote movement through and off the Estate.

b) Reinvest capital. In CEBC , a proportion of Capital Receipts achieved from the sale of properties identified as surplus to requirements in the restructuring process to facilitate amalgamations has been made available and in CWACBC , a programme, independent of receipts, has also been established.

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

d) Explore potential sources of external funding.

e) Provide whole farm environmental audits for all new tenants to assist in the preparation of farm management plans.

f) In the re-letting process, consult with the Public Rights Of Way Service to explore the potential for improving and expanding public access across the estate.

g) Implement the Governments Asset Management Planning initiative.

h) Implement actions identified in the "Best Value Review" of the County Farms Service in 2002 / 03 to achieve continuous improvements to service delivery.