Letting procedure

A holding becomes vacant as tenants move on to larger farms, retire or as their tenancy expires. Since 1984, tenancies incorporated a retirement clause requiring the tenant to retire upon the age of 65 and following the introduction of the Agricultural Tenancies Act 1995, new tenancies are typically for a predetermined length and usually for 15 years or age 65 whichever is the shorter.

Tenants must therefore plan to move either during or at the end of the tenancy and this must be evident within business plans.

Tenancies dating from before 1984 enable the tenant to continue for the whole of their lifetime should the tenant so wish, but it should be noted that Council Farms are provided as a gateway into the industry and it is hoped that all will continue to seek opportunities to move onto larger farms within the private sector.

When a holding becomes vacant it is advertised in the National Farming press and at least one local newspaper. Those interested, are asked to apply for particulars (usually for a small fee) and attend a viewing day when all potential applicants can walk the farm, view the facilities and discuss any matters which they may wish to raise with the Land Agent.

Selection procedure

Interested applicants have to submit an initial application which must include practical, financial and environmental management proposals from which a shortlist will be selected. Short-listed applicants will be visited at their place of work and those on the final shortlist will be invited to an interview.The interviewing panel may comprise a mix of officers and or members of the Council and a decision upon the appointment is usually made during the course of the interview day. 

Selection criteria for candidates

To be eligible for consideration, applicants must be able to demonstrate that they can fulfil the following conditions:

Have at least five years practical experience of farming of which up to three years of approved further education or training can be included.

Holdings are only available to persons who are prepared to farm them personally, and where houses are provided the tenant is required to reside on the holding.

Tenants should not normally engage in any form of business other than agriculture, unless the holding is referred to as a part time holding within the letting particulars, although ancillary complimentary activities or diversification will be considered and encouraged in suitable cases, based upon their merits.

Preference is always given when selecting tenants to applicants who can demonstrate that they have the most suitable practical and theoretical knowledge required for the type of farming most suited to the available holding.

Prospective tenants must be able to show that they have sufficient capital to enter a holding and work it. This can be quite substantial where an incoming tenant may be required to pay for the outgoing tenant's fixtures and fittings, entitlements, live and dead stock, sufficient to properly farm the holding.

Further information

If you wish to discuss the opportunities available on Cheshire Farms Estate, please submit your enquiries either in writing to the Cheshire Farms Service, HQ, 3rd floor, 58 Nicholas Street, Chester, Cheshire, CH1 2NP, by telephone to on (01244) 972566 or by email to cheshirefarms@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk