Duchy land farm sell-off

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TenaNT farmers in Winmarleigh have been offered the right to buy their farms as part of a big sell-off by landowner the Duchy of Lancaster.

It is understood around 10 farmers are currently in discussions with agents after being offered the right of first refusal on the land.

The Duchy also owns other properties as part of its Winmarleigh estate, including the Patten Arms pub but it not yet clear whether it is also up for sale.

The Duchy of Lancaster is looking to reduce its rural portfolio as part of a re-organisation of assets.

In a statement Paul Clarke CVO, CEO, Duchy of Lancaster announced the Winmarleigh estate was not considered part of its long-term strategic plan and farm tenants would be given a ‘rare opportunity to purchase their steading if they so desire.”

Mr Clarke said: “As a responsible landowner – and a commercial organisation - The Duchy of Lancaster continually reviews and rebalances its rural portfolio.

“Our core objective is to ensure the greatest possible diversity and flexibility in our agricultural holdings, reinvesting as and where appropriate.”

No timescale has been given for the possible handover of land with consultation still in its early stages.

Mr Clarke added: “We are just entering into these discussions with our tenant farmers and will work with them to help them achieve their aims.”

Farmers have been reluctant to speak out over the decision but one local source, who did not wish to be named, said news of the sale had come as a ‘bolt out of the blue.’

The management of the proposed sales is being handled by rural agents Smiths Gore who run local offices in Preston.

A spokesperson for the National Farmer’s Union said they had not been contacted over the proposed sales but added it was a positive for the farmers concerned.