Colchester farmer becomes chairman of Essex branch of CLA

CHARLES Gooch, who farms in Elmstead Market, near Colchester is the new chairman of the Essex county branch of the Country Land and Business Association (CLA).

Mr Gooch, 48, has much work ahead over the next two years. Just some of the responsibilities will involve promoting sustainable fuels, protecting property rights, working to achieve more affordable rural housing and promoting local foods and services. He will be lobbying on coastal defence, encouraging rural diversification to create local jobs in the rural economy and working with Essex County Council on its green energy initiatives.

“Representing the owners and managers of land and rural businesses of all types, I have a very wide remit,” explains Mr Gooch, “especially as there are so many demands on the countryside, coming from all directions. I am very much looking forward to the challenge.”

Charles Gooch gained a diploma in rural estate management at Cirencester and qualified whilst working as a land agent for the Fitzwilliam family in Cambridgeshire. He then worked with farming and estate management specialists Strutt and Parker in Ipswich and Chelmsford, before coming home to run the 600 hectare family estate near Colchester.

His farm is a combination of mainly irrigated arable land growing cereals, potatoes and onions, as well as grassland managed under higher level stewardship - one of the government’s environmental schemes. Income has been diversified in the form of buildings converted to industrial units as well as residential lets.

Mr Gooch is married to Claire and they have three children.