Hunt is on for farm conversions

FARMERS and landowners across the Haven Gateway area are being asked to identify their redundant buildings in a move to encourage their conversion for new commercial uses.

FARMERS and landowners across the Haven Gateway area are being asked to identify their redundant buildings in a move to encourage their conversion for new commercial uses.

The Haven Gateway Economic Partnership, which aims to promote economic growth in and around the Haven Ports on the rivers Stour and Orwell, has commissioned a survey from the Ipswich office of property consultants Robinson & Hall.

Over the coming days, the firm will be sending out audit forms to landowners and farmers living and working throughout south-east Suffolk and north-east Essex, asking them to identify redundant or potentially redundant buildings which could be available for commercial use.

The report will cover the entire Haven Gateway area, including the Ipswich and Colchester boroughs, Tendring district, the eastern part of Babergh and the southern part of the Suffolk Coastal district.


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Its findings will be used by the partnership to help influence planning policies and regeneration within the area and should be seen as an important part of the strategy for economic expansion and rural regeneration for many farm and rural businesses.

Robinson & Hall was chosen to prepare and distribute the questionnaire following a competitive tendering process.

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“This is a fascinating task for us,” said David Brooks, a partner at Robinson & Hall. “Government policy encourages redundant rural buildings to be made available for commercial use, so it is very important that surveys like this one help us discover what is available.”

Mr Brooks sought to assure farmers and landowners that the initiative was not intended to cause any alarm or to “catch them out” in any way.

“We want to remove the concern of any landowner or farmer from the outset,” he said. “This survey is entirely independent of planning and rating authorities. No personal or site-specific information will be in the report.

“It is simply so that we can report back to the Haven Gateway Partnership with a realistic picture of what is available for commercial use.”

The data will be broken down into size, age, type and area but not individual farms or businesses. Surveys will begin to arrive with landowners and farmers in the coming week.

Anyone with suitable buildings for commercial use and who has not been contacted by Robinsons & Hall by October 13 is asked to contact the firm on 01473 831531 to ensure their details are included. A copy of the completed audit will be available on Robinson & Hall's website, www.robinsonandhall.co.uk.

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