“Buy land because they’ve stopped making it”, so said Mark Twain. Well SDC have done just that, all 144.147 Hectares or 357 Acres at Otterpool Lane Sellindge for £5.2 million.
Now it has been rumoured that the Chief Executive Officer of SDC James Alistair Stewart has been seen striding across his new acreage in green hunter wellies yelling at anyone who will listen “Get off my Land.” while holding a 12 bore shotgun. That’s a joke. Seriously though SDC intend to lease the land. They will possibly lease it back to the former owners. So for now the land will not be developed.
One of things SDC may well be entitled to do is claim the Basic Payment Scheme. This is a subsidy given to farmers and non-farmers – such as SDC by the EU. As of 2015 is typically worth approximately £181.81 per hectare, per annum. An income then of £26,207.84 per year, if they decide to claim it.
The land had to be purchased via what is called SDC’s Capital Reserves. As of the 31 March 2015 the balance on that reserve was £6.8m so the land purchase has used up a significant chunk of that.
What will eventually happen to the land is anyone’s guess at the moment as SDC are holding their cards close to their chest.
In the meantime, if you see a bald man about 5 foot ten inches, slightly pot bellied, striding across the land on Otterpool lane shouting, to anyone who will listen, “Get off My Land” we’d ask you to treat him kindly, not because he might be holding a 12 bore shotgun, but because now that he is the proud owner of 144.147 hectares, he may be of the thinking he has just joined the Landed Gentry and possibly having ideas above his station.