Sustainable Future For Whitehall Bank Farm

A former dairy holding on the Duchy’s Needwood Estate in Staffordshire has been intelligently re-purposed and refurbished, creating a sustainable long-term future for the farmhouse, buildings and adjoining 160 acres of grazing land.

Whitehall Bank Farm was home to the Bailey family for almost 20 years until the tenants decided to retire from farming in 2019. This provided the Duchy with an opportunity to review the existing holding and future-proof it for generations to come.

A number of dilapidated and redundant farm buildings were removed as part of the project, including the old parlour, cow kennels and bull pens, while the 3 good-sized modern steel portal-framed buildings and the former stables were retained. Given the limited infrastructure on site, the Duchy took the decision to amalgamate the agricultural component with an adjacent farm and let the land to an existing tenant, thereby providing some operational efficiencies.

The traditional Staffordshire farmhouse underwent substantial reconfiguration and refurbishment according to the Duchy’s own design specification, creating an additional bedroom, ensuite bathroom, utility room and modern open plan kitchen/living space complete with double-fronted wood burner. The existing equestrian facilities were further improved and 5 acres of land retained with the farmhouse to provide a 4-bedroomed farmhouse with stables and grazing land available to let. The property was pre-let and occupied within 10 days of completion.

Commenting on the strategic approach taken at Whitehall Bank Farm, Duchy Head of Rural Carol Hawkey said: “By thinking creatively we have continued our ongoing investment in our estates, brought this historic steading back into use and given the farmhouse a new lease of life. This was quite a complicated project, but one which has resulted in a sustainable future for the holding. We now have a new long-term tenant in the farmhouse, with the functional farm buildings providing a satellite steading to the neighbouring farmer.

“All works on site were carried out by local contractors and finished to an extremely high standard. We are all very pleased with the result and wish both our farming tenant and our new residential tenants a very happy future at Whitehall Bank Farm.”

Whitehall Bank Farm is located just outside the village of Draycott-in-the-Clay and forms part of the Duchy’s Staffordshire Survey which covers 2,953 hectares concentrated largely around the area of Needwood. The Survey includes a mix of arable, dairy, sheep and beef farms as well as around 50 residential properties and a diverse mix of commercial operations including a saw mill, equestrian centres, offices and a private airfield.