23 Jan Local family farm diversifies with support from Lloyds Bank
A fifth-generation family farm has expanded its offering to include a vineyard and event space, as well as developing residential living on site, with the support of a £1.4m funding package from Lloyds Bank.
Crowther Estates in Halstead, Essex, was conceived 100 years ago as an arable farm growing oats, barley and wheat. Following continued support from Lloyds Bank over a period of 25 years spanning three generations, the farm now harvests grapes and bottles a range of wines from its award-winning vineyard, Tuffon Hall. Tuffon Hall supplies to Waitrose and The Dorchester and has won multiple awards for its still and sparkling wines. Funding has also enabled the 16th century barn to be converted into a wedding and events venue known as the Cellar Door.
As part of the £1.4m funding package, the farm secured a £900,000 loan to take down its old, redundant grain store and replace it with two brand new houses, which it now rents out.
This loan forms the most recent part of the farm’s £1.4m funding package to date and was part of the bank’s wider commitment to lend up to £1.7bn to businesses around East of England in 2019.
As a result of its diversification, Crowther Estates estimates that it has increased turnover by 30%.
The farm is also increasing its sustainability credentials. Ground source heating is used in the barn, while solar panels and biomass energy provide renewable alternatives. In addition, efforts have been made to safeguard the area’s rich biodiversity by sowing 25 hectares with wild birdseed and nectar pollen.
Owner, Angus Crowther said: “This is an exciting new chapter for our family farm. From farming crops to producing award-winning wine, hosting celebrations in our event space and now venturing into property development, we really have come a long way over the last decade. And all of this with our children and their children in mind.
“None of this would be possible without the assistance we have received from Lloyds Bank, who have supported our growth and been by our side every step of the way.”
Richard Penford, relationship manager at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “It’s great to see pioneers like Crowther Estates in the agriculture sector branching out into production, hospitality and real estate to diversify its offering and reap the rewards.
“Supporting ambitious businesses like Crowther Estates as they develop and grow is one example of our commitment to help Britain prosper.”