Skip to content


2023 Adisham Court Farm Tour - Adisham Court is a 600-acre arable farm (farmhouse and grain barn next to the church). See photos from the recent public tour and read all about the agriculture, conservation schemes and the farm's history. More >

A tractor ploughing a field in winter with woods visible in the distance. Credit
Ploughing on Cooting Downs. Judith Hawarden/Hawarden Farming 25 February 2021

A new town would mean significant loss of prime and versatile agricultural land at the very time our country needs it.

England has lost over 14,000 hectares of Grade 1 and 2 agricultural land to development in the past 12 years, that's equivalent to producing around 250,000 tonnes of vegetables (CPRE).

There was a 100-fold increase in building on such farmland between 2010 and 2022.

Britain is the world's third largest net importer of food and drink, according to the Food Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations - behind only China and Japan - leaving it particularly exposed to price increases and shipping delays caused by global demand, weather and crop yields.

Additionally, Brexit-related tariffs and paperwork account for roughly a third of food price increases for British households since 2019. (Source: Reuters)

Many fields in Adisham have environmental stewardship margins at the edge. These increase biodiversity (and by significantly more than, for example, a cut grass verge next to a road). They also protect the hedgerows from farming activity. They take effort and time to establish and maintain - all that work would be lost if houses were built.

A group of cows stands by a gate on a sunny day. Credit
Cattle in field, just north of Cooting Farm. Chrissy Swain

"I am in a farming partnership with the Hawarden family providing machinery, labour and management on the land that is being earmarked for development. Although I live and have my own farm in Littlebourne much of my working week is spent in Adisham. I am appalled that such a large area of productive land could possibly even be considered for concreting over. Farming is what I know, live and breath. Although some of the land in question is not of the highest quality, according to official designation, I know it produces very high yields of wheat, barley, beans, oilseed rape and oats. It is relatively easy working meaning it doesn’t need huge amounts of horsepower and fossil fuels to grow those high yields. It’s just the sort of land we should be protecting and keeping as food producing areas as the ever growing world, and UK, population increases. Once it’s concreted over it’s impossible to bring it back into food production and the food it once produced so efficiently on our doorstep will have to be grown and transported in from elsewhere (probably from land that is currently under South American rainforest as that is the only place where new farmland is ‘made’ today.)"

Comment from Robert Spencer, Garrington Farm, Littlebourne, January 2023

« Landscape | Wildlife »