Row of cows at farm in Shropshire

Diversification – storage, the long and short of it

21/06/21Diversification – storage, the long and short of it

With increasing challenges facing farmers and landowners in the UK regarding land usage, it’s important to consider all the options available to you.

If you have areas of hardstanding that are not being farmed, either with crops or livestock, you may be able to put it to good use as a storage facility.

There are many opportunities for landowners to adapt their business model, to look safely after customers’ prized possessions. The outlays are comparatively low, in comparison to the potential rents charged in return.

There are always people wanting to store things – vehicles or personal belongings – and there’s a growing market for both short- and long-term storage terms.

Holiday homes

One of the most popular types of storage is off-season storage of caravans and motorhomes. This is primarily aimed at people who own these vehicles and do not have the room to store them at their premises, when they are not in use away on holiday.

Few properties have the storage capacity to have a caravan parked outside, so extra storage is needed. As a result, many farmers or private campsite owners now offer storage for caravans and motorhomes. One of the disadvantages for the landowner is that each ‘pitch’ does take up quite a lot of room.

Parking lots

Possibly preferable for landowners is storage of smaller vehicles, such as cars and motorbikes. These take up less room and can be packed in greater density on the site. There are different tips to remember when storing different types of vehicles – for example, if you’re storing a car or bike outdoors, it’s best to fit it with a protective cover.

If you are leaving a car for a prolonged stay, it’s best to disconnect the battery terminals, and leave it out of gear, with the handbrake off. This way, the car won’t seize up when comes to moving it again.

Some storage facilities, dependent on size, can also look at storing larger items, such as boats. It all depends on available space and access.

Space and access

If you’re going to adapt your land for storage, there are several things to think about. One is access. Is the land easily accessible for vehicles and if required, can owners visit the site to maintain their possessions independently? For instance, do they have to negotiate a maze of gates and pathways that they will need access to?

Decent vehicle access is required, but also the site needs hardstanding, even if it is just the plots where the vehicles are sited. This can be simply compacted limestone to create a level, solid space, or it could be cast concrete pads.

You can make the site as sophisticated or simple as you like, as long as it’s safe from aspects such as flooding. It will also need to be secure, so that intruders cannot easily access the site.

All options covered

Although it’s often easiest to store vehicles outside, it’s sometimes an option to provide undercover storage. This can either be in existing outbuildings, or in newly-built sheds, which can be rapidly erected and may not require planning permission. Some sites even have an array of shipping containers as storage, which offer weather-proof and secure storage for all sizes of item.

If you are looking to diversify and are thinking of providing short- and long-term storage solutions, it will be worth your while speaking to one of property management experts. They can appraise what space you have available and look at your options and what you need to do to get the most out of your estate.

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