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Penn Commercial provides efficient and proactive help in managing diversification

Penn Commercial has been successful in assisting local farmers with a number of successful diversification schemes, as the EU subsidies that were previously on offer are phased out.

With the shortage of storage space close to the Port of Felixstowe, Suffolk has seen a surge in demand for land and industrial / warehouse units. Farmers with large, under-utilised barns or other agricultural buildings are often in an ideal position to diversify into commercial property, and the increase in achievable rents is making this an increasingly attractive and financially viable option.

Many of the land holdings benefit from good access to the A14 / A12 and comprise redundant agricultural buildings, able to be converted to industrial / warehouse accommodation, with planning consent. This is often cost-effective and can provide yields of up to 10-15%.   

Where farmers have surplus land holdings, then they can apply for planning for larger ‘sheds’, which can be leased out, rather than sold; thereby remaining in family ownership and able to be managed accordingly.

Penn Commercial is pleased to be involved in several of these management scenarios:

Sycamore Farm, Bramford, Ipswich – where Penn has sourced seven tenants to occupy circa 14,000 sq. ft.

Sycamore Farm owner Graeme Keep has entrusted Penn Commercial to manage and oversee his property portfolio for eight years:

“I have absolute confidence in the quality of the service that I receive from Paul Keen and Penn Commercial in looking after my property interests. They save me a lot of work, time and money, with their efficient and proactive management of my properties.”

At Park Farm, Letheringham – where buildings comprising former chicken and hay sheds have been converted, as well as some new builds, on surplus land. 

Penn Commercial also acts for Suffolk Food Hall, on the outskirts of Ipswich, which is a prime example of successful diversification into food and recreation.

Oliver Paul, co-owner of Suffolk Food Hall, explains how the business has been thriving and growing:

How would you describe Suffolk Food Hall?

We are a comprehensive farm shop with a restaurant and a café, and a lettings business offering ancillary health and well-being services; set within the stunning Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty along the River Orwell.

Food is at the heart of what we do, and we pride ourselves on being able to tell our customers the whole story – from beast to feast, as it were.

We are a consumer-led business and so, listening to our customers, staff and suppliers is key. We are always thinking about how we can add to the experience that we offer, increasing people’s interest and, by association, their spend potential.

Customers have come to value independent retailers, and to understand the point of difference that we offer versus the multiples. Many people have discovered us, have liked what they have found and have kept coming back.

How do you see the future of retail?  

Retail is evolving to be a service. With the ‘Amazonisation’ of consumer habits, there is a golden opportunity for physical venues to stand out by doing something not available online. Some call it ‘experiential retail’.

At Suffolk Food Hall, we are clear on what we do; we are not going for the bulk of grocery spend, rather we act as an extension of people’s recreational activity.

Local independent businesses are well-placed to provide something that is led by quality and service, rather than cost and convenience.

How long has Suffolk Food Hall worked with Penn Commercial?

Since we started in 2007, we have only ever used Penn Commercial to find other businesses that subscribe to our proposition. They take the time to gain a broader understanding of our site and strategic goals, and put forward unsolicited and imaginative ideas to further the business’ outreach.

To find out more about Suffolk Food Hall, visit

Penn Commercial provides a complete service, from lettings to full property management. Please contact the team on 01473 211933 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for advice or a no obligation quotation.