Grower sells more than 1,000ha to developer

A multimillionaire husband-and-wife team who run one of Britain’s biggest flower-production firms have sold over 1,000ha of land.

The deal was worth under £14m to Nocton, based in Lincolnshire, said managing director Paul Clarke. “We sold to a Dane who’s an investor,” said Clarke, who runs the business with his wife, finance director Anne. “He’s into production but not horticulture.” The low-lying fenland amounted to nearly half the size of the Nocton Estate, bought by the Clarkes in 1995 and used for daffodil production. “Reports that we sold for £8m are untrue: we wouldn’t let anyone through the door for that. He popped up and gave me a price. We argued for half an hour and I sold.” Clarke added that he was looking to buy land in the Oxfordshire area to be nearer to his daughter. His firm also owns over 70ha of land in Cornwall. Nocton makes around £16m turnover from around 5,000 tonnes of daffodils sold annually to clients like Marks & Spencer. It employs around 1,700 people a year. Many of these are seasonal overseas staff put up in a campus-style complex featuring accommodation and medical facilities.

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