Viscount Coke, of Holkham Hall, has been confirmed as the new vice chairman of the Country Land and Business Association’s Norfolk branch.
He will be assisting Major General Sir William Cubitt, of the Honing Estate near North Walsham, who was elected to the position on Friday at the branch’s AGM at the Stanford Military Training Area, Thetford. He takes over the post from Ed Buscall, of Carbrooke Hall, near Watton, who held the role for the past two years.
Viscount Coke will offer assistance to Sir William during his two years in the role.
From a long-standing Norfolk land owning family, Sir William took over the management of his family’s 730-hectare estate after retiring from the Army in 2011 following 34 years service. The estate has been in Cubitt family ownership for over 250 years and comprises an in-hand arable farm with grazing on an 18th century Humphry Repton park, let farms, cottages and woodlands. Conservation is a high priority and the farm is currently in Environmental Stewardship at the higher level.
Said Sir William: “I am interested in all aspects of rural land management but am particularly keen on the role of landowners in the conservation and enhancement of wildlife and the landscape. I believe that landowners are long-term stewards of the countryside and so have a responsibility to look after it. To do so, they need to be able to run profitable businesses.”
Also high on his agenda is pushing the roll-out of high speed broadband across the county and tackling rural crime, such as machinery and fuel theft, and fly-tipping.
Sir William’s great-grandfather, Edward Cubitt, was one of the early growers of sugar beet in the county in the late 19th century and was involved in the 1908 establishment of the Norfolk Agricultural Station (later known as the Morley Research Centre, which became The Morley Agricultural Foundation in 2003).
His grandfather, Randall Cubitt, was one of the first to grow apples, pears and blackcurrants on a commercial scale in the county, before he was killed in the First World War along with two of his brothers.
Sir William’s great uncle, Colonel Reggie Cubitt, ran the Estate from the 1930s and was President of Norfolk CLA and Stalham Farmers’ Club. His father, Tom Cubitt, ran the Estate from 1976 with the help first of Smith Woolley and, subsequently, of Savills.
Sir William studied Agriculture at the University of Edinburgh. He is also President of the Norfolk Royal British Legion.