RICS/RAU Rural Land Market Survey H2 2017

Demand stabilises in H2

The RICS/RAU Rural Land Market Survey for H2 2017 is now available. The survey shows a continuing decline of farmland available on the market, with the most negative reading since 2004. Indeed, 43% of respondents to the survey reported a fall in availability, for the supply of both residential and commercial units falling. The main reasons given for this were political uncertainty and the ongoing Brexit process, which it was believed would result in less land being made available for purchase.

H2 figures for the demand of farmland now show a largely stable trend. However commercial farmland demand did continue to fall slightly and anecdotal evidence suggests lower grade farmland holds more challenging conditions as opposed to higher quality land in good locations.

Looking to the future, price expectations continue to be modestly negative. The H2 survey results also show average arable land rents dipped, and although were still up by 4% on an annual basis, they are down by more than 10% compared to the 2014 peak. Average pasture land rents also waned during the second half of 2017, however only by 1%.

Lastly, average yields on investment land edged up to 1.6%, from 1.5% in the H1 2017 report; nonetheless this still equals the second lowest figure on record.

John Seed, Partner at The Brown Rural Partnership commented in the survey: “In our experience, less property generally is coming to the market, and other than for blocks of reasonable quality bare land where farming and / or non-farming interest is keen, the numbers of bids / offers is down on last year. This situation can allow purchasers to be more demanding on contract terms and therefore take more time to complete sales. Notwithstanding, we have not seen a reduction in price levels.”

Please click here to view the full RICS/RAU Rural Land Market Survey H2 2017.

If you would like to discuss selling your property or a valuation you can contact us here.

Trans-Pennine Upgrade Programme - Preferred Route Announcement

Highways England has announced its preferred route for the A57 Mottram bypass scheme, part of the £242M Trans-Pennine upgrade scheme. The objective of the scheme is to improve the connection between Manchester and Sheffield.

A four week public consultation was held and the response was that the preferred route for the A57 bypass was Option A. This preferred route includes a new dual carriageway from the terminal roundabout at the end of the M67 to a new junction on the A57 at Mottram Moor and a single carriageway link from the new junction at A57(T) Mottram Moor to a new junction on the A57 at Brookfield.

A proposal to dual the A61 will also be reconsidered, to assess what further work needs to be done. Moving forwards a further consultation on the plans will take place next year and construction work is expected to start early in 2020.

Land owners and occupiers are advised to seek professional advice at an early stage in order to mitigate the impact of the project on their assets. As Chartered Surveyors that specialise in compulsory acquisition and compensation, The Brown Rural Partnership is well placed to offer such services.

If you are affected by the Trans-Pennine Upgrade Programme, please do not hesitate to contact Michael Brighouse on 01625 442707.

The potential route and further information can be found in the attachment below.

Download Attachment

Job Opportunity

Could you be the next member of The Brown Rural partnership team?

We currently have the exciting opportunity to join our dynamic and experienced professional team in a full time, permanent role.

If you are either working towards qualifying as a chartered surveyor or hold up to 3 years post qualification experience we would be pleased to hear from you

The position available provides an excellent opportunity to be involved in a range of professional work that includes compulsory acquisition and compensation, valuation, utilities and infrastructure, property sales and acquisitions, development opportunities and estate management. Clients range from large corporate organisations through to private individuals across a wide geographical area.

Here at The Brown Rural Partnership LLP, we pride ourselves on our friendly progressive environment within which to work and develop your career.

If you would like to apply for the job please email your CV and covering letter to Jean Howie at jean@brownrural.com or for an informal and confidential discussion, call Michael Brighouse

on 01625 442707.

Rosie's Run!

The Brown Rural Partnership would like to congratulate Rosie Colton, one of our Surveyors, on completing the Snowdonia Marathon.

Rosie has raised money for Parkinson’s UK, a worthy charity that supports thousands of people living with Parkinson's, a progressive neurological condition, and whose ultimate ambition is to find a cure and improve life for everyone affected by the condition.

Well done Rosie!

RICS/RAU Rural Land Market Survey January-June 2017

RICS/RAU Rural Land Market Survey H1 2017 - Lack of clarity over post-Brexit landscape still a concern in the market

The RICS/RAU Rural Land Market Survey is the leading survey on demand, supply and prices in the farmland market. The H1 2017 report shows demand for farmland is continuing to soften across both mixed use and commercial sectors.

This is reported as the fourth consecutive report in which demand has declined, with respondents citing a lack of clarity over the post-Brexit landscape impacting the market. Anecdotal evidence suggests stronger conditions for higher quality land, with purchasers being more selective when it comes to lower grade farmland.

Looking ahead, price expectations remain in negative territory, despite H1 2017 showing the least negative reading since 2015, as expectations have turned progressively less pessimistic.

Partner John Seed commented “Whilst not exactly strong and stable, the market for farmland is more resilient than might have been expected. Reduced supply and demand underpinned by non-farmers helps to explain, but is the uncertainty about future support streams failing to articulate itself in buyers’ minds? For how long will higher stock prices following the fall in sterling mask the future outside the EU? Frankly, who knows?”

Please click here to view the full RICS/RAU Rural Land Market Survey 2017.

If you are considering selling your property or require a valuation, please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss your requirements further.

High Speed Two - Phase 2b (Crewe to Manchester)

As the promotion of HS2 - Phase 2b gathers momentum The Brown Rural Partnership will be holding a series of informal drop in sessions so you can find out more about the project, how it might affect you, the compensation schemes available and how we can assist.

The informal drop in sessions will be held on:

Wednesday 20th September 2017 between 4pm and 7pm.

at the Britannia Airport Inn (Manchester), Altrincham Road, Wilmslow SK9 4LR


Wednesday 27th September between 4pm and 7pm.

at The Canalside Conference Centre, 34-36 Brooks Lane, Middlewich, Cheshire, CW10 0JG

The drop in sessions are free and we would be grateful if you could call our team on 01625 434 696 if you wish to attend.

Please click here to view the Crewe to Manchester preferred route.

If you are affected by HS2 or any other infrastructure scheme then please contact Michael Brighouse on 01625 434 696 or you can email mgb@brownrural.com.

ISO 9001:2015

As part of The Brown Rural Partnerhsip's commitment to continual improvement we are delighted to announce that we have recently achieved ISO 9001:2015, the flagship quality management system standard. The standard has been achieved across all of the firms services and certified by Alcumus ISOQAR, a certification body accredited by United Kingdom Accreditation Services (UKAS).

The Brown Rural Partnership already prides itself on delivering value to all of its clients through the quality of service it offers and now having achieved ISO 9001:2015 we look forward to continuing to build and improve the service we provide.

Trans-pennine Manchester to Sheffield Tunnel

Potential routes for a tunnel under the Peak District National Park to connect Manchester with Sheffield have been shortlisted. Each route would connect the M60 with the M1.

The tunnel would be approximately 18 miles long and is as a result of the possibility of any new road through the Peak District being ruled out in order to protect its unique wildlife and habitat.

The new route would nearly halve journey times between Manchester and Sheffield to 30 minutes leading to economic boosts for both cities as well as surrounding areas.

Conservative MP Andrew Bingham has commented: "I welcome the work that Highways England are doing to look at the possibility of a Trans-Pennine tunnel. It is good that they are moving forward with this, although I am slightly concerned that one of the five short-listed options does not start at the end of the M67, and I will make my views on this known."

"However, this longer-term tunnel project should not deflect attention away from the urgent need for action now, rather than in 15 or 20 years’ time. I am pleased, though, to have assurances that the tunnel project is completely separate from the relief road project which has been committed to, and will not affect it at all."

The potential routes can be found in the attachment below.

Download Attachment

Mineral Update - Construction Aggregates

It is estimated that more than 5 billion tonnes of mineral products will be required by the economy and society over the next 25 years which will require challenges and opportunities from an emerging UK minerals strategy.

With non-energy minerals representing the single largest material flow in the national economy, means that it is essential for the UK minerals sector to maintain its constriction to society in the short, medium and long term.

It is imperative that a mineral strategy is maintained that will give focus to the delivery of a steady and adequate supply of minerals. Political will, adequate funding and clear policy guidance and direction are required to deliver the increased certainty and confident for the minerals sector.

Changes to the balance of primary aggregates supply are likely to increase the strategic importance of key wharf and rail depot infrastructure, reinforcing the importance of effective safeguarding policies to protect these facilities. The Port of London Authority has a users' guide to wharf safeguarding whilst Network Rail serves construction through its rail freight services.

For sustainable growth it is essential that the government resources and supports mineral planning so that it can supply the certainty and confidence which the industry requires.

As a sign of such confidence, the Breedon Group has recently acquired Hope Construction Materials to create the UK's largest independent supplier of aggregates, cement and concrete, operating on a nationwide basis. The assets of the Breedon Group include the country's biggest cement plant, 60 quarries, 27 asphalt plans, over 200 concrete plants and a major surfacing and contracting operation. The future of this business is secured for decades to come as it now has a combined mineral reserve and resources in excess of 750 million tonnes.

Bearing in mind that most of the major UK mineral operators (many of which were formerly British) are now foreign owned, it is a positive sign that a large independent UK company has emerged.

By way of contrast, Partner John Unterhalter commented that one super quarry, Glensanda in Scotland, has an equivalent reserve of 760 million tonnes of granite. In terms of reserves, this matches the total reserves of Breedon Group's 60 quarries. Glensanda which is the largest granite quarry in Europe has an annual production capacity in excess of 9 million tonnes and is only accessible by sea. It is renowned for being one of the most efficient mineral extraction operations in the world, with the granite crushed at the top of the mountain before being fed into a 300 metre deep "glory hole" and exiting the mountain through a 1.8 kilometre horizontal tunnel to the foreshore where the rock is washed, screened and stored ready for ship loading.

The quarry has its own fleet of purpose-built ships and is one of the UK's top ten tonnage ports. Some of the ships have the largest gravity-fed, self-discharging bulk carries in the world, capable of transporting 100,000 tonnes of high quality granite on each shipment directly from its dedicated harbour to customers in deep water ports around the world.

The Glensanda quarry has been in operation for 30 years. Over the years it has exported minerals to Texas, the Caribbean, Europe and even the Falkland Islands! The future for British exported granite shipments is assured but in particularly for customers with deep water ports. The London Gateway Project received an 85,000 tonne cargo which was the largest vessel of its size and draft to navigate the Thames so close to London.

Mineral exports can be as exciting as mineral development on clients' rural landholdings!

For further information, please contact John Unterhalter

A6 to Manchester Airport Relief Road

Construction of the A6 to Manchester Airport Relief Road (A6MARR) began in the Spring of 2015 providing approximately 6 miles of new dual carriageway between Hazel Grove and Manchester Airport.

As a Macclesfield based firm of Chartered Surveyors specialising in compulsory acquisition and compensation we are currently appointed by 25 landowners and occupiers that will lose land to the scheme. Collectively, these landowners and occupiers have interests in the majority of the total area of land taken by the scheme.

Can you claim compensation if you do not lose land to the new road scheme?

If the value of your property is affected by the use of the new road e.g. by noise, vibration, smells, fumes, smoke, artificial lighting, etc. you may be eligible to claim compensation under Part 1 of the Land Compensation Act 1973. Furthermore, the acquiring authority will often meet the cost of our fee for dealing with the matter on your behalf.

It is important to note that Part 1 claims (where land has not been taken) cannot be submitted until at least 12 months after the road has opened.

The route of the A6MARR Relief Road being constructed by Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council can be found here.

The Poynton Relief Road is now increasingly likely to be built, details of which can be found on the Cheshire East Council website here.

If you are interested in having us represent you on the A6MARR scheme or the Poynton Relief Road, please register your interest here and we will provide you with regular updates.


David Cameron and the Conservative government have given the green light to develop a strategy looking at options, costs and a delivery timetable for HS3.

HS3 is being designed to speed up connections between the big cities of the north from east to west in order to compliment HS2. Whilst HS2 is planned to run from London to Birmingham and then to Leeds and Manchester in two forks, HS3 would provide faster direct links across the Pennines between the two.

HS3 will mostly involve improvements being made to the existing lines. Some new track may be required as well as new tunnels, however some work may involve the improvement and re-opening of existing tunnels.

As with all infrastructure projects, land owners should be prepared in case they are affected by such schemes. Once further information becomes available and it looks like you may be affected by HS3, we recommend you contact us to act on your behalf so that we can being preparing to mitigate the affect such a scheme may have on your property and/or business.

Exceeding Sales Expectations

The Brown Rural Partnership continues to enjoy success in the selling of various types of property.

In recent months, guide prices have been exceeded (in some cases substantially) on sales of farmland, amenity land, grazing land and woodland. We have also successfully sold farmhouses on behalf of clients and continue to work hard to sell existing properties that we have available.

If you have any land or property that you wish to discuss marketing with a view to selling, we would be pleased to hear from you and encourage you to contact us. Whilst we are based in Cheshire, this does not compromise our ability to sell land and property on your behalf anywhere, particularly in the Midlands or North West.

We would also be please to hear from you if you require a valuation of your land or farm and you can read more about the level of expertise we can offer here.

Change of use from Agricultural Buildings to up to three Dwellings

The Permitted Development route for the change of use of agricultural buildings to residential, has had variable success on a national level, but remains well worth exploring.

The change of use of up to 450m² of "redundant or under-used" agricultural buildings to up to three dwellings would be permitted development, excluding National Parks, AONBs, Conservation Areas, the Broads or World Heritage Sites.

These new permitted development rights are not available where agricultural development has taken place since August 2013 using existing permitted development rights. Making use of the new permitted development rights on a unit will mean that existing permitted development rights for agricultural development on the unit would be withdrawn for 10 years.

If you have any buildings that you believe would meet the criteria set for the above, then please do not hesitate to contact us.

Congleton Link Road

Cheshire East Council has made available the route options for the proposed Congleton Link Road. The consultation documents can be found on the Cheshire East Council's website here.

Cheshire East Council intends to confirm a preferred route by Spring or Summer 2014 with the compulsory purchase process commencing later in the year. This would enable them to meet their target of commencing construction works in 2016. It therefore appears to be a rather imminent scheme on which prompt action is required to protect your interests.

The Brown Rural Partnership provides professional representation on compulsory purchase and is currently acting on behalf of over 20 landowners on the SEMMMS Relief Road scheme. We recommend you contact us if you are potentially affected by the scheme so that we can ensure you are properly advised throughout and your losses compensated fairly.

Our fees for representing you would typically be paid by the acquiring authority. Therefore, seeking professional advice is highly recommended.