RICS/RAU Rural Land Market Survey H1 2018

Price Expectations Deteriorate Further

The RICS/RAU Rural Land Market Survey for H1 2018 is now available. The survey points to a rather cautious near term outlook for farmland prices in conjunction with softening demand in both residential and commercial components.

That said, anecdotal evidence suggests that the market is becoming polarised between high quality land in good locations and lower grade farmland, with the former still sought after whereas conditions across the latter are proving to be more challenging.

There is a marginally increased positive trend in prices over the period, however on the whole contributors continue to believe that supply constraints, combined with political and economic uncertainty are still negatively impacting the market.

John Seed, Partner at The Brown Rural Partnership commented in the survey: “Uncertainty about the future of commercial farming and commercial land prices has yet to impact on the market and non-farming interest can absorb some slack. The land market appears to be in a period of calm or false confidence depending on your point of view. Resilience is therefore the main characteristic.”

Please click here to view the full RICS/RAU Rural Land Market Survey H1 2018.

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

Expert Witness Services

Much of our work as surveyors and valuers involves negotiation; whilst the vast majority of cases get settled, there’s always some that slip the net, leading to a dispute that can quickly escalate into litigation. The quality of expert evidence in property and commercial cases can be key to a successful outcome.

Brown Rural experts have been involved in a range of jurisdictions, including arbitration, Public Inquiries, Lands and Agricultural Land Tribunals, sometimes acting as advocate as well as expert, and a range of courts from Magistrates Courts to Crown Courts, sometimes acting a joint single expert.

There is no limit to the type of issues that individuals and corporates can fall out about, but our expertise more often than not features in disputes about property – for example boundaries and rights of way, valuation, including matrimonial division and compensation, and professional negligence.

The range of work that we undertake allows us to provide full and rounded expert opinions; thorough preparation, an understanding of the legislative context as well as Court protocols such as the Civil Procedure Rules, and regular specialist training are also necessary ingredients. There’s no substitute for court experience. Partner John Seed has given evidence at arbitration, tribunals and courts for over 30 years, and recently gave presentations to the Law Society and the Bar Council following his appearance as expert in the Manchester Justice Centre’s Pilot on “hot tubbing” (concurrent expert evidence).

John comments:

“just as nothing is predictable about the outcome of any given case, nothing concentrates the mind of an expert more than defending his or her report against aggressive cross examination. Whilst you cannot know how the court will decide a case, you must know what the court expects of you as an expert in terms of your approach to, report on, and justification of your area of expertise.”

Of course most cases get settled before proceedings commence, but those where quality expert evidence is available should settle soonest.

For further information, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Change of use from Agricultural Buildings: up to five Dwellings

The Government planning rules on conversions are changing; converting agricultural buildings into dwellings looks to set become easier and more worthwhile.

Housing Minister Dominic Raab has stated that “rural communities will be given more options to convert agricultural buildings into family homes to better meet local housing needs through planning rule changes.” The amended regulations come into force on 6 April 2018.

Changes to permitted development rights will mean the maximum number of dwellings permissible from existing agricultural buildings, such as barns, will rise from three to five. This will allow for up to 3 larger homes within a maximum of 465 square metres, up to 5 smaller homes each no larger than 100 square metres or a mix of both, within a total of no more than 5 homes, of which no more than 3 may be larger homes.

As a result of the amendment, it will now be possible to convert existing agricultural buildings into homes without needing to expressly apply for planning permission, as had previously been the case. All the rights will still be subject to conditions and limitations to control impact and to protect local amenity.

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

Basic Payment Scheme 2018

The Rural Payments service is currently open for farmers and agents to start online BPS 2018 applications, view and transfer land and entitlements. Applications need to be made before midnight on 15 May 2018. Additional details including information about the scheme rules and how to apply are available on the GOV.UK website.

The government has agreed to maintain current BPS subsidies for three years after Brexit, until the 2022 election. There will then be a transitional period in England, and Mr Gove said the payments could continue until 2024 but the length of time would be down to "consultation." For further news on this, please click here.

We have experience of assisting with BPS applications and queries relating to to the transfer of land or entitlement. If you would like further advice please do not hesitate to contact us.

Amanda Wyatt BSc (Hons)- Meet our new team member.

Welcome Amanda!

We are pleased to introduce Amanda Wyatt to The Brown Rural Partnership, as Graduate Surveyor. Amanda graduated from Salford University with a degree in Property Management and Investment, and comes to us with a wealth of experience in both residential and commercial sectors, alongside a love of all things rural.

Amanda will be working towards her APC for the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors in order to qualify as a Rural Chartered Surveyor and as well as taking the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers exams in the coming few years.

Amanda, amongst other things has experience with property sales and lettings, management and service charges, lease renewals, rent renewals and assignments, sub-lettings and surrenders. If you would like to speak to Amanda or any of our team about our services, 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

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.

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.