Autumn – Winter Journal 2017-18

Armitstead Barnett Appointed AMC Agents

We are delighted to announce we are now fully-appointed AMC (Agricultural Mortgage Corporation) agents.

As AMC agents we can help you to obtain tailored funding to support most rural business activities. You’ll benefit from simple, flexible and affordable lending to support your consolidation, growth or diversification plans.

AMC specialises in providing mortgage finance for agricultural, horticultural, equine and other land-based rural businesses and our team is trained to provide a full service, from explaining loan facilities offered by AMC to the completion of application forms and guidance throughout the loan process. To discuss your AMC borrowing options please call Richard D Furnival, Professional Partner in charge of AMC Agency, on 07967 647378 or

Land Required

The thirst for residential development land shows no sign of abating with both the Government and the Opposition aspiring to build more new homes, particularly those classed as ‘affordable’.

As chartered surveyors we are skilled and experienced in advising land owners in a number of areas including:

  1. Sale of their land for residential development
  2. Advice regarding entering into Option Agreements
  3. Working with promoters to facilitate a sale with planning
  4. Advice about seeking self-funded planning consent

We know there is demand for land throughout Lancashire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester and Merseyside so if you think your land has potential then please do not hesitate to send in a plan and we will happily give you our initial thoughts on a ‘no obligation’ basis.

In the first instance plans should be sent through to David Cowburn, Senior Partner on 01704 895995 or

Home Condition Report

Would you buy a second-hand car without an MOT? It’s likely the only people answering ‘no’ are mechanics or the foolhardy.

Yet many people buy a house – the biggest purchase most people will make in their lives – without a thorough report on its condition. At Armitstead Barnett we offer a service that no other surveyor offers – a Home Condition Report or a home-buyer’s MOT as we tend to call it.

A Home Condition Report provides an unbiased, common-sense approach to what can be a complex and jargon-filled field of surveying. Our MOT involves fully appraising the property room-
by-room, highlighting and photographing any issues and a conclusion which gives recommendations about further investigation and whether to seek advice from the appropriate specialists. It also includes a valuation of the property considering the issues found and also an insurance reinstatement valuation.

This Home Condition Report was developed following feedback from clients who had full structural surveys carried at considerable cost which did not tell them anything other than jargon-filled commentary relating to the foundations or roof structure of the property. At the other end of the scale a Home Buyer’s Survey, carried out on behalf of the mortgage lender, identifies very little. Its primary purpose is to confirm any mortgage offered to you is suitably secured against the value of the property.

Our Home Condition Report is already paying dividends to buyers, with one client eventually saving £50,000 on a house purchase due to issues of settlement identified in our report. So, if you are buying a new home and wish to know that everything is alright with your proposed purchase contact us for a Home Condition Report. For further information and an informal discussion please call James E. Fish, Valuation Partner on 01995 603180 or

Standing Out – Your New AB Board

Hopefully by now you will have spotted our adjusted branding!

Our old for sale boards have been replaced with brighter and bolder ones which will stand out from the hedgerows and the sea of other agents’ boards. Striving to raise the bar, we’ve also updated our stationery and show window displays throughout the firm. We feel that the colours keep hold of our rural roots but we have a fresh modern and dynamic approach to property and the new branding should sit well.

Anti-Money Laundering Update

In line with anti-money laundering legislation it’s been common practice for a number of years to require vendors to produce formal identification before we can place their property onto the market.

We are now also required to take identification from a purchaser before a sale can be agreed. Buyers are required to provide identification before they can bid at auction and identification must be produced before a tender can be opened. These changes are significant and will affect all sales transactions.

For further information please contact one of the agency team.

Basic Payment Scheme 2018 – Changes to the Greening Requirements

With the new Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) year in sight for farmers, the European Commission has recently published changes to the greening rules which will be implemented for the new 2018 BPS claim year starting on January 1, 2018.

They include but are not limited to: fungicides, bactericides, insecticides, acaricides, nematicides, rodenticides, herbicides, molluscicides, virucides, soil fumigants, insect attractants, repellents, products to improve plant resistance to pests, products to inhibit germination, products to eliminate aquatic plants and algae, desiccants and defoliants to destroy parts of plants, products to assist wound healing, products to preserve plants or plant parts after harvest, timber preservatives (for fresh wood), additives to sprays to improve the action of any other plant protection product, additives to reduce the phytotoxicity of any other plant protection product. They do not include fertilizers or timber preservatives for dried wood.

The ban applies from the time of sowing the crop, even if this is before January 1 2018, to harvesting. The ban also applies to seed dressings. Further changes are also being implemented, with the definition of EFA buffer strips now being set to include field margins. In addition to the previous rule, which only allowed buffer strips adjacent or parallel with a water course to meet the EFA requirements, farmers will now be able to claim field margins towards their EFA, dependant on the margins having a minimum width of 1 metre.

Further information and the additional changes to the BPS greening requirements, as well as a full list of banned plant protection products, can be found on the GOV.UK website. The RPA are also currently working with stakeholders to prepare full guidance for farmers on the new requirements. For further advice on this matter please contact
Simon Wells, Assistant Surveyor on 01995 603180 or

The ever-changing landscape of rural planning law

The conversion of rural buildings has been a contentious issue for many years. The updated and reclassified Permitted Development rights, Class Q (formerly class MB) allow for the change of use of an agricultural building to dwelling houses and other building operations necessary to convert the building, subject to certain criteria.

While the rights allow for conversion, a prior notification process must be undertaken with the Local Planning Authority which will consider transport and highways impacts, noise, contamination and flooding risks, and whether the building is suitable for a residential use. To meet the provisions of Class Q, buildings must:

Have been used for agriculture on the 20 March 2013, or last used for agriculture before that date

Have a collective floorspace not exceeding 450 m2

Not exceed 3 dwellings on any agricultural unit including residential garden areas

Not be applied to sites occupied under an agricultural tenancy, unless consent of both the landlord and the tenant has been obtained. Restrictions apply where the erection or extension of agricultural buildings has been carried out under GPDO on the established agricultural unit since 20th March 2013, or within 10 years before the date development under Class Q begins, whichever is the lesser

Provide for building operations reasonably necessary to convert the building to residential use; save for works extending beyond the external dimensions of the existing building.

Not be used for Listed buildings, Scheduled Monuments, buildings within the National Park and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty or Conservation areas.

The development rights create small scale development opportunities, especially on sites no longer suitable to be used for agricultural purposes. Why wait? If you want to embrace the ever-changing landscape of rural planning law and policy, please contact Emma Hodkinson, Associate Partner on 01995 603180 or

Our skills and experience mean that we can tailor our marketing strategies to suit developers and are happy to talk through the various options available. Intelligent use of online marketing, social media, computer generated images and brochures all help keep the small-to-medium sized developer competitive. Our expertise is available across the region, with offices in Cumbria, North Lancashire and South Lancashire.

Call Hannah Towers, Agency Partner on 01995 603180 or for further details.


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