Rural businesses across the region be they farmers, investors or landowners know they can count on us.
For more than 250 years we have worked alongside generations of farmers in Essex and our neighbouring counties.
Our long history has allowed us to cultivate an unparalleled understanding of the agricultural and rural communities, expertise you and your family can use to preserve, unlock and enjoy the value of your business as farming continues to develop into an increasingly diverse enterprise.
Most of all our long agricultural history means we can make sure you not only receive the best possible advice but the highest level of service. You will work with someone who knows you, your family, your business and what you want to achieve as well as someone who knows the agricultural world and how it works.
And lastly, we will make sure you have access to any other advice you may need. Over the last 250 years, we have developed strong working relationships with the other professionals involved in the agricultural and rural sectors whether that’s via our membership of the CLA and Essex Agricultural Society or via our relationships with the accountants and financial services who specialise in rural and agricultural business.
- Developing farm land
- Buying and selling farms and farm land
- Wills and taxation of farming assets
- Land registration
- Agricultural grants and subsidies
- Farm tenancies
- Employing and housing farm workers
- Mortgages of farms
- Dispute resolution
- Agreements with utility undertakers
- Mobile telephone masts
- Public right of way claims
- Regulatory offences
- Renewable energy
- Limited liability partnership and companies
We know your sector inside out – so you may be surprised by how quickly we grasp your particular situation. Whatever you’re up against, rest assured you’ll get practical advice and clear answers that you need.
Example 1: Sale of Farm Land to Developers
We were asked to advise in connection with the restructuring of a large scale, long term option agreement for rural landowning clients due to a substantial change in the planning policies applicable to the site. The changes to the option negotiated with the Developer's legal representatives unlocked several parcels within the option for sale and produced substantial net proceeds for our clients.The matter involved working closely with our client's land agents and tax advisers in order to maximise value and minimise tax on the proceeds. It also involved balancing the interests of members of three generations of the same family to achieve a fair and balanced result.
Example 2: Purchase of Farm Land and Buildings
We acted for clients in the acquisition of a complex farm, with 150 acres of arable land and let buildings and cottages. Funds for the purchase were secured by a simultaneous mortgage of two further farms owned by two members of the same family. Complex issues arose in relation to satisfying the Bank's requirements and in relation to the purchase of Basic Payment Entitlements. The Seller imposed detailed development clawback provisions, providing the Seller with the right to receive a share in the future development value of the farm acquired. We successfully negotiated a number of changes to the provisions in order to mitigate their future effect on the marketability of the farm and advised the clients thoroughly on the stamp duty land tax implications.
Example 3: Public Right of Way Claim
We were consulted shortly before an objection deadline in relation to a claimed public right of way which was due to be routed through a working farm yard. The clients had left it late to seek advice. Nevertheless, we quickly investigated the background to the claim, sought Counsel's advice on specific points and lodged a detailed objection with the local authority within the relevant time limit. Our involvement at the eleventh hour led to the right of way claim being adjourned by the local authority pending further investigation. In practice the claim is unlikely to progress any further. The action that we took protected the value of the farm. More than that, it protected the commercial farming operation on site and thereby the income of the client and their family.
Example 4: Promotion Agreement
We negotiated the terms of an agreement between our clients, who were rural landowners and a planning promotion company in connection with a large residential development site. The terms of the agreement provided for the Promoter to take the risk in terms of investing a significant sum of money in preparing and submitting a planning application, with the promoter recovering their costs and an element of the proceeds on a successful sale. Planning permission was issued following entry by our clients into a section 106 agreement with the local authority in relation to which we advised. A sale was achieved and we have worked successfully with the Promoter's solicitors in order to agree a complex suite of sale documents with the Buyer's solicitors. We resolved a number of complex title and tax issues along the way, the latter in conjunction with our clients' accountants.