2013-06-17   facebook twitter rss
Planning Rule Changes Could Offer Long-Term Boost to Farm Businesses

Farmers and estate owners looking for ways to create long-term income streams should think about how the latest changes to planning rules could benefit their businesses, say specialist agricultural lenders AMC.

Changes to planning laws announced by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles last month should make it easier for farmers to convert redundant agricultural buildings for business use.

Alveley Development

Alveley Development

Under the new rules, farmers could develop shops, offices, industrial units or other commercial properties more easily, giving them the chance to develop long-term income streams.

“This announcement is potentially very good news for land owners and farmers who are thinking about ways to diversify their business and secure their incomes into the future,” says Head of AMC, Jonathan Allright.

“Making use of existing buildings and diversifying them into a new income stream could help strengthen agricultural businesses and many AMC customers have converted redundant properties in the past, creating successful B&B’s, farm shops, commercial buildings or light industrial units for example.”

In 2009 the Pitt family converted a range of redundant farm buildings on their 1000-acre Alveley estate at Bridgnorth in Shropshire, to create high quality self-catering accommodation.

Harry Pitt says that the decision was not taken lightly but with the right market research and a solid business plan they were able to secure funding and develop the project. He remains convinced that the investment was the right thing for his business for the long-term, with the new accommodation delivering a strong income stream from otherwise non-productive buildings.

“We are extremely pleased with the final result in terms of the quality of the accommodation and the level of repeat business,” says Mr Pitt. “This demonstrates that the decision to diversify in this way was the right one for us and has helped to improve the future viability of our family estate.”

Jonathan Allright, Head of AMC adds: “On some measures interest rates are at their lowest since 1957 and with 10-year fixed-rates being especially competitive, this could be a great option that naturally suits the payback period for many projects relating to converting redundant buildings.”

Alveley New Barn

Alveley New Barn

With the proposed changes to planning regulations, an increase in Annual Investment Allowances and interest rates at historic lows, now could be a good time to consider investing in your business in a cost-effective way.

AMC works with over 250 land agents across the UK, many of whom will be able to offer advice in relation to the changes in planning regulations relating to farm buildings and how to convert them.


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