Growth in diversification leads to development at Davidson & Robertson. The changing landscape for agriculture has led to increasing demand for clients looking for diversification and development opportunities.
As a result, rural surveyors Davidson and Robertson (D&R), has seen growth of land coming to market with development potential and an increasing number of clients looking for guidance on diversification and grant led projects for the future.
With years of experience in sales and managing development projects, D&R Surveyor Joe Bell has seen an increasing number of smallholdings and building plots come to market as part of D&R’s Agency work.
Joe said “Currently, we have a wide variety of land and commercial premises available or very close to coming to market – especially in West Cumbria where we have development land at Bootle, Seaton, Crosby and further along the Solway coast at Abbeytown, some of which have already received early multiple offers. We are due to launch a fantastic hotel development opportunity in West Cumbria any time soon, as well as a diversified farming enterprise within the Lake District.
“In Carlisle, we have a 15-unit development at Greenholme with five of the first eight homes in phase 1 already under offer, phase 2 of construction is planned to start in the summer. We are also working with our Castle Douglas office on development opportunities for six units in the area.
We are also involved in sites across South West Scotland including Dumfries and Kirkcudbright, South Cumbria, North Lancashire and Yorkshire.”
D&R Director Chris Edmunds heads the Cumbrian office as well as the Planning and Development projects across the company. Chris said “Land and property owners are certainly more willing to review their options, asking us for an experienced outside view to help develop a strategy that will work best for the longer term.
“We are finding landowners are keen to explore adding value to their land for housing and other development uses including renewables. It is a different income stream, and with the changing agricultural landscape and grant support, we are able to provide strategic advice to clients by using our skill sets across a range of workstreams including assessing development opportunities, land management, utilities valuations & sales.
“To cope with the increased demand from clients, the D&R team based in Cockermouth has expanded, with the appointment of Associate Paul Robinson and Assistant Land Agent Abigail Wass who are supporting existing clients and new project opportunities.”
Paul Robinson joined as an Associate and has worked in estate management in Scotland and Northern England and also has years of experience at local authorities including Cumbria County Council and the Lake District National Park.
Chris commented, “Paul’s past experience is very helpful to clients looking at planning and development issues and we are working on around thirty projects across Cumbria and South West Scotland.
“Abigail Wass joined Davidson & Robertson as Assistant Land Agent. She has been heavily involved in Farm Business Reviews, working with farmers and landowners who have a range of issues from the loss of Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) to development opportunities, infrastructure, and renewables right across Cumbria and South West Scotland.”
D&R is working in partnership with The Laurence Gould Partnership (LGP) – 1 of 15 businesses in England to offer a farm business review under this scheme. This offers farmers a great opportunity for a free review, offering an objective, external viewpoint, helping provide clarity and a starting point for the future.
Chris said “We have been quick to offer this support to existing clients, helping gather all the information needed for the review which is undertaken free of charge with the grant funding being paid by DEFRA.
“The rounded skill set and specialists at D&R really compliment the service offering with LGP so well. We urge farming businesses to think about their business over the short term but also over a 5-to-10-year period, so as to not rush into grants which on the face of it seem good, but may hinder a more strategic approach”.
The team can also call upon other Rural Surveyors and Consultants in the business who have specialist skills in areas like property & woodland management, compulsory purchase, energy and renewables and utility claims.
For more information about diversification and development opportunities, contact 01900 268633 to speak to Chris Edmunds or Paul Robinson.