Tag Archive: land

Empowered People – the recipe for success

2017 was a pivotal year for George F. White. Here, our managing partner, Robyn Peat, explains the key ingredient behind such a milestone year and why 2018 presents further opportunities.

Empowered people

“2017 was a fantastic year for George F. White. A key highlight was the decision to move into Newcastle to further cultivate our Planning and Development, Energy and Commercial sectors as market developments have seen an increase in demand for a more urbanised business offering. The move was a success, and following further development within these sectors we have taken the next step and have moved into a bigger and more centralised office on Westgate Road.

Another high point of 2017, and something that will continue to be a key priority this year, is the development and expansion of our team. We appointed a range of people, from Board level positions down to junior and apprentice level roles. We added more specialists to the team, appointing a new operations director, Sally Hart, and also a new regional operations manager for GFW Letting, Donna Cheney. 11 new starters joined us when we expanded into Tyne and Wear, taking us to over 120 employees nationwide.

I often get asked, so what’s your secret to continued success, Robyn? And my answer is always the same: our team. Each team member provides clarity, direction and support to help clients make informed decisions and achieve the best outcomes. To us, this secures success and, in turn, drives growth and prosperity.

Fundamentally, our ethos is people-driven, which is why the personal and professional development of our team is vital. Another highlight of last year, was the restructure that the business went through. We wanted to support internal growth and identify new and consistent opportunities for staff and services. In Northumberland alone, 11 members of the team were given well deserved promotions, recognising the dedication, hard work and talent of the individuals within the business. The restructure has given everyone, regardless of their level or role within the business, a very clear route to progression. It has also provided leadership and management opportunities for many, and shown that the Group is committed to supporting each and every team member’s development, which is rewarded and recognised appropriately.

We’ve also introduced new and updated incentives in order to give back to the team, from extra holidays and changes to the maternity package, through to vouchers and rewards. Notably, a bonus structure has now been implemented so that all members of staff will receive a percentage of the whole business’ profits for that financial year.

Entry level employment is something we strongly believe in, too. Over the past year alone, the Alnwick office has been home to three apprentices and an Assessment of Professional Competence (APC) student. Over the past decade, we have supported 23 successful APC graduates and are currently recruiting for more across the business.

For me, investing in your people is without doubt the most important thing you can do as a business. By giving the right mentoring, training and tools to excellent people – the team – we’re able to give the right guidance and support to clients. Due to our consistent growth, we are actively recruiting, creating four new roles across the business. Our ability to grow our workforce is all down to putting our people at the centre of our ethos, and empowering skilled and nurtured people to thrive at George F. White.”

For more information about the current career opportunities at George F. White, please contact Liz Rhodes on careers@georgefwhite.co.uk

Entering 2018 with a Positive Attitude

Louis Fell comments on the outcome of 2017 and discusses what 2018 has in store for the rural sector.

Positive Approach

2017 has been a mixed year in the rural sector. We’ve seen prices generally slowly rising over the past 12 months, with most becoming higher than a year ago, but nothing that would allow significant spare funds for investment. The exchange rate has certainly helped with the BPS payments for this year, but not so on the machinery prices which continue to rise beyond all levels of affordability. Our new agricultural minister, whilst controversial, perhaps is providing some clearly guidance and steer on his perceived future for the industry; we’ve had a small victory for common sense on glyphosate use and I’m pleased to see European grant money coming forward, let’s get it used up and spent before the split from Europe.

I’ve been asked many times this year if land prices are going to come down; whilst many may like to preach the doom and gloom, we are not really seeing it. Yes, poorer land without amenity value is struggling, but in reality what we are ending up with is a market which pays a higher price for good quality, no black grass, well equipped and location driven farms and estates. This is demonstrating that investment and maintenance does relate back to capital value, rather than just short supply – pushing up prices irrespective of quality. Do I think that prices are going to slide? Not really – unless there is change in capital taxes or the housing market slows down. There is still a good deal of roll over money, inheritance tax and overseas investors seeking long term investments, either as tax savings or simply people looking to own a part of England and their own plot of land.

Development in Yorkshire is vibrant at present – we are seeing massive expansion in warehousing and commercial property, often outstripping residential values, particularly on the M62 corridor; perhaps the Northern Powerhouse will happen without interference from the south. Coupled to this is the growth in housing; although it is a shame that all schemes get dragged down a slow and laborious planning process, with everyone attempting to seek a reason not to do this.

I am very optimistic about the future and 2018, hoping that the wider public will take a more positive approach and create a more positive atmosphere relating to the current situations. There are some great farming/rural businesses in Yorkshire along with many opportunities for those seeking new incomes/businesses, however an open minded approach is needed for those that are look for the new techniques or ventures that seek to protect the business in the future. Rural businesses need to look at those sectors that are not heavily reliant on subsidies and are expanding on the back of quality production and processing; having different streams of income from different businesses which reduce a reliance on the brown envelope payment and we feel should be your focus (if not already) in 2018.

For more information regarding the rural sector, please contact Louis Fell on 01665 511995

From everyone at George F White, we wish everyone a prosperous 2018

Utility Company Access – what are your rights?

Many property occupiers will have some form of utility apparatus crossing their land, be it pylons, electric/BT poles, gas and water pipes. The rights granted to these companies are covered by many old draconian acts, dating back many years and grant certain rights to install, maintain and repair apparatus.

We have seen a sudden increase in new schemes being instigated mostly looking at renewing existing lines or replacing equipment; particularly the electric board and BT with the start of fibre optic rollout.

It’s really important that you as a land occupier know your rights and what the utility company can or can’t do. We find that in most circumstances, the operators use subcontractors who think they can just go on the land, do what they like, when they like and cause whatever damage they like.

The starting point is to look at the acts that grant the statutory powers. Is there a wayleave or easement and does that restrict them to certain rights, such as access or equipment? We have recently been involved with a scheme where the utility company needed to replace the foundations on a pylon; the easement allowed them to replace but not create a new bigger foundation; this technical issue resulted in re-negotiating a new agreement and crystallising a large claim for injurious affection. Many are also so badly planned that the landowner is the last person they speak to; in which case has the correct notice for entry been served or do they need to come in early? Can they install a compound or welfare site? Whilst many would say they can do all this, in most circumstances we find they can’t and that creates a negotiating position.

You must be really careful about what you allow them to do. So for example, if they travelling between two farms are you ensuring that they are washing down to prevent spread of livestock diseases or Black Grass seeds? Have they provided security for equipment left on site – we had one case where a pole rolled onto a sheep and killed it overnight!

In terms of compensation, the statutory position is to put you into a position that you would have been had the works not occurred. It is vital that you keep a record of all the time that you spend or your increased disturbance as a result of the works. Particularly if it’s a major pylon restring or pipeline, you will be amazed at what additional time is spent by you during the scheme and trying the remember the detail at the end is always impossible, so keep a record daily as you go on –it then becomes an unarguable point.

Finally, it impacts on any property occupier, whether you are a householder with works in the garden, farmer or commercial property owner – if they are taking entry under statutory powers make sure you are fully compensated for your losses.