Uncertain Times Calls for Business Stability and Confidence

26th June 2017

As it remains unclear on how a coalition government approach to UK leadership will work, and the formal discussions on how we exit the European Union properly continue, it’s fair to say we’re living and working in a period of great uncertainty. Putting in place measures to protect your business, and livelihood, therefore are more important than ever.

Farmers need to start looking at how adaptable their business is to an ever-changing, and increasingly challenging, environment. Although many farmers and landowners are aware of diversification and the benefits it can provide, not many are maximising new opportunities to do so.

One great area for diversification is the development market, which is becoming increasingly buoyant now that land banks are depleting. This is an obvious route to spread risk and create value, whether it is via short-term land transactions with housebuilders and developers, or through the strategic promotion of land through local authority regional development plans.

Optimising the value of land encourages lenders to both support and invest in future projects, which will enable your farm business to diversify into an area which you feel maximises growth opportunity. Currently, lenders are looking for development opportunities so now is the time to speak to them, supported by the right advisors. Given the changing climate, we’ve seen several changes in our clients’ aims and requirements with a heavier focus on securing development deals and optimising the best value they can for unwanted land or land they’re keen to let out or sell.

Local authorities have become increasingly proactive and are now facilitating development which is clearly quantifying risk and encouraging a more productive market place, making development a key strategic area for many farmers to explore and diversify their business. Residential development isn’t the only opportunity, we are currently working with energy companies for instance who are developing sites for electricity storage, and therefore require the ability (and land) to do this. Landowners who, for example, can devote land (up to three acres) near substations are becoming key targets for utility providers who are eager to enter into long-term leases and pay significant rents for the rights to develop land.

What we need to have in business is a bit more robustness – businesses should focus on what they can control, rather than what they can’t, and make logical investments based on this premise. This huge focus on development really can provide a golden ticket to landowners and farmers but it’s vital to ensure you get the right advice and support before making any life-changing and long-lasting decisions.

To discuss this further, please contact Miles Crossley on milescrossley@georgefwhite.co.uk or 07894 885274.

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