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Working From Home: How to Stay Productive

Following the advice in the Prime Minister’s statement on 23rd March 2020, and as responsible employers, we have made the decision to close all of our offices and work from home.

Turning your home into an office isn’t the easiest at the best of times, but it’s important to maintain a work-life balance and to separate the two. We understand many of you are in the same boat so we wanted to share our tips for getting the most out of working from home during this uncertain time.

  1. Get changed out of your pyjamas every morning and ready for work, we don’t mean you have to sit in your shirt and tie, but getting ready will help you feel motivated for the day and prevent embarrassment for any unexpected video calls.
  2. Designate a dedicated working space, ideally with a good chair to support your back and if you can with a window nearby.
  3. Get a plant in your work-space. As well as making it look nicer, a number of studies have shown that incorporating plants into the workplace can also have a positive effect on perceived productivity.
  4. Try to keep your bedroom for sleeping and relaxing, it’ll help make the work-life balance easier.
  5. Create a new routine to match your new rhythm of life, this might be doing your hair or putting on a bit of make up.
  6. Don’t snooze the alarm until the last minute, give yourself time to prepare for the day both mentally and physically, you wouldn’t roll out of bed into the office so don’t do it now.
  7. Make sure you turn all work notifications off out of working hours to switch off.
  8. Background noise isn’t always a bad thing. For some people working from home might feel a little too quiet so find a Podcast or playlist you like to listen to.
  9. Take a lunch break. Have that break in the day where you don’t think about work.
  10. Take frequent breaks, even it’s just to make a cuppa, you’d do this in an office anyway!
  11. Make virtual social plans for the evening to make sure you feel in touch with friends and family.
  12. Don’t do household chores during working hours, we know it’s easy to just put a loading of washing in, but it’s important to set aside time to do chores out of work.
  13. Keep in touch with members of your team; Whatsapp, Zoom and live documents are all a great way to work.
  14. Stay active and get outside, even if it’s a lap or two of the garden, the fresh air will work wonders!
  15. If you also have the kids at home and are juggling home schooling, we recommend getting creative with your day to keep both them and you engaged.

 

 

 

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Important Information Regarding Sheldon Bosley Knight and COVID-19 | March 18th 2020

COVID-19 is slowly gripping the residential housing market. We’re working hard to maintain full service levels to keep things going wherever possible and have a contingency plan in the likely event that our branches must temporarily close.

For the time being, we are:

  • Continuing with all viewings – where agreed with the landlord, owner, tenant, viewer and estate agent. Care is being taken to avoid those with symptoms and maintain a high level of hygiene by minimising contact with doors handles, ensuring space is maintained between bodies and urging all parties to regularly wash their hands.
  • Operating a locked door policy on our branches and limiting visitors to protect those staff who are continuing to work, thus leaving them healthy to take care of you and your property.
  • We have successfully trialled all staff working from home, should that become necessary. Our systems are all online, so the impact on our work is minimal. All of our calls are routed via PCs and answerphone messages are immediately forwarded by email so can be dealt with without delay. Progressing agreed sales in similarity is able to be undertaken remotely.
  • We’re working on a case-by-case basis to support tenants who are due to move but have been affected by self-isolation or travel restrictions. Across the industry, solicitors are hesitant to have any period of time between exchange and completion, for fear of a complete lock down. We’ll continue to assess each move on its own merits and where necessary, if agreed by both landlord and tenant, rental contracts will be extended.

Thank you for your patience and understanding during this difficult time, we assure you that we will do everything to minimise the disruption to you.

Mike Cleary

Director, Sheldon Bosley Knight

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Extending Your Home Without Planning Permission

When it comes to home extensions, planning permission can be a minefield. Fortunately, you may be covered by ‘permitted development’ rights, which allow you to extend a house without needing to apply for planning permission, as long as specific limitations and conditions are met.

Permitted development rights apply to houses only so do not cover flats, maisonettes, converted houses (e.g. barn conversions) or other buildings.

Extensions that always require planning permission

There are a number of house extensions that are not covered by permitted development rights and do require planning permission:

  • All side extensions of more than one storey.
  • All front extensions.
  • On Article 2(3) designated land, all rear extensions of more than one storey and all side extensions (including single storey).

The following rules apply for all house extensions:

  • Only half the area of land around the “original house” (as it was first built) can be covered by extensions or other buildings.
  • Extensions cannot be higher than the highest part of the existing roof.
  • Where the extension comes within two metres of the enclosed boundary of the house, the height at the eaves cannot exceed three metres.
  • Extensions cannot be built forward of the ‘principal elevation’, the elevation which fronts a highway.
  • The materials used in any exterior work must be of a similar appearance to those on the exterior of the existing house.
  • On Article 2(3) designated land (including Conservation Areas and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty) the work cannot include cladding of the exterior.

The work cannot include:

  • Verandas, balconies or raised platforms.
  • A microwave antenna (e.g. TV aerial or satellite dish).
  • A chimney, flue or soil and vent pipe.
  • Any alteration to the roof of the existing house.

Front extensions are not allowed under permitted development rights, the rights only allow side and rear house extensions. Side extensions:

  • Cannot exceed four metres in height.
  • Can only be a single storey.
  • Can only be up-to half the width of the original house.

For single storey rear extensions, the extension:

  • Cannot extend beyond the rear wall of the original house by more than four metres if a detached house; or three metres for any other house.
  • Single-storey rear extensions cannot exceed four metres in height.

For two storey rear extensions, the extension:

  • Must not extend beyond the rear wall of the original house by more than three metres or be within seven metres of any boundary opposite the rear wall of the house.
  • Roof pitch must match the existing house.
  • Any upper-floor window located in a ‘side elevation’ must be obscure-glazed, and non-opening.

Prior Approval Extensions

For houses not on designated land and subject to ‘prior approval’, the limit for single-storey rear extensions is increased to eight metres for a detached house; or six metres for any other house.

This process requires that the relevant Local Planning Authority is informed of the proposed work via a prior approval application but is not strictly a planning permission process.

If you want to exceed the permitted development right criteria or build an extension as listed above it is still possible, however an application for householder planning permission will be required.

If you have property to extend and would like to explore the options available, please contact the Planning and Architecture Team on 01789 387880 or visit the Planning and Architecture pages of our website.

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24 Hours with the Planning Team

Ever wondered what it’s like working in Planning at Sheldon Bosley Knight? This is what our Planning team worked on across one 24 hour period at Head Office.

Wednesday, 3:36pm
Application ref: 19/00311/FUL Two Storey Side Extension, Halford

A proposal was received to erect a two storey side extension and porch to the front of the property, with internal reconfiguration of the dwelling to provide additional living accommodation and storage space. The proposed extension is set back from the public highway so won’t harm the character of the street. It will be constructed from facing brick, with a plain clay tile roof to match the existing dwelling in keeping with the town’s character. As there were no objections from Statutory Consultees or neighbours, the application was granted a week earlier than expected.

Wednesday, 5:15pm
Application ref: 19/00171/F Vets Building, Swalcliffe

The next application was for a new building, relocating an existing veterinary practice from the village to an equestrian park. The aim was to diversify the existing business by providing facilities for the equine-only vet team. The Case Officer agreed that the equine practice would fit in with the onsite farrier and arena, and utilisation of these should encourage growth for all businesses involved. Due to the location within the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, a Landscape Impact Assessment was required to ensure the proposal wouldn’t have an adverse impact on its surroundings. We worked with the Landscape Officer to make minor amendments, including the insertion of bat and bird boxes on the gable ends. A Transport Assessment was also undertaken to demonstrate that relocating from the village would reduce traffic disruption from slow moving horse transport vehicles.

Thursday, 12:14pm
Application ref: APP/J3720/W/18/3215104 Appeal against Class Q Refusal, Pillerton Priors

This Class Q Prior Approval application, for the change of use from an agricultural building to a residential dwelling, was refused in September 2018. The council claimed the farm was not a solely agricultural unit because of equine buildings onsite, and that it was too close to livestock buildings still in use. Our appeal used amended plans, Statutory Declarations and letters of support from tenants to prove to the Planning Inspector that the equine buildings were let on a separate tenancy as a completely distinct unit. Evidence was also provided to demonstrate that attaching an agricultural-tie to the property would alleviate concerns about the proximity of livestock buildings. A suitably worded condition could also be attached in perpetuity through the Prior Approval process.

Project Director Natasha, said, “This was a unique situation that we had not come across before so I had to research case law to decide the best route forward. I’m so pleased that the Inspector agreed with our argument and our client received permission.”

Thursday, 2:38pm
Application ref: 19/00148/FUL Agricultural Track and the Replacement and Reorientation of an Agricultural Building

This application was for a modern agricultural building to replace an old steel unit in a state of disrepair, and to create a new track on the opposite side of the field. Vehicle tracking was produced to illustrate that the track would be wide enough for agricultural vehicles to use. The Highways Officer was presented these plans and agreed that adequate turning space was provided. There were no objections from Statutory Consultees to the replacement and reorientation of the agricultural building, so the application was approved by the Case Officer four weeks early.

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Planning Triumph in Wychavon District

In the last week, the Planning and Architecture Department at Sheldon Bosley Knight have achieved planning consent for six new dwellings in Wychavon District. On the 7th of February, full planning consent was achieved for the erection of a new dormer bungalow. On the 14th, we received Prior Approval consent for two Class Q barn conversion applications, creating a further five units.

The dormer bungalow was located on an infill plot within the village. Although the application was recommended for approval by the Case Officer, due to objections from the Ward Member, the application was referred to the planning committee for determination. The Planning Committee concluded that the proposed development was sustainably located and upheld the Officer recommendation.

The barn conversions were submitted under the Class Q prior approval mechanism, which allows agricultural buildings to be converted into residential dwellings without full planning consent – as long as they meet the criteria. The Officer accepted that the criteria had been met and approved the applications to convert Building One into two units and Building Two into three units.

If you have an infill plot that you would like to develop or a barn that you would like to convert, please contact the Planning and Architecture Team on 01789 387887 or visit the Sheldon Bosley Knight Planning and Architecture page. 

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Sheldon Bosley Knight Planning Team Win Planning Inspectorate Appeal

The Planning and Architecture department at Sheldon Bosley Knight is celebrating after receiving Planning Inspectorate approval of an appeal against Stratford-on-Avon District Council’s refusal of a change of use application.

The application, for the change of use of two pig units to storage and distribution, was initially refused. Conversion of a building for business purposes is considered acceptable in principle, subject to location, character, historic or architectural merit, being suitable for the proposed use and having been in existence for at least ten years. The refusal claimed that “the buildings, subject to this application, have evidently not been in existence for ten years and the development is therefore contrary to policy.”

Planning permission for the two units was granted in August 2011, giving a timescale of nearly eight years of sole agricultural use. In our Appeal Representations, we accepted that the ten year period hadn’t been met by two years. We argued that planning judgement should be applied to the buildings, and that any extension for the use of supplying further livestock would not be successful due to odour and environmental health concerns.

The inspector concluded that although failing to meet the policy conditions, it met other requirements through the location and character being suitable for the proposed use. The conversion would help to secure managed economic growth and contribute to the maintenance of sustainable communities in the district. It would also maintain the vitality of rural communities and strengthen rural economy, in accordance with policy and provisions of the framework. It was found that the proposal represented an appropriate use for the buildings with regard to local and national policies which seek to protect the countryside.

Congratulations to our planning and architecture team, who showed hard work and dedication to the appeal on behalf of our client. The Town Planner for this case was Lucy Pierce, while the Architectural Technician was Nadia Amietszajew.

Stratford Disctrict Core Strategy 2011-2031

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Sheldon Bosley Knight Acquires Bishops Estate Agents

We are delighted to announce that Sheldon Bosley Knight has acquired Bishops Estate Agents in Kineton.

Bishops Estate Agents was established by Debbie Burrows in 1998. The branch is situated in a prominent location within Kineton village and covers residential sales in the South Warwickshire and North Oxfordshire areas.

The acquisition opportunity came at the perfect time for both parties at the end of 2019. As Debbie was planning to retire, we were seeking a new commercial base to cover the area between our Shipston and Leamington branches. Having worked in the industry for 40 years as the first Birmingham businesswoman to establish her own residential estate agents, Debbie is a well known and popular member of the local community. We hope to maintain the trusting relationship with Bishops’ loyal customers and continue serving the village community.

On the acquisition, Debbie said:

     “I’ve been proud to have served the local community for so many years during which time I’ve made many great friends. I look forward to supporting Mike and the Sheldon Bosley Knight team as a retired Estate Agent! Thank you for your business over the last 25 years.”

We are pleased to announce that the new branch will be managed by Sara Jordan, who will be joined by sales negotiator Kathy Molan. Sara is a returning member of staff at the company, bringing with her an impressive 15 years’ experience in local estate agency. Both Kineton residents, their local knowledge and friendly manner is already proving a great asset to the company. Sara announced:

     “I’m delighted to be returning and excited to lead a new team, where a professional and personal service will be my priority. We welcome residents to pop in and meet the team.”

Kineton is now our seventh location; joining branches in Stratford-Upon-Avon, Leamington Spa, Kenilworth, Evesham and Shipston-Upon-Stour, and our brand new head office at Stratford Business and Technology Park.

We’re proud to be growing the Sheldon Bosley Knight brand and are looking forward to another exciting year in land and property!

Visit the new Kineton branch at:

3 Southam Street
Kineton
Warwickshire
CV35 0LN

01926 642200

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Sam White Qualifies as CAAV Fellow

Congratulations to our Rural Surveyor, Sam White, who is now a qualified Fellow of the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers after passing his exams in December.

The CAAV exam for fellowship consists of a rigorous two day test of practical, oral and written assessments. It covers a wide range of practice areas including landlord and tenant, utilities, diversification, planning, estate management, valuation, growing crops, machinery and livestock. CAAV members are highly regarded professionals in the countryside, providing advice and guidance to owners, occupiers and managers of rural land, property and business. Sam is now the third member of the rural team to become a qualified CAAV, alongside James Walton and Laura Gaydon, and we are delighted to be strengthening the department’s professional offering.

Sam joined the company in 2017 after we were impressed with his work during a placement with us the year before. He’s now based at our new headquarters in Stratford-upon-Avon. On the news, Sam said,

     “I am delighted to have gained this qualification following the two-day examination, and being admitted as a fellow to the CAAV will support the work I undertake on behalf of clients.”

Sam was presented with a bottle of champagne by Marcus Faulkner, Director of Rural Land Agency.  Marcus said,

     “Sam has worked incredibly hard and we are extremely proud of his achievement.  At Sheldon Bosley Knight we actively encourage ongoing professional development amongst our staff not only to enable them to progress and grow within their field but to maintain the high quality of services and advice that our clients have come to expect.”

Now a qualified agricultural valuer, Sam will be sitting his next exam in the two year process, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors Assessment of Professional Competency, later this spring.

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Horticultural Surveying Update

Horticultural production - glasshouse nursery

Sheldon Bosley Knight horticultural team have recently been very active in Horticultural surveying. Over the last couple of years we have sold glasshouse nurseries in Corston, Wiltshire, Harvington near Evesham and Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire.

The team has also been preparing valuations for nurseries across the County.  Anthony Rowland has a combination of skills, being a fully qualified RICS Registered Valuer and a qualified and experienced Horticulturalist, having operated glasshouse nurseries involved with Hydroponic tomato production, nursery stock and bedding plant production, and micropropagation of roses.  He commented:

“It is a fascinating industry to be involved with, frighteningly complicated and extremely diverse. One minute, you are looking at a small nursery involved with plant production, the next minute you are looking at a complex modern nursery costing many millions of pounds to build.”

One of the nurseries looked at was featured on The One Show on the BBC. This involved a state of the art production facility extending to 14 acres of glasshouse under one roof. The gutters were 7m off ground level, and it was almost a completely sealed environment, all designed to maximise the production of tomatoes all year round.

The other expanding area is vertical farming, where growers are producing salads on towers, to maximise production of edible crop per square metre of production area. All the time, the growers are looking for further efficiencies to drive the cost of food production down, whilst at the same time producing some of the best quality food you will ever find. What is even better, is that this production is all happening within 30 miles of Evesham.

Commercial Nursery grower

The next big area of expansion will be production of plants for medicinal purposes. Genetic engineering, genome manipulation, and mass production of plants using tissue culture production will lead to a massive change in the medium term in the way we produce pharmaceutical drugs. This will still be regarded as horticultural production, it will be based in glasshouses, and at some stage these will need to be valued for balance sheet purposes. That is where we come onto the scene as valuers.

As specialist surveyors in this sector of the profession, we are able to advise on all aspects of tenure, valuation, and agency. As Registered RICS valuers, we are able to provide valuations for secure lending purposes and can handle the sale of nurseries across the country, particularly in the midlands.

For a free initial consultation, please call Tony Rowland on 01386 765700 or email trowland@sheldonbosleyknight.co.uk.

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Collaborative Farming Arrangements

Maintaining a profit margin in farming, particularly in these uncertain terms, is to become a higher priority for most arable farmers. Joining forces with other farmers within a sensible geographic area can deliver efficiencies to achieve this end, be that through machinery sharing or more formal collaboration agreement.

The collaboration between farmers is usually formed using a limited liability company, whereby the landowners become shareholders in the farming company responsible for farming the land. The general expectation of such arrangements is that each landowner/farmer would sell their own tractors, combines and cultivation equipment, to reinvest in equipment which is suitable for the new business, generally larger and more up-to-date. Through the sales of equipment, the shareholders would fund the investment required. Bank borrowing as needed might be secured with shareholder guarantees. The new business must be set up efficiently, structured usually with a managing director, a finance director responsible for buying and selling, an operations director making decisions on cultivation and growing the crop, an agronomist/sprayer operator, and with other staff making up the team depending on the size of the overall operation.

Such a farming company might also expect to enter into Contract Farming agreements with other farmers on a formal, or adhoc basis.

Tractor working the field

Consequences for such a change will ripple beyond the sale of equipment when comparing the old and new businesses, since these arrangements are unlikely to work when every shareholder wants to be managing director. They work only if redundancies are made and work best when there is a clear hierarchy within the company, where each of the directors is clear as to their own responsibility and are chosen having regard to the skills that they offer. Ideally some landowners, or farmers wishing to retire, would be included in the arrangement such that there is sufficient land available to farm not overburdened with existing staff or overheads.

The farming company effectively acts as a contractor to each landowner/shareholder, and often the remuneration to each landowner is equalised where block cropping is adopted for the benefit of the company (provided this is consistent with crop diversification rules under BPS) and sharing drying costs, for example where disadvantages in having a larger farm are exposed in a wet summer. Sensible adjustments can be made, for example where the yield potential on one farm is greater than another.

The aims of each business are therefore secured on the back of an efficient farming operation, with an additional return to the landowner for the shareholding reflecting their ownership of the business.

Differences in each holding can be allowed for, for example where the landowner retains management responsibility for a Stewardship Scheme. Any arrangement of this nature also needs to include a clear exit strategy for any shareholder wishing to withdraw.

Sheldon Bosley Knight can assist to draw farmers together to facilitate a collaborative venture. For more information contact a member of the team on 01789 387887.

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SHELDON BOSLEY KNIGHT TURNS THE KEY ON NEW HEAD OFFICE

Sheldon Bosley Knight new Head Office Stratford upon Avon

Sheldon Bosley Knight is cementing its position at the leading edge of local Land & Property Professionals with the opening of a new central Head Office to provide unrivalled expertise under one roof.

The move follows the mergers of Sheldon Bosley with Knight & Rennie and Timothy Lea & Griffiths, and will see more than half of the company’s staff under one roof at Celixir House in Stratford-upon-Avon.

Sheldon Bosley Knight new Head Office Stratford upon Avon Celixir House

Sales and lettings offices will remain open and fully supported in their current towns of Stratford-upon-Avon, Shipston-on-Stour, Leamington Spa, Kenilworth and Evesham.

The new Head Office, on the Stratford Business & Technology Park, will be home to Sheldon Bosley Knight’s extensive professional service teams – Planning & Architectural, Commercial, Rural Land Agency and Block Management – as well as Office Administration.

Bringing these key divisions together under one roof will allow the company to work as one team.

By working more closely, staff can share resources, knowledge and expertise to improve services for clients, as Director Marcus Faulkner says:

This is a landmark moment for Sheldon Bosley Knight.

“Having more than half our staff under one roof will enable us to optimise internal operations and improve our services to the benefit of our clients.  With our multi-discipline approach, wide geographical reach and unrivalled local knowledge, Sheldon Bosley Knight provides a comprehensive range of property services coupled with a highly personalised service to support all your property needs.

The new Head Office will also be more accessible for clients and staff, a modern new base to look to the future, for a company with more than 150 years of heritage.