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Farming Talk by Jack Cooper

As the leaves begin to change colour the public’s imagination is captured by the trees that inhabit the countryside. Whilst some may enjoy heading out for a stroll over a crisp carpet of leaves, landowners ought to be taking a walk to ensure those same trees will not pose an increased liability over the coming months. 

The National Tree Safety Group (NTSG) produce a document entitled Common Sense Risk Management of Trees which serves as a guide for managing the risk posed by trees on your property. Below I have summarised three points from the document which may apply to your circumstances. As with all risk management, it is important to only rely on specific advice for your circumstances, there cannot be a ‘one size fits all’ approach to such matters.

Zoning: The NTSG points to zoning as a useful management aid for land owners. This sees areas categorised according to the amount of access. Examples of higher risk areas would be those adjacent to roads, or areas which receive high numbers of visitors. It is worth noting that the Occupiers Liability Acts (1957 and 1984) place a duty of care on landowners to some extent for both ‘legal’ and ‘non-legal’ visitors (e.g. trespassers). If you are aware of informal footpaths and other non-permissive access to your land this should be taken into account. 

Inspections: The NTSG lists three ‘types’ of inspections which may be necessary (formal, informal, and detailed). Whatever regime you put it in place it is crucial that this is informed by your own specific circumstances and that it is recorded so that you can prove what action has been taken to manage the risk posed by trees on your property.   

Informal observations: Finally, anyone working on your property should be aware of the need to ‘keep a weather eye’ on trees. What the NTSG describes as ‘informal inspections’ can be made by anyone with good local knowledge. This could cover a range of people from farm employees to landowners and forestry consultants. It is worth reminding all those involved of this common responsibility. It may seem like common sense but an awareness of these issues could flag up problems before they develop into anything serious.  

Though it can seem that the administrative burden imposed by health and safety knows no limits this is an active area of enforcement following incidents and, once implemented, an inspection regime quickly becomes part of the day to day risk management common to all rural businesses.

Jack Cooper is an Assistant Land Agent, with Balfours, for more information email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Wednesday, 04 October 2017 09:47

Cottage By Name House By Nature

An attractive residence in the popular village of Clive, nine miles North of Shrewsbury has been launched to the market by Balfours.

Set within atmospheric sandstone walled gardens, Dolphin Cottage offers a four bedroom home with links across the centuries. The main and original cottage was built by a quarry master using local Grinshill stone. At a later point a Georgian rendered frontage was added making this a very grown up house.

Today accommodation comprises of an entrance hall three reception rooms, the kitchen directly linked to the dining room. There is an inner hallway with access to cloakroom, utility and staircase descending to the cellar and ascending to four bedrooms, plus a bathroom and shower room.

Duncan Scobie, of Balfours comments: “The property is in one of North Shropshire’s most popular villages, with excellent links to the north and to the midlands. The village provides primary school, medical centre and a renowned Inn.”

A double carport and large garden shed are part of the Dolphin Cottage package, marketed by Balfours with a guide price of £495,000. For more information call Duncan Scobbie on 01743 353511.

Please click here for further details.

Dolphin Cottage Main

Dolphin Cottage Garden

Dolphin Cottage front elevation

Dolphin Cottage Lounge

Friday, 29 September 2017 12:32

Great Ness, Shropshire


A meticulous Grade II Listed stone barn conversion in a hamlet setting with parkland gardens of 0.4 acres (0.16 ha).

Charming gothic style windows with equilateral mullion design generates a very unique four bedroom home.

The grade II listed Old School House may have lost its playground, but instead boasts its very own swimming pool. This little piece of architectural social history is located in the sought after village of Acton Burnell, equi-distance to Shrewsbury and Church Stretton. 

There are many wow factors and unique offerings within the characterful conversion, not least the former school room which today provides a spacious split level sitting room and dining room. Agent Scott Kemsley of Balfours says: “For anyone seeking a home with history in its very fabric, this is a wonderful opportunity; it does require some modernisation, giving the new occupant the opportunity to add their personal taste.”

The accommodation comprises of entrance hall, four reception rooms, kitchen, conservatory, three double bedrooms, with one en-suite a single bedroom and family bathroom. There is a double garage and logstore.

The swimming pool is cloistered within mature gardens, plus vegetable patch and greenhouse. The property is located centrally within the village and enjoys its own approach and parking.  Local amenities are to be found within the village with private and state school available within a seven mile radius.

The Old School House is marketed by Balfours with a guide price of £515,000. For more information call Scott Kemsley on 01743 35351.

Please click here for further details.

Old School House Main

Old School House Pool

Old School House Lounge

Old School House Dining Room

Friday, 29 September 2017 14:22

Autumn Residential Lets Are A Win Win

Autumn is the time when property owners should ensure that their homes have incumbents for the winter months.

Whatever the circumstances for a house, apartment or cottage currently being vacant, now is the time to find a tenant, at least for the winter months, says Head of Lettings at Balfours, Charlotte George, MARLA.

According to Charlotte, letting is a win win situation: “Having someone living in a property will ensure that it is kept at an ambient temperature and aired throughout the winter, minimising any risk of burst pipes and build-up of condensation.”

“It also becomes more obvious, during reduced daylight hours that a property is empty, which can increase the risk of break in. The heating can be left ticking over and lights can come on automatically, but nothing is comparable to a property being lived in.”

She adds: “Of course rather than the heating being a cost, taking on a tenant also adds an income stream, which can always be invested into improvements, before the property goes onto its next destination; be that holiday home next summer, launching to sell on the open market, or for the owner to move back in.

“At Balfours we use state of the art software to enable us to hold an extensive database of tenants who are currently searching for the right property, so finding the appropriate tenant is likely to be much easier and more satisfying than sorting out a burst pipe and the resulting damage,” she adds.

IMG 7918 - Copy


Friday, 29 September 2017 10:01

Listed Barn With River Frontage

River frontage with fishing rights and a paddock are among the assets of Oaktree Barn, Stanton Lacy, Ludlow, launched to the market by Balfours.

This beautiful barn conversion dating back to the 1740s has been meticulously maintained, reports Scott Kemsley of Balfours. He says: “While Oaktree Barn is currently used as a commercial business, residential planning permission was given, but has lapsed; casting a line to reinstate residential planning consent would make sense.”

The property has a manicured and appealing approach with parking, gardens and paddocks totalling 3.9 acres. “This is a rare opportunity to purchase a very well presented property with its own River bank and fishing rights on the River Corve,” adds Scott.

The internal layout currently provides for a kitchen and bathroom on the ground floor, together with two shop areas, which would make good reception rooms of pleasant balance and proportion. The first floor is currently used as two offices, plus a bathroom.

Oaktree Barn is situated at Stanton Lacy, which is four miles from the thriving market town of Ludlow and within commuting distance of Shrewsbury, Leominster and Bridgnorth. Excellent state and independent schools are to be found in the vicinity.

Balfours are marketing Oaktree Barn with a guide price of £425,000. For more information call Scott Kemsley on 01743 353511.

Please click here for further details.

Oaktree Barn main

Oaktree front

Oaktree  River

Oaktree  approach

Thursday, 28 September 2017 14:15

Luston, Herefordshire

A Grade II Listed period barn with the opportunity to develop into a three storey property.

Planning reference N113190/L

Monday, 25 September 2017 12:30

Longnor, Shropshire


A unique opportunity to purchase a seven bedroom house currently used as a care home in the heart of the Shropshire countryside.

Thursday, 28 September 2017 12:19

Handsome Home In Prime Location

A five bedroom double fronted property in one of Shrewsbury’s prime locations is on the market.

Found within walking distance of Shrewsbury town centre, 28 Roman Road is a property whose access is found at the head of Russell Field’s cul-de-sac. The handsome double fronted red brick house reflects its arts and crafts era of quality craftsmanship, generous design while retaining character features.

The ground floor welcome is to a traditional hallway, there are three reception rooms, plus a large kitchen breakfast room, from which double doors leading into the dining room. The kitchen also leads through to the pantry and utility room. There is also a study and downstairs cloakroom.

Head of sales at Balfours, Alistair Hilton, comments: “An endearing feature of Number 28 is the bay and bow fronted windows, to each of the reception rooms and the kitchen. The sitting room’s bay actually provides French doors to the south west facing gardens, while the dining room French doors access alfresco dining.

On the first floor the master room has an en-suite shower room and built in wardrobes. There are three further double rooms, together with a single bedroom room and a family bathroom. A character double garage completes the structural package.

Alistair adds: Number 28 is centrally placed within its own plot and gardens with equal measures extend to the front and rear. The rear garden backs on to Roman Road, while the Russel Field cul-de-sac links to the tucked away south westerly garden.

Of course the location is excellent for both private and state schooling with an excellent choice of primary and secondary schools to be found. Equally the property’s proximity to the major road networks makes 28 Roman Road a sought after.” Balfours are marketing 28 Roman Road with a guide price of £825,000, for more information call Alistair on 01743 353511.

Please click here for further details.

28 RR Main

28 RR Living Room

28 RR Kitchen

28 RR Garden

Wednesday, 27 September 2017 09:35

Where Renting Achieves Aspirations

Taking on a rented property could enable you to achieve the goals you aspire to. Satisfying specific needs for a certain point in your life with an appropriate style of property and location to suit career, family and friends of the moment, renting could be the better option without the long term commitment, says Balfours’ Head of Lettings, Charlotte George, MARLA. Here she outlines ten reasons why:

  • No maintenance costs or repair bills: When renting a property, your landlord is usually responsible for most maintenance and repair costs, meaning you don’t have the financial responsibility of getting these things fixed.
  • No large down-payment: Upon signing, renters have the better financial deal as a house with a mortgage requires a sizeable down payment compared to the usual deposit for renting a property.
  • You can keep things flexible: When you buy a house, you are usually tied down to living in that location for at least a few years. If you’re renting a property, however, you have the flexibility to move around if something changes in your life or outlook.
  • Invest money on your own terms: Choosing not to buy a home – at least for the moment – opens up other possibilities for saving and investing so you can choose exactly where your hard-earned money is going.
  • Enjoy being mortgage-free: By renting, you can put away the same amount of savings (or more) as a homeowner, but without the debt that comes with owning a property.
  • Urban or rural living at a cheaper price: Depending on where you want to live, trendy areas – such as major towns and rural locations – are typically more affordable to rent when compared to buying.
  • From farmhouses to penthouses and cottages: Homes of desirable style can be within reach when rented.
  • Decreasing property value: Property values go up and down over the years, depending on the area in which you live. By renting, there is no exposure to the risk of falling values and negative equity.
  • Excuse yourself from costly updates: As a renter, there is freedom in knowing you couldn’t remodel your home, even if you wanted to. So this is a way of saving money.
  • Insurance is cheaper: Renter’s insurance is significantly cheaper than the insurance home owners have to pay.  

Charlotte concludes: “Often, “buy versus rent” is a very one-sided debate, but I am meeting people every day where rental is the best option for their particular circumstances – and I would urge more people to think very seriously about the pros and cons of each before making a purchase which may turn into a regret.”


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