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Ask the Expert by Charlie Giffard


Q: I’ve got a set of lovely old farm buildings, which are no longer fit for purpose. What are my options in terms of development?

First of all you have to consider what purpose the farm buildings lend themselves to, structure, proximity and location. The options include residential – long term or holiday; commercial – offices, workshops, storage. You have to ask how any of these uses and activities could affect the rest of your farm business and indeed your lifestyle, either positively or negatively.

Once you are comfortable that you can live and work with such a development, perhaps close by to the farmhouse, or to farm activities there is the matter of planning. How far do you want to take the farm buildings yourself? Do you want to retain ownership of the development and generate an additional income? Do you have the financial resources, time and expertise to take on such a project in addition to your farming activities? Or are you risk-averse, so perhaps it is better to take a clean break and re-invest in the farm or an alternative enterprise?

If you are to choose the latter option of selling, there are a number of ways to secure a buyer, either via the open market or a joint venture. What timescale would be acceptable to you? Whichever way the sale is conveyed protection can be put in place, to ensure the safety of your neighbouring farm assets and the current enjoyment. 

Further, don’t under estimate the potential disruption while development work is taking place, such as the need for storage and site facilities and the site set-up costs. If you chose not to develop the buildings, what will become of them?

It is likely that there will never be an easier time to gain planning on redundant farm buildings. April 2018 saw the parameters for such projects extended to five residential units, or less with greater floor space.

The soundest advice is to seek professional guidance and ensure that all stake holders and, or family members, are comfortable with the chosen route. Finally, it is worth remembering that there are a finite number of “old farm buildings” they don’t build them anymore – and diminishing supply always holds some residual value.

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Capacity audience at professional briefing


A capacity audience attended Balfours’ annual professional briefing at the Mytton and Mermaid. The Balfours Xtra event gave lawyers, accountants, bankers and other professionals involved in rural land and property matters an update on current legislation and the market place.

The whistle stop tour addressed a number of key areas in property and land management: Namely development opportunities; alternative enterprises; farming options, farm business tenancies and contract farming. Alistair Hilton and Charlie Giffard addressed the residential property market, while Charlotte George highlighted the fast changing lettings legislation.

Business manager, Craig Varley, commented: “We have very positive feedback and attendance for the Xtra, not least because whether you are serving your client by assessing the figures, or providing legal protection, our briefing goes someway to bridging the gap between the rural practice and interlinking specialist disciplines.”


shrews speakers

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Residential and Commercial Package for Sale in Shrewsbury


Step-back and look up, then step inside. That’s all it takes to be enchanted by one of Shrewsbury’s grade II* listed, half-timbered hidden gems, according to agents Balfours.

Town centre heritage – freehold home with commercial uplift

This eclectic residential and commercial package is located in Mardol, part of the town’s thriving centre; 26 and 26a Mardol currently comprises of two ground floor shops, incorporating shared kitchen and cloakroom facilities.

The first floor radiates a wow factor with its open plan half-timber living room, games room and dining room, plus separate kitchen and pantry – in all extending some 1000 square feet. There is also a porch, balcony and roof terrace to the rear.

The well placed central stairs split to provide access to two generous double bedrooms, plus a third double bedroom and family bathroom. Then there is a separate duplex annex, currently used as a rewarding holiday let. In contrast this ultra-modern annex has an open plan lounge kitchen plus two bedrooms and shower room.

Head of sales at Balfours, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. comments: “Such properties are in limited supply – it is one of those gems which make up Shrewsbury’s heritage, yet it sits anonymously, offering the incumbents superb access to Shrewsbury’s commerce and lifestyle. For anyone seeking a free-hold property in the centre of Shrewsbury this is a more than worthy candidate.”

Balfours are marketing 26/26a Mardol with a guide price of £625,000. For more information call Balfours on 01743 353511.

For further details please visit our Property Sales Page.

26 Mardol Main 



26 Mardol Kitchen

26 Mardol Annexe

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Professionals Briefing at The Balfours Xtra Seminar


How to successfully negotiate a compulsory purchase “notice to treat” was among the topics presented to some 40 Herefordshire professionals.

Compulsory purchase among rural matters briefing to professionals

The Balfours Xtra event, held in Hereford recently (Nov 27,) was aimed at linking professionals, including solicitors, bankers and accountants with aspects of rural estate management. The audience heard that as the Hereford bypass preferred route debate continues surveys, involving walking over land may be acceptable, while any invasive exploration work may give rise to compensation.

Balfours associate partner, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., based at the Whitfield office told the audience: “Where invasive work is to be undertaken access agreements should be in place. There could well be compounds required too and only too frequently the space required is more than anticipated. It is wise to employ an agent from the outset to ensure fair compensation, which will include agent fees incurred,” he adds.

Once landowners are served a notice to treat they must be on their metal to respond within 21 days. He explains: “As some will know, a notice to treat cannot be served on a solicitor or agent. It has to be on the landowner who has just 21 days to act on that notice; during lambing or potato harvest that time can soon disappear.

“Again it is advisable to seek professional guidance in responding to the notice to treat,  in order to ensure correct information is submitted – incorrect and lack of information can lead to possible penalties. Mitigating losses through compensation can be claimed by owners and most tenants, but not graziers,” he adds

Bryn explained that whilst compensation for land or property taken is set at open market value, there are additional elements that make up a claim for compensation following compulsory purchase. Such claims may include depreciation in value to retained property and for disturbance caused during the construction works.”  

Speakers also revealed the strength of the Herefordshire and borders property market, for unique properties and those with land, throughout 2018 and the lucrative opportunities of alternative enterprises, for property in the right location.

Guest, Graham Worton, Balfours speakers, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

8 Here GW CG WS

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Exclusive Barns For Sale In Shifnal


An exclusive development of four barns, in a prime location at Coalport, Shifnal has been launched to the market. Three of the four barns come with paddocks and all with stunning views, plus fibre broadband and underfloor heating on the ground floor.

Barns Exude Personality And Lifestyle Appeal

On the market with Balfours, Sonnet is the first barn to be completed. This four bedroom property enjoys imaginative living space finished to an impressive standard. The kitchen breakfast room is well equipped and includes an island and contemporary finish. The adjoining dining room and double doors to the living room offer a superb entertaining space.

On the first floor the master-room is en-suite, while the family bathroom benefits from bath and shower; Sonnet comes with gardens, front and rear terrace and a 4.1 acre paddock. It is marketed with a guide price of £649,995. 

Mapletime is marketed at £615,000 and comes with a spectacular living room, open to the eaves, with gallery landing overlooking; three of the four bedrooms are on the first floor, including master room en-suite dressing and bathroom. Other assets include private driveway, parking and generous garden, plus 1.8 acre paddock.

Agent, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.comments: “The barns are of exceptional quality and in a stunning location, within the rolling Shropshire hills and close to the River Severn. Each property has been sensitively crafted, embracing the barns’ idiosyncrasies, to enhance lifestyle in the most pleasing way. Each includes cart-shed garaging.”

Yorkdale provides a luxurious three bedroom home with a three acre paddock and guide price of £495,000. The fourth barn, Montdore, successfully expresses the enchanting history of this three bedroom barn conversion, which is marketed at £475,000, including, parking and garden.

The Barns at Coalport are found just 1.5 miles off the A41 (Bridgnorth) and located six miles from Telford, while Wolverhampton and Shrewsbury are 18 and 21 miles respectively. Four golf courses are among the many lifestyle facilities within the locality.

For further details please visit our Property Sales Page.



Sonnet Living Room

Sonnet Living Room


Sonnet Kitchen

Sonnet Kitchen







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Bubbles for Winner of Best Dressed Tree


Shropshire’s great annual Christmas tree competition has been launched with the chance to win a case of champagne.

Balfours and Tanners are once again throwing down the bauble to seek out the very best dressed Christmas tree. Abigail Barker, residential sales office manager explains: “Entering couldn’t be easier, simply upload a photo of your Christmas tree to Instagram.

“Decking out a Christmas tree is a wonderful tradition and one which every family interprets in a different way – to create a centre piece for the home.  Last year we received some wonderful entries and we are looking forward to even more this year.”

Entries close on Wednesday, December 19 and can be submitted by anyone 18 years and over, though Abbie is quick to point out that younger members of the family can of course help decorate the tree. “We have six bottles of Tanners Champagne for the winner – a true launch pad for anyone’s Christmas.” Follow instagram @balfours_propertyprofessionals and @tanners.wines and share your pictures use #balfoursbestdressed to enter or email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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