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No levy on small residential developments back on table

16/05/2016

Plans to exempt small development sites, of less than ten residential units, from affordable housing charges are potentially back on the table. The decision has received a cautious welcome in Shropshire from a leading agent.

The latest change is the result of the Court of Appeal’s decision, this month, to back the Government removing affordable housing contributions from residential sites of less than ten units.

Tim Main, head of sales at Balfours, is carefully optimistic: “This is a good decision for landowners seeking to market or develop plots of ten homes or less in the future. It paves the way for more housebuilding on smaller sites and that will get homes built more easily.

The government has issued a statement in which they state that the appeal decision has restored the government’s policy concerning affordable housing contributions, however as yet the planning policy guidance has not be updated, which is likely to cause uncertainty and further delays, both to those wanting to progress a development and for homes on much needed new small development sites.”

The ruling is the result of the Government’s appeal, challenging last year’s court ruling; namely that the Government could not remove the right of Councils to charge these levies. Housing and Planning Minister Brandon Lewis branded the case “a total waste of taxpayers’ money and the uncertainty the case created amongst housebuilders stalled new development from coming through.”

Mr Lewis says: “I hope councils focus their time and money on delivering the front line service that their residents rely on and helping support new housebuilding in their areas that is very much needed.”

In the case of Shropshire Council it has opted to adopt a policy charging affordable housing contributions, on smaller plots, which would now appear to be contrary to the government’s policy. Mr Main adds: “We will need to wait to see what weight councils give the new policy in their decision making process

“Ultimately for landowners this could be a significant change and brings us back to the Government statement of 2014 – which should be good news and could save landowners seeking to develop and market small plots tens of thousands of pounds.”

Mr Main highlighted one Shropshire site he had visited this week with potential for six new homes, where the ruling could save the landowner some £100,000 in affordable housing levy; a significant uplift potentially making such a development a commercial reality.

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Rural, spacious and gorgeous views

13/05/2016

A farmhouse with three double bedrooms is to let with Balfours. Llys Farmhouse is situated on the outskirts of Llanfechain, and just three miles from Llansantffraid which offers a primary school and other local services.

The property provides a traditional large farmhouse kitchen/diner with Rayburn and pantry. An inner hallway leads to the sitting room and downstairs bathroom. There are three double bedrooms and a boot room. Central heating is oil fired.

Llys Farmhouse benefits from far reaching views over the surrounding countryside. There is a lawned garden and ample parking. Llys Farmhouse is offered at £700 pcm, for more information call Charlotte George on 01743 277069.

Please click here for further details.

 

Llys Farmhouse Main

Llys Kitchen

LLys bedroom 1

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Heritage retreat for every mood

10/05/2016

The perfect blend of heritage and contemporary design are on offer within walking distance, just north, of Shrewsbury town centre.

Portland Villa is a fine example of an Edwardian town house, located in the popular area of Mountfields, near Frankwell. It provides four bedrooms over two floors, with the master room being en-suite plus there is a luxurious family bathroom.

On the ground floor there are two reception rooms, each accessed from the entrance hall. The living room is a well-balanced room with bay window to the front. The dining room opens through to a charming garden style room, linking to the kitchen and through French doors to the garden. The kitchen itself is fitted with integrated fridges, dishwasher and SMEG oven.

Balfours town sales agent, Alistair Hilton, enthuses: “The current owners have been successful in combining heritage with contemporary. The house has many period architectural features, yet space and natural light are both maximised, while creating a variety of moods.”

The walled garden area is designed for maximum relaxation and effect with minimal gardening so that full use can be made of a built in outdoor day bed and hidden storage. A downstairs cloak, single garage and on street parking area are also part of the package. Portland Villa is marketed by Balfours with a guide price of £399,000. For more information call Alistair Hilton on 01743 353511.

Please click here for further details.

Portland main

Portland Garden

Portland Dining Area

Portland Kitchen

Portland Master Bedroom

Portland Bathroom

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Through the wardrobe into the valley of Kings

06/05/2016

A south facing garden, in one of Shrewsbury’s most sought after locations has been launched to the market.

Edgehill, Kennedy Road, stands in the conservation area of Kingsland Valley among a mature leafy landscape. The driveway approach is softly landscaped with traditional garden. Centre stage to the ensemble is the beckoning of the front door beyond which the hallway provides the first glimpse of the treat instore, through the arched French door glazing.

Stepping through the arched glazing provides an experience akin to the Pevensie children of the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, the south facing terrace and garden beyond stretch out enticingly to the Rad Brook, among the treeline below. And partway down, another chapter of Edgehill is found in the summerhouse nestled on a second terrace. Of course at the bottom Lucy, Edmund and sibblings can delight in trees and stream.

Returning to the grown up terrace with stone balustrade where the height of summer is celebrated with G&T this atmosphere is serviced by five reception rooms. The formal sitting room and dining room each boast their own arched glazed French door features. While the snug links with the kitchen. Beyond the kitchen the orangery provides a panoramic outlook from which to spy Kingsland Valley’s wildlife; lions excluded.

The first floor provides four bedrooms, the master suite with dressing room and en-suite facilities, plus a further family bathroom.  A spiral staircase rises from the Orangery to the music room above – a very separate space where do not disturb can be mutually beneficial.

On the market with Balfours, town sales manager, Alistair Hilton says: “This is a fabulous and rare opportunity to acquire a family home which offers so much. Its location is of course sandwiched between several private schools of high repute. It is also just a mile from the old bypass which provides easy access to both the Midlands and to Manchester and Liverpool in the north.”

With the town centre of Shrewsbury and The Quarry Park both a short walk with the many amenities on offer Edgehill is an opportunity to embrace lifestyle and good living. Edgehill is marketed with a guide price of £1,100,000. For more information call Alistair Hilton on 01743 353511.

Please click here for further details.

Edgehill 3

Edgehill 4

Edgehill 1

Edgehill 2

Edgehill 5

Edgehill 6

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Edgehill 8

Edgehill 9

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Water Abstraction – ‘Use it or lose it’

28/04/2016

The Environment Agency now seems to be following up on Defra’s response, earlier in the year, to the consultation on reforming the Water Abstraction Management System.  The EA is beginning to tackle unused licences as part of a longer term reform of Abstraction Licences as outlined in the consultation.  They have written to hundreds of holders of licences that have been unused in the last 10 years and asked to confirm if they still need the licence and to produce suitable evidence showing why they wish to retain it.

The response to the consultation gives the intention that by the early 2020s replacement abstraction permits will be issued with permitted volumes that are based on abstractor’s usage over the previous 10 years:  

‘The historical assessment period we use for calculating recent actual abstraction will also have an impact on the permitted volume that abstractors receive in the new system. We want to ensure that the final choice meets the following criteria:

• Matches with robust records of abstraction held by the Environment Agency.
• Is long enough to capture normal variations, for example crop rotations.
• Includes significant dry periods.

Unused volumes will be removed, although subject to appeal...and with no compensation payable.

Furthermore, permits will not be time limited, however, will have flow based controls to protect the environment that will restrict abstraction.  Exemptions from the need for Abstraction Licences are also to be reformed and be brought under the licensing system.

In essence it appears that abstraction volumes will be reduced and the Environment Agency will have much greater flexibility and control to prevent abstraction when they feel that abstraction poses a risk to the environment.  A glimmer of light, however, was given in the consultation response where it was stated that:

“At any time when flows are high, abstractors will be allowed to take water to store it. There will be no seasonal permits. The new permits will allow abstractors to take water at any time when flows are high meaning they can store it for when flows are low and make better use of reservoirs.

”This appears to be a sensible approach, however, requires that you either have a reservoir to hand or to invest considerable capital in water storage facilities, an investment that will be very hard to justify with today’s commodity prices. Richard Corbet is an associate partner with Balfours.

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Will the annexe to a main house attract additional 3% stamp duty?

28/04/2016

Lots of people have been focused on completing property transactions prior to 31 March, the last day when second homes did not attract the additional 3% SDLT.  

Now more people are focused on the effect of this legislation and in particular how it is going to affect a flat or annexe attached to the house.  To be classified as a separate dwelling for tax purposes an annexe must have independent access but could still be physically part of the same building.  

To be liable to the new 3% stamp duty, annexes must be valued at £40,000 or more and be able to be sold as a separate residence.  Planning permissions restricting the use of annexes solely for the purpose of the main house allows the annex to be exempt to the additional 3% tax.  

Separate cottages however, that can be sold separately, will now fall liable for the extra 3% stamp duty.

Tim Main of Balfours comments, "stamp duty being paid on flats and annexes integral to a main house, appears to be an unintended consequence of the new tax and possibly not what the government wanted as they have recently been encouraging extended families to live together.”

 

 

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