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Barns attract strong interest at auction

28/04/2015

Brook House Barns, Wootten, near Bridgnorth, sold at public auction for in excess of £300,000, without planning permission.

Balfours Property Professionals conducted the auction, of the barns, together with 2.5 acres at the Mytton and Mermaid Shrewsbury. Head of Sales, Tim Main, who conducted the auction said: “We had excellent attendance and moved the auction into the courtyard with sunshine, raising the temperature and interest of both developers and private buyers present.

“Ultimately the hammer dropped at £330,000 for the barn with 2.5 acres, which we and the vendor were very satisfied with for buildings without planning consent,” added Mr Main.

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FARMING TALK - Employee Accommodation could be hit by tax

28/04/2015

Careful wording of job specifications and employment contracts will be essential if employers and employees are not to be hit by recommended reforms to benefits in kind and specifically in connection with employee accommodation.

The provision of accommodation to an employee is considered a benefit in kind and is taxable as income on the employee.  The employer will also have to pay Class 1a NICs on the value of the benefit at 13.8% in 2015/16.  The average value of accommodation benefit in 2011/12 was £5,000 which would have meant a tax charge of circa £1,000 on a Basic Rate Tax Payer employee and circa £700 of Class 1a NICS due from the employer.  In all likelihood the £1,000 tax charge would hit the employer as well via an increase in salary to compensate.  

Currently workers on farms and estates often benefit through an exemption from including the value of the accommodation on their tax returns where:

  • It is necessary for the proper performance of their duties that they reside in the accommodation, or
  • The accommodation is provided so that you can perform your duties in a materially better way, and you are in the kind of employment in which it is customary for employers in that business to provide accommodation

The Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) has described the rules governing Accommodation benefits as both ‘arbitrary and inconsistent’ as well as ‘difficult to apply’ and has made a number of recommendations to how the exemptions should operate in future and to how the value of the benefit should be calculated.

They aim to distinguish more accurately between what is a ‘perk’ and what is needed to get the job done and want the exemption to consider:

  • Whether the employee is required to live in the accommodation to enable him/her to protect buildings, people or assets
  • Whether the employee is regularly required to work outside normal working hours and
  • Whether he/she is required to live in the accommodation as a result of regulatory requirements

The OTS is also recommending the introduction of open market rental value to tax non-exempt accommodation.  This is likely to produce a substantially higher tax charge than the current regime so it will be very important to ensure that exemptions are achieved under any new system and getting job specifications and employment contracts right will be essential.

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Tartan in lounge not law

27/04/2015

Plans hatched by Nicola Sturgeon, the SNP leader to change the face of Britain would be bad news for English property transactions should they ever be implemented south of the border.

That is the message from one of the county’s leading property agents, Tim Main, head of sales at Balfours Property Professionals, says, “If the Scottish system was perfect we would have followed suit by now. I often hear people say that vendors in Scotland have peace of mind that a sale is binding the moment it is agreed, preventing buyers from pulling out.

“However in Scotland it is all about commitment of capital; you can’t make an offer until your capital is freed up which, for most of us, means you have to have sold your own house first. That puts quite a stranglehold on the progression of property sales which we don’t suffer south of the border.”

According to Tim the only reason our process is wrong is because it allows you to shop for a house before you are ready. “On balance we have a fair system in England and Wales. Of course it is frustrating when an offer falls through, however it isn’t an everyday occurrence and most sales agreed do come to a positive conclusion.”

He adds: “Tartan might be very in vogue in home décor presently, but I think we have to be very wary of any change to our property law, particularly if strong willed SNPs arrive at the Commons shortly after May 7.”

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Maple – chance to turn over a new leaf

21/04/2015

There is something very exciting about being the first to live in a brand new home. The Maples at Pump Lane, Bicton Heath, west of Shrewsbury offers precisely this.

This newly built detached four bedroom house carries a ten year guarantee and of course there is no chain. Balfours Property Professionals town sales manager, Alistair Hilton enthuses: “This is a fabulous family home, in a great location with direct access to the playing fields, local school and just a couple of minutes’ drive from the town’s bypass with links to the midlands and the north.

Layout is equally as impressive with an entrance hall giving access to all ground floor rooms. The kitchen and breakfast room is located to the rear overlooking the garden and has bi-folding doors to the terrace. The dining area also links via double doors to the sitting room, promoting a flexible open living space.

A log burner and bay window add character in the sitting room. Downstairs living space is made complete with cloakroom and study/extra bedroom, plus a well-positioned utility linked off the kitchen and within the front of the double garage.

The master bedroom enjoys a bay window and en-suite facilities while three further bedrooms are served by the family bathroom. Ultra insulating windows, partially walled good sized garden are among other bonuses of the property.

The Maples, three miles from Shrewsbury’s High Street, is marketed with a guide price of £400,000. For more information call Alistair Hilton on 01743 353511 or visit www.balfours.co.uk

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Kingsland Valley cocooned convenience

17/04/2015

Proximity, location and space are the proud boasts of 1 Red Barn Lane, tucked into the Kingsland Valley, Shrewsbury.

Vendors, Jon and Susan Good settled here 18 years ago, Jon recalls: “We were attracted to the setting and location. The property is secluded, yet only ten minutes’ walk from Grey Friars and Kingsland Bridge; we have the Rad Brook at the bottom of the garden. For entertaining all main reception rooms open onto the terrace drawing the eye across the Kingsland Valley.”

It isn’t just the location. The house lends itself to entertaining with double doors opening into the dining room and a second pair linking dining room and sitting room. The kitchen, which was refurbished in 2012 is Jon’s favourite room; triple aspect glazing, polished stone surfaces and double ovens add a very fresh touch to the house.

The kitchen and the two reception rooms each give separate access to the terrace. Says Balfours town sales manager, Alistair Hilton, “layout is excellent maximising what is a very spacious property. For anyone seeking town convenience combined with countryside feel this is the answer,” he adds.

A log-burner offers a cosy feel to the sitting room for winter evenings. Service rooms on the ground floor comprise, utility, wc and study which could double as sixth bedroom. First floor provides master and second bedroom with en-suite and dressing room facilities, there are three further bedrooms and a family bathroom.

Located in a nearly half acre, predominantly to lawns and mature trees, plus double garage and ample parking, Number 1 Red Barn Lane is indeed something special.  For nearly two decades the Goods and their now grown up family have enjoyed the lifestyle and convenience proffered.

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Designer home in a village location

10/04/2015

It is rare to find a house that combines idyllic position, design flair and attention to detail – this does.  The feel is bright and crisp at Orchard House; this is the outcome of the 2010 collaboration between owners Sheila & Keith and designer, David.  They commissioned local architect David Gomersall to create a house that would make the most of a sloping site, on a rural plot in the heart of the village.  Although used to visualising for Zaha Hadid, David’s own designs combine environmental concerns with a distinctive and modern style.  Sheila’s eye for light, colour and movement informs her work as a glass artist and is reflected in the overall concept and the details; ”waves and movement informs my designs and I wanted the same in our home.”  Keith’s practice as a psychologist is shown in the balance and harmony of the house and grounds; “I wanted a house where the boundary between the outside and inside is merged.”  The end result is a stunning property incorporating a wonderful array of ash, Douglas fir and beech fixtures. Reluctantly selling due to their daughter’s ill health, the house provides a unique opportunity for buyers.

Situated in the popular village of Hanwood, less than four miles from Shrewsbury, four bedroom Orchard House commands an enviable location beside the Rea Brook and hence comes complete with fishing rights. Agent, Clemmie Radcliffe, of Balfours Property Professionals acknowledges: “This is a one off with real wow factor for anyone seeking something fresh and contemporary.” The highly flexible accommodation includes a master room with en-suite bath/shower and dressing area, two further bedrooms one of which opens to become a reading area. A fourth bedroom can be found on the lower floor, where it is equally suited as a study or entertainment room.

The lower floor provides a spacious living area; the splendid kitchen is integrated with the large sitting area and dining room with wood-burner and underfloor heating. Clever full height glazing and bi-fold doors create the versatile and superb sunroom and reception hall.  David describes how a “fine balance is played between the large windows facing south for passive solar gain and the restriction of light and excessive heat in the summer. The same can be said for views internally and into the garden and beyond, starting off with snippets and introductions and culminating in large sheets of glazing and vista from the sunroom.”

 Additional living space can be found within the double garage currently used as a studio with wood burner.  Garden sheds, greenhouse and kitchen garden complete the package.

Clemmie adds: “Hanwood has wonderful village facilities, from post office, to primary school, shop and church.” Orchard House is on the market with a guide price of £550,000 for more information call Clemmie on 01743 353511 or visit www.balfours.co.uk

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