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Bircham Dyson Bell (BDB) LLP and Pitmans LLP merged on 1 December 2018 to become BDB Pitmans LLP. More details can be found here

Agriculture, Estates and Rural Business

Our agricultural law team comprises property, tax, trusts, litigation and family lawyers who work closely with owners and tenants of country property on a range of legal matters.

Sectors and Services
Individuals

We advise on:

  • The sale and purchase of farms and estates
  • Planning promotion agreements and development, from large and complex projects to more modest undertakings
  • Landlord and tenant issues
  • Sporting and riparian rights
  • EU farm support regimes
  • Animal health and welfare issues
  • Family partnerships and business structures
  • Trusts and tax planning for the long-term future of your family and the land you own
  • 1 Development options and promotion
    Discover the planning potential hidden in your land.

    You may be unsure of how to approach planning or development on your land. Our experienced team can liaise with local authorities and major developers on your behalf, whilst advising you on option and promotion agreements in relation to your land and future development sales when the land has been successfully promoted.

    We advise on:

    • Promotion and option agreements
    • Sales of development land
    • Planning policy
    • Planning applications
    • Enabling developments
    • Extending residential property
    • Enabling development
    • Planning enforcements

  • 2 Estates and farm purchases and sales
    The purchase or sale of a country estate, farm and land can involve unexpected difficulties.

    Many farms have been within a family for generations. The purchase or sale of land can unravel disparities in the information detailed within the deeds and on the ground, which initially may not be apparent. You can minimise costs by seeking experienced professional advice at an early stage.

    Our specialist team have experience in a range of freehold transactions throughout England and Wales. We are used to going onsite to meet you and inspect the property.

    We advise on:

    • Contract drafting
    • Planning permission and development rights
    • Tenancy
    • Sporting rights
    • Tax planning
    • Public rights of way
    • Employment
    • Boundaries
    • Town and country planning and building control history

  • 3 Farming grants and subsidies
    Both pre, during and post EU membership, we offer practical, proactive advice on available grants and subsidies to improve rural business and reduce expenses.

    Complicated legislation and regulation has resulted in time consuming and complex paperwork for many farmers. We work with you to reduce the stress and maximise the amount of grant and subsidies made payable to the business.

    Our experienced team provide you with clear advice that allows you to focus on what matters most, the business strategy and operation. Planning and communication is key, and we will advise and prepare you for any future changes such as Brexit that could impact the business as soon as possible.

    We advise on:

    • Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations
    • Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)
    • Cross compliance rules
    • Areas with natural constraints (ANCs) / less favoured areas (LFAs)
    • Habitat Directive
    • Health and safety
    • Nitrate Vulnerable Zone Regulations
    • Pesticides Directive
    • Stamp duty and VAT for listed buildings
    • Woodland grants
    • Waste Management Licensing Regulations
    • Young farmer schemes

  • 4 Farm tenancy management
    A large proportion of agricultural land is in occupancy under tenancies. Farm tenancy is a complex area that requires professional knowledge and clear advice on their creation, termination and tax consequences.

    Before entering into a tenancy agreement as a farm business, tenancy or Agricultural Holdings Act tenancy, we advise both landlord and tenants to  ensure documents are prepared well and tailored to their situation.

    We advise on:

    • Drafting agreements
    • Compensation claims
    • Grass keep licenses
    • Notices to quit
    • Rent reviews
    • Succession tenancies
    • Tenancy disputes
    • Termination and surrender of tenancies

  • 5 Ownership structures
    When considering your ownership structure it is important to understand your objectives and what you are trying to accomplish.

    Keeping an estate or a farm ‘in the family’ may sometimes seem like the best idea, but not always. There are many issues that can occur to achieve a tax-effective solution that reflects the ownership structure and that also meets the needs of the family now, and for the future.

    Each family member may have different aspirations for their contribution, whether business, personal or financial. Identifying the most appropriate structure needs sensitive, practical advice with a careful understanding of the family requirements.

    We advise our clients to regularly review their plans as situations change within the family. Careful planning and consideration of all issues and early communication is key.

     

  • 6 Farming partnerships and shareholders
    Careful planning is required to ensure the right partnership structure is put in place to reflect the business and personal needs of  a farming family.

    We will work with you to understand your personal and business objectives to ensure your interests are well protected. Costly disputes can be avoided through careful planning and a clear understanding of the position of partnership assets.

    Since we see how families can fall out with each other, transferring a business or sole trader to a limited company can also invite a host of benefits, from tax relief through to the protection of personal assets. In either situation the following should be considered to ensure you are well protected;

    • adjustment of profit shares and capital ratio;
    • alternative business structures;
    • business transfer agreement;
    • exit strategies and transfer of shares;
    • joint ventures;
    • LLPs and limited partnerships;
    • partnership restructure;
    • shareholder agreements;
    • succession;
    • tenancy agreements on partnership property; and
    • will and estate administration

     

  • 7 Agricultural and rural disputes
    Agriculture and rural disputes involving land, buildings and leases can often be complex and involve many different personal and business interests

    When disputes arise you should seek advice as early as possible with experienced professionals for the best possible opportunity. We act quickly to ensure your interests are protected using the most cost effective and efficient means of dispute resolution.

    Our experienced team will guide you through the complexities to help you understand your rights and help protect you against future disputes by drawing up the necessary agreements.

    We can advise on:

    • Adverse possession claims (squatter’s rights)
    • Boundary disputes
    • Business lettings
    • Easement and restrictive covenants
    • Farm business tenancies
    • Farm cottages
    • Rights of way
    • Tenancy disputes

We can also advise on the implications of Brexit.

Brexit FAQs

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