Harvesting the potential

Productivity has been a strong theme for our commercial team in 2019. As we head into autumn, it's a good time to reflect on how our clients have successfully added value to their business assets.

In this issue of our Newsletter, we take a look at what sustainable energy projects, mobile coverage and planning permission have meant to our agricultural and commercial clients. PLUS - we have client and team photos to share from the 75th East Kent Ploughing Match which was hosted by West Court Farm at Shepherdswell on Wednesday 25 September.

Raspberries to Ofgem's Catch-22

Kelsey Farms is one of the latest in a number of farm businesses to fall foul of Ofgem's demand for evidence of planning permission before making Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) payments.
As one of the UK's largest producer of raspberries - anticipated to pick more than 182 million raspberries in 2019 - Kelsey Farms had taken the sustainable decision to invest in a biomass boiler to heat their polytunnels to extend the growing season and wanted to secure the appropriate RHI payments.

However, it was unclear to Ofgem if installing a biomass boiler in existing farm buildings required planning permission. Canterbury City Council considered that it did not, but without further proof, Kelsey Farms would be unable to meet Ofgem's demands.

To resolve the impasse, Finn's obtained a lawful use certificate to satisfy Ofgem of the boiler's legality and make the RHI payments.

To discuss your planning questions, please contact Nick Rooke on 01227 454111 or Jane Scott on 01304 612147

East Street Barn Conversion

We obtained planning permission for our client through the Prior Approval process to convert East Street Barn in Ash into three four-bedroom properties. The site, with planning permission, was sold this summer by auction for £300,000.

To discuss your planning questions, please contact Mark Chandler or Jane Scott on 01304 612147
Photo by Leonardo Baldissara on Unsplash

The cost of mobile coverage?

Since the Electronic Communications Code 2017 came into effect, the Government has sought to improve rural mobile coverage by liberalising planning rules applying to mobile operators in order to oblige landowners to negotiate leases for mobile masts.

Our initial advice to landowners was to proceed with caution and allow any existing leases to run their course (see our article on LinkedIn here).
Our recommended approach has proved to be well founded. The initial lease renewals that came to market saw mobile operators making robust moves to pull market rates downwards with very low rental offers.

Along with reduced rents, operators also sought to extend their rights, such as site-sharing, all hour access, parking outside the leased area, siting a generator for emergency power supply, unconstrained upgrades and so on.

Fortunately, there are strategies for landowners seeking to protect their negotiating position and we strongly recommend taking professional advice at the earliest stage of negotiating a contract with a mobile operator. For example:
  • There may be a basis for refusing a lease with a mobile operator if the landowner can prove there's already sufficient coverage in the area or that the presence of a mast would prohibit the redevelopment of the site (or neighbouring site).
  • The terms of the proposed agreement need to be set out in detail before valuation. All the terms need to be on the table before the agreement (not the land) can be valued.
  • Mobile operators' rights to share or upgrade the site will be constrained so long as there's only minimal adverse impact on appearance and no additional burden on the site owner. However the Code prohibits the owner from collecting additional rent from additional operators on the site. 
  • Mobile operators have sought a valuation approach based on an apportionment of agricultural land values, but landowners can be reassured that the Tribunal understands the "reluctance of rural landowners to lose control of their land to the extent that entry into an agreement for Code rights is likely to entail".
  • The approved valuation approach still has to exclude telecoms usage from any comparable evidence. We can advise on finding an evidence to establish both the market value and the extent of loss that a mobile operator lease can cause to a landowner.
To discuss your leases with mobile operators, please contact Mark Chandler on 01304 612147.

Seasonal Worker Accommodation

Temporary accommodation is critical to the success of Kent farmers in attracting experienced and reliable seasonal workers for their agricultural and horticultural businesses. 

While temporary accommodation for agricultural workers does not require planning consent, the over-wintering storage of unoccupied static caravans does. Over the course of the past year, our commercial team has secured planning consent for winter storage on a number of East Kent farms including at Broad Oak, Canterbury and Turnhouse Nursery. 

As a result, these farms have been able to offer good quality accommodation to their workers on their own land. In the case of Turnhouse Nursery, this means accommodating workers right next to their greenhouses, enabling the business to expand its operations as one of the UK's largest strawberry plant propagators.

To discuss planning related to seasonal worker accommodation, please contact Mark Chandler or or Jane Scott on 01304 612147 or Nick Rooke on 01227 454111.

Lidl Secures Herne Bay Approval

Finn's worked with Simons Developments to obtain consent for a new 1,325 m2 Lidl store at Roundabout Farm. More than 40,000 local residents responded during the consultation period, with an overwhelming 84% of respondents expressing support for the site.

Lidl created a website to share details of the planning application and addressed issues around parking, deliveries and employment as well as inviting people to support their application in an online petition.

With transparency and easy to access information, we are delighted that Lidl will be opening its new store with widespread community support. See their planning page here.

To discuss your planning and development, please contact Julian SampsonMark Chandler or Jane Scott on 01304 612147

UPDATE: Canterbury Roads & Homes

All change for Sturry

The Sturry Road has long been acknowledged as a congested, arterial route on the east side of Canterbury. 

The planning application, currently under consideration, sets out proposals for a new layout, including a 250m viaduct. The aim is to create alternative routes in and out of the city that avoid Sturry's level crossing and improves access to 1,000 new homes being built in the Sturry and Broad Oak area.

The long-term impact on village life in Sturry may well be significant (and positive) if commuters can be persuaded to use alternative routes into the City. Issues of congestion during the works, however, will need to be resolved before the project is given the green light to proceed.

Work is anticipated to commence in Autumn 2021 and will include the following key elements:
  • A new viaduct is a six-span, 250m long structure spanning both arms of the Great Stour and the railway.
  • A new Sturry link to the Shalloak Road to give wider choice of routes in and out of Canterbury.
  • Junction improvements at A28/A291 (Sturry Level Crossing)
The new route will include six new pedestrian crossings (one signal controlled), three new roundabouts, bus lanes, and a cycle lane and footpath.

1,000 New Homes for Canterbury

At Hersden on the A28, road improvements are underway to give improved access to the Redrow development, Oakdene at The Hoplands. This development comprises of 250 three and four bedroom dwellings (including affordable housing) commercial and community buildings. 

Over in Broad Oak, David Wilson Homes and Barratt Homes have proposed residential and commercial plans on a 19 hectare site bounded on the east by the A291 Herne Bay Road; to the north and west by the built settlement of Broad Oak along Sweechgate, Shalloak Road and Chapel Lane; and to the south by Den Grove Wood and Greenfield Shooting Grounds. 

Ultimately both sites are likely to benefit the most from the new link road (see above). However, it will be interesting to see if the Broad Oak scheme requires further modification before being given the green light to proceed.

UPDATE: Richborough Connection

National Grid has now completed the construction of the new 400kV overhead electricity line between Richborough and Canterbury. Preparations are now in progress for removing the old overhead line in 2020.

The new line went live at the end of November connecting Nemo Link®, an electricity link between Herdersbrug near Bruges in Belgium and Richborough, near Sandwich in the UK. The completion of the Richborough Project is a significant milestone in the programme for these two projects and will ultimately allow power to flow between Britain and Belgium.

National Grid is now carrying out small scale works across the route in preparation for the removal of UK Power Network’s overhead line in 2020.  

Ploughing Match 2019

EKPMA brought the 75th East Kent Ploughing Match to West Court Farm, Shepherdswell on Wednesday 25 September. We were there to meet up with clients and friends...

Commercial Sales

Sandwich Sales 01304 614471 | Canterbury Sales 01227 454111
Land for sale at Monkton & Minster
Finn's commercial sales team is marketing 34.49 acres of arable and marshland for sale. Available in three Lots close to the villages of Monkton and Minster in East Kent.
Call Nick Rooke on 01227 454111.
Barn Conversion, Ash
A rare opportunity to convert two barns (one timber-framed) into three dwellings at Ash, Canterbury. 
Call Sarah Parker-Yates on 01304 612147.
72.67ha at Highstead
Grade 2 & 3 Land, plus woodland, redundant buildings, pond and tracks.
Call Nick Rooke on 01227 454111.


We work with commercial landlords across East Kent to let a diverse range of office, business, warehouse and workshop space.  

Call our commercial team on 01304 612147 or 01227 454111.
  • Buckland House, Dover, (former school) annual rental £35,000
  • Preston Garden Centre, annual rental £52,000.
  • Workshop, Jutes Lane, Ebbsfleet Farm, annual rental £7,500
  • Office suite, Denne Hill Business Centre, Womenswold £7,200 + VAT.
Buckland House, Crabble Hill, Dover
Preston Garden Centre

Residential Lettings

Our Lettings team advise landlords on maintenance and refurbishment plans that will deliver stronger returns on their investment.
>>> Read Raphael Mead's article on LinkedIn <<<

To discuss preparing your property (or properties) for let, please call our Lettings team on 01304 614471 or 01227 452111.

Residential Sales

The following properties offer further opportunity to create value. 
Thorne Hill, Minster, Ramsgate, £950,000.
Chapel House is a Grade II listed, four bedroom property with a  two-storey stable block (as yet unconverted) set in 2.26ha of landscaped gardens. Call 01227 454111
UNDER OFFERElinlegh Court, Stelling Minnis, £650,000
Buyers moved swiftly to secure this dilapidated home in Stelling Minnis. Situated on a 7-acre site, the property offered potential for improvement and development. 
Dover Road, Ringwould, Deal, £895,000
An imposing, four bedroom Edwardian property with a separate two-bedroomed coach house. Call 01304 612147.

About our Newsletter

Finn's Newsletter is a quarterly email to clients and contacts active in the East Kent property market. You are welcome to forward our email on to interested colleagues and you may unsubscribe at any time (see links in the footer): 

Winter >> Finn's Review of the Year
Spring >> Featuring Sales
Summer >> Featuring Lettings
Autumn >> Featuring Agricultural & Commercial
82 Castle Street
Kent, CT1 2QD
Sales: 01227 454111 
Lettings: 01227 452111  
1-3 King Street
Kent, CT13 9BY
Sales: 01304 612147 
Lettings: 01304 614471 
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St Nicholas At Wade
Kent, CT7 0NE
Tel: 01843 848230 
Disclaimer: The information contained in this email newsletter is intended solely to provide general guidance on topical property matters. It should not be relied upon as a substitute for consultation with a competent adviser. Before making any decision or taking any action, the reader should always consult a professional property or legal adviser.
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