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Specialists in Agriculture

Yorkshire & Cumbria Agricultural Law Experts

- Your Local Solicitor -  

Ranked No.1 for Agricultural Services in the local area, Eccles Heddon has been serving the agricultural community since the early decades of last century.  We act for both the second and third generation of families whose forebears used Eccles Heddon in the original acquisition of their farms. 

 

We have considerable experience in the farming sector across Yorkshire and Cumbria, an excellent reputation for providing sound, pragmatic advice and we enjoy strong working relationships with mutual land agents, accountants and other professionals in the area.

Whether you are a farmer, landowner or tenant, our friendly and experienced agricultural team at Eccles Heddon are well placed to deal with any needs or requirements you have.

OUR
PROMISE

✔ A dedicated solicitor will act for you

 No unnecessary legal jargon

 

✔ Prompt and efficient service

 

✔ Tailored advice to your individual circumstances

 

✔ Regular updates regarding your matter

 

✔ Direct liaison with your other professional advisors

Yorkshire & Cumbria Solicitors

WHAT OUR CUSTOMERS SAY

Yorkshire & Cumbria Agricultural Solicitors

Friendly and Local

Oliver has recently helped us with the purchase of a small farm and also the sale of a plot of land we owned. I cannot rate Oliver highly enough. He is very professional and friendly. His calm nature was greatly welcomed in what can be a tense process at times. I'd happily recommend Oliver and his colleagues to anyone.

Yorkshire & Cumbria Agricultural Solicitors

Very thorough handling of property deal

Oliver handled a land sale for us, and he was very thorough on all aspects, pro-active on spotting issues, attentive to all details and constructive on the best/appropriate solutions for us. Worked well with all parties so we achieved what we needed and getting the deal successfully concluded. Will be happy to work with him again and can definitely recommend him to others.

OUR AGRICULTURE TEAM

Team
Inheritance Tax Advice
Oliver Riley Agricultural Law Expert Eccles Heddon Solicitors Yorkshire

THIRSK

01845 522324

- RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY -

- AGRICULTURAL -

- COMMERCIAL PROPERTY -

Martyn Clark Agricultural Law Expert Eccles Heddon Solicitors Yorkshire

RIPON

01765 601717

- CORPORATE & COMMERCIAL -

- COMMERCIAL PROPERTY -

- AGRICULTURAL -

- INHERITANCE TAX -

- SUCCESSION PLANNING -

David Shackleton Agricultural Law Expert Eccles Heddon Solicitors Yorkshire

RIPON

01765 601717

- WILLS, TRUSTS & PROBATE -

- INHERITANCE TAX -

- SUCCESSION PLANNING -

- AGRICULTURAL -

Nick White Agricultural Law Expert Eccles Heddon Solicitors Yorkshire

RIPON

01765 601717

- CORPORATE & COMMERCIAL -

- AGRICULTURAL -

- COMMERCIAL PROPERTY -

Alison Johnson Agricultural Law Expert Eccles Heddon Solicitors Yorkshire

BEDALE

01677 422422

- WILLS, TRUSTS & PROBATE -

- INHERITANCE TAX -

- SUCCESSION PLANNING -

- AGRICULTURAL -

OUR SERVICES EXPLAINED

Purchase and Sale of Farms / Agricultural Land

Farms and their acquisition / disposal have many nuances. Whilst each transaction is unique, we are often required to investigate and deal with enquiries relating to planning, drainage and watercourses, Basic Payment Schemes, Environmental Land Management Schemes, Cross Compliance, Growing Crops and Holdover. Understanding the basis of any existing occupation be it a Farm Business Tenancy, AHA Tenancy or Grazing Licence is also essential. We deal with such transactions daily and have acquired a great deal of experience over the decades. Working closely with the land agent and accountant, we are well placed to deal with your transaction.

Purchase and Sale of Farms / Agricultural Land

Secured Funding

Banks will often require security over the farm or other land / assets to secure any proposed borrowing or other credit facility. We appreciate the urgency such matters often bear, particularly if it is to fund the purchase of some land being sold imminently or the acquisition of equipment shortly before harvest. We have an excellent reputation for dealing with such matters and enjoy working with many lenders including the likes of Barclays Bank, HSBC Bank, Handelsbanken and the AMC. We can also help advise which areas of your farm might best be to offer as security bearing in mind future plans you may have.

Farm Business Tenancies

An agreement between a Landlord who owns agricultural land and a tenant, who by paying rent, exclusively occupies that land for the purpose of operating a farming business. Such agreements are regulated by the Agricultural Tenancies Act (ATA 1995) and strict conditions must be observed (including having to satisfy the Notice Condition). We assist Landlords / Tenants on a daily basis with the drafting, negotiation and completion of such tenancies.

Agricultural Holdings Act Tenancies

A historic tenancy created under the Agricultural holdings Act 1986. Only tenancies created prior to the 31s August 1995 are deemed an ‘AHA Tenancy’. The Nuance with these tenancies is that they carry with them key succession rights. A Tenant will want to ensure the Farm can be passed onto the next generation. From a Landlord’s perspective, AHA tenancies can tie up an asset and restrict its value for decades. Mix in key tax issues to consider (Inheritance Tax and securing APR), there is often a negotiation to be had between the parties. We work closely with trusted land agents and their accountants to document any key terms / deals that are agreed, whether it is the grant of a succession tenancy or (more commonly) the surrender of part.

Grazing Licences

A Licence is a personal agreement between a landowner and a third party. A Licence, if properly documented, will not create an interest in Land, merely a temporary arrangement which (subject to the terms of the licence) can be brought to an end briefly. It is essential to document the terms of any third party occupation on your land via a Licence to avoid any suggestion that a tenancy has been created. This is particularly important should you have any future plans to develop or sell your property. We have a great deal of experience in preparing all forms of licence from Grazing Licences to Archery.

Easements and Wayleave Agreements

Whether it is the grant of a right of way, a right to install services as part of a development or simply Northern Powergrid Grid requiring an Easement across your back garden, Eccles Heddon have a great deal of experience in the preparation, negotiation and completion of all forms of Easement. We would recommend you contact the firm prior to signing any Heads of Terms and the advice of a good land agent is strongly recommended.

Promotion Agreements

A developer / planning consultant can often approach landowners whose land has the potential for development and request they enter into a promotion agreement. In theory, this is a mutually beneficial arrangement. The developer / planning promoter will agree to promote the land on behalf of the landowner for development, to apply for and obtain planning permission at their own expense, and once obtained, to market the property and sell the same, in return for a share of the net proceeds of sale (typically between 18-25% of the proceeds of sale). The advantage to the landowner is that their land has been promoted and whilst parting with some equity from the net proceeds of sale, the land will have enjoyed a significant uplift in value. There are many key issues that need to be considered in relation to promotion agreements, not only from a Tax Perspective but in terms of the agreement itself. It is important that clear Heads of Terms are agreed from the outset. Important terms include: what are the objectives, what is the promotion period, in what circumstances may that be extended, what is the sales period, what expenses may be recouped by the developer / planning promotor, will there be a cap, will a best price / minimum price be secured / offered by the promoter? What is the promotor’s fee, will VAT be charged, what is the marketing strategy and how will all this be documented and secured? We have seen promotion agreements provided to our clients (without advice sought) for signature by a developer that are no more than 1-2 pages in length. They really ought to be 30-40 pages in length. These are technical documents and thorough consideration and professional advice is required.

Option Agreements

An Option Agreement is usually required by a Developer before they undertake the burden of obtaining planning permission and carrying out other groundwork investigations. There is no obligation on the Developer to exercise a Call Option, it remains entirely at their discretion – even where a satisfactory planning permission is obtained. There are several key issues which a developer and landowner will need to think about before entering into an Option Agreement including the form of Option, how it will be protected, the option period, what option fee is payable, the planning process, and what the eventual purchase price will be.

Conditional Sale Agreements

A Developer will often seek to secure a site by entering into a formal sale contract whereby the owner is required to sell and the Developer is required to buy the land, albeit conditionally. The ‘condition’ will often relate to obtaining planning or receiving other satisfactory ground surveys. Professional Advice is required from the offset, both from a Solicitor and Land Agent, in the drafting and negotiation of such documents to ensure the parties original intention is appropriately documented and the spirit of the negotiation captured.

Pre-emption Agreements

Otherwise known as a ‘Right of First Refusal’. This is where a landowner agrees not to dispose of their land within a certain period without giving the grantee an opportunity to acquire the land first. Careful consideration needs to be given to the terms of the agreement and how the agreement will operate in practice – this ensures there are no disputes between the buyer / seller further down the line.

Partnership Agreements

Eccles Heddon act on behalf of a large number of farming partnerships and have done so for decades. An agreement should simply reflect the terms by which the partners agree to work with each other. It should explain how profits and losses are split, the responsibilities and roles of each partner, what the assets of the partnership are and provision should be made for retirement and death. Partnership Agreements often spark important conversations on topics many may consider would be simply polite to ignore. However, holding those conversations now avoids confusion / dispute further down the line. These Agreements are often required as part of wider succession planning and typically, there will be specific / bespoke provisions required to cater for CGT and other IHT arrangements.

Secured Funding
Farm Business Tenancies
Agricultural Holdings Act Tenancies
Grazing Licences
Easements and Wayleave Agreements
Promotion Agreements
Option Agreements
Conditional Sale Agreements
Pre-emption Agreements
Partnership Agreements

Inheritance Tax Advice

Eccles Heddon holds a specialism in Agricultural and Business assets and can provide the necessary advice to ensure that your assets are protected on death and importantly, pass to your successors in an effective and most tax efficient manner. We have a dedicated team of lawyers who have a wealth of knowledge and experience in providing advice in all aspects of this area. We provide ourselves on listening to the individual, family and business needs and tailoring our advice to ensure that you receive the best advice.

Wind Turbines

As part of the growing diversification of farms, we have seen a significant growth in farming clients being approached by developers. Our robust experience in the agricultural sector provides strong expertise in this particular area. Working closely alongside trusted land agents, together with your accountant, we are here to negotiate and guide you through the documentation necessary to bring the project to life.

Solar Panel Farms

Another area we have seen significant growth in. Farming clients are typically approached by Developers who make big promises (verbally) to only follow up promising conversations with ambiguous and often one-sided Heads of Terms (from which, more detailed documents are to be prepared). We work closely with trusted land agents (and your accountant) to get key terms agreed with the Developer from the outset. This includes agreeing more sensible Option Fees / Terms, Minimum Rent Per Acre, Minimum Developable Acres, Retention of BNG Credits, Decommissioning / Reinstatement Provisions, Provisions for Crop Loss Compensation and more. Once terms have been agreed, we then deal with any required documentation, including Options and the subsequent Leases to be granted. We have acquired a great deal of experience in this area and are well placed to deal with your needs.

Wind Turbines
Solar Panel Farms

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