Butler Sherborn News

21st March 2017

‘Having had a brilliant run at Lincoln in the Advanced Intermediate this weekend on Galley Light, Ben is all set for Badminton.’

Both Ben and his fiancée Sarah Parkes are entered for this years Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials. This will be Ben's third time competing at the prestigious Cotswold event whilst it will be a debut for Sarah. Badminton is one of only 6 CCI 4* events in the world. As part of their preparation Ben and Sarah ran some of their top horses at Lincoln this weekend finishing in 2nd, 3rd and 4th in the AI, finishing close behind Kitty King and her Rio Olympics ride Ceylor Lan. Ben has provided us with the details of his principle horses and their plans for the current season which got under way earlier this month and runs through until the end of October

Current Horses for the 2017 Season:

Galley Light (14YO) – Aimed at Badminton in the spring and continue a 4* campaign.

Willows Tipster (13YO) –  Went to USA last season on British Nations Cup team, will at 3* with a 4* as an aim in the autumn.

Drumgooland (10YO) – Ex racehorse aimed at Novice /... more

20th March 2017

YES – Yes, of course they are!

Cleaning costs are the most common reason for deduction from a tenancy deposit, and while cleaning standards can be subjective, it is also the most disputed claim. 

It is important to bear in mind that tenants should return the property in the same state as it was provided to them, less wear and tear.   Fair wear and tear does not apply to cleaning, so the standard of cleanliness is the same.   An item can be worn and aged, it should still be clean.

For example, if your oven was brand new at the start of the tenancy or you had the oven professionally cleaned then you can expect to have this returned to the same standard on return.  If the tenant domestically cleaned the oven and it is not up to standard, they would still be responsible for the full cost to the landlord to have this professionally cleaned. 

You cannot expect the tenant to pay for the full cost of a professional clean if the property has been domestically clean at the start of the.   Landlords... more

17th March 2017

Tenants, it’s that time of the year when you need to ‘spring into action’ when it comes to your obligations with garden maintenance.


When viewing properties in the countryside, often a garden can have a deciding influence; however it’s worth bearing in mind that with a beautifully manicured garden comes commitment, dedication and spend in terms of what is required to keep it that way – especially if it is a second home! Grass grows at its quickest in the summer months and plants will need watering, meaning regular hours of upkeep is required.

It’s simple to keep on top of gardening chores if you know what you are doing and do them regularly. For those with green fingers spending time in the garden can be relaxing as well as rewarding, giving individuals and their families great pleasure spent outdoors during your tenancy (if your Tenancy Agreement allows).  For those that aren’t so gifted or don’t have the luxury of time, a low maintenance option of placing a few colourful plant pots outside can have an equally satisfying effect.


Garden maintenance and your responsibilities as a... more

14th March 2017

The Ministry of Justice has recently confirmed how it would like to reform fees for the Grant of Probate.  Currently there is a flat fee system of £215 where there is a personal application or £155 for those applying through a solicitor.

The Government is proposing to introduce a banded system.  Estates below £50,000 will pay nothing.  A minimum fee of £300 applies for estates worth between £50,000 and £300,000 rising to a whopping £20,000 fee for estates worth over £2.0 million.  There are a variety of bands in between, all of which see a significant rise.  These changes are expected to be implemented by May 2017.

These proposals not only add a potentially significant cost to a deceased’s estate however we understand that the fee will need to be payable upfront which could be a significant problem when there are not the cash reserves within the estate to pay it.  This will put Executors or beneficiaries in the position where they need to personally pay the fee and... more

14th March 2017


The RICS/RAU rural land market survey has just been published for H2 2016 which points to a further softening in demand for farmland during that period.  Demand fell across both mixed use and commercial farmland sectors during the second half of 2016 largely as a result of uncertainty over Brexit and future subsidies as well as low commodity prices. The bare land opinion based survey suggests that values at the end of 2016 were an average of £8,625 per acre for arable land and £7,250 per acre for pasture land.


The survey also confirmed that the availability of farmland decreased nationally, but despite that, the weaker demand is expected to lead to further decline in prices over the next 12 months.

Richard Greasby, Head of Butler Sherborn’s Rural Department, contributes opinion and market evidence to the RICS/RAUI survey.  Richard reports that for our Cotswolds and  Oxfordshire market, prices achieved for land sales... more

10th March 2017

Five Festival Chances for the Butler Sherborn sponsored Ben Pauling Racing

HighBridge – Supreme Novice Hurdle, 2 miles Tuesday.

He has won his three starts over hurdles this season and is going there in great form. He appears to have plenty of speed so should travel well through the race. He also stays well which is important as they go very quickly in this race, especially as it is the first race of the whole meeting and the jockeys are normally a little over excited!


A Hare Breath – Arkle Novice Chase, 2 miles Tuesday.

He has a very big task ahead of him, as Altior, the favourite in the race, is most people’s idea of the banker of the meeting. I couldn’t be happier with A Hare Breath and Richard Johnson has been booked to ride him. He won his first chase this season and then was third in a grade 2 at Doncaster, but the race didn’t work out in our favour at all with it being a slow early gallop. He wants a fast end to end gallop as he stays well and he has very good course form, which is always a big plus. If we ran into a... more



Saturday 25th March 2017 at Siddington, near Cirencester

First race at 1.30pm

Butler Sherborn requests the pleasure of your company for drinks at Car Park spaces 29 and 30.



3rd March 2017


The Hedgerow and Boundary grant is individually worth up to £5,000 and is designed to help farmers improve farmland boundaries.

The application window for the £5 million scheme is now open and closes on 28 April 2017. 

Farmers can apply for a one-off grant towards the restoration of a range of traditional boundaries including hedgerows, dry stone walls, stone-faced banks and earth banks. Payment rates are fixed for each item. These include hedge-laying or coppicing, hedgerow restoration through gapping-up, stone-faced bank repair and stone wall restoration, which can include a top wiring supplement.

It is important to note that the land parcel cannot, on the start date of the agreement, be in an agri-environment scheme. The application process is competitive. Priority is given to smaller holdings and restoring hedges or walls is preferred to stone-faced or earth banks. More points are awarded if the application is for more than £1,000, and if the... more

2nd March 2017


Butler Sherborn’s expert property valuations move to a higher level, with evidence recently being given in the High Court, London.

Richard Greasby, who heads Butler Sherborn’s formal valuation work, undertakes a significant number of expert valuation cases, however most are settled without needing to go to Court.  Many valuers therefore do not have any Court experience.   "I have been fortunate to have previously gained experience by giving evidence in the County Court for divorce purposes which involved protracted cross examination .  This undoubtedly helped in my preparation for my recent  appearance in the High Court in London" says Richard.

Richard 's recent case has involved a  complicated property dispute.  His role was to produce a substantial expert report last year, settling points of difference and producing a Joint Statement for the Court with the opposing expert valuer, attending meetings with legal teams and finally appearing at the High Court in... more

1st March 2017

Housing White Paper Aims to Deliver Growth

The government has launched last month its latest housing white paper;

'Fixing our Broken Housing Market'

The government believes that the lack of homes being built across the country has resulted in the sharp rise in house prices compared to average income.

Since the 1970’s, there has been an average of 160,000 homes built per year, with research suggesting the actual amount needed is in the region of 225,000 to 275,000 per year. Last year 190,000 new homes were completed.

The research states that between 1997 and 2010 the ratio of average house price to average income doubled, from 3.5 to 7.  The 5 years to 2015 has seen it creep up to just over 7.5 as illustrated on the graph below, taken from the governments accompanying report. (Source: DCLG live table 578)

The government sees the issue as primarily an undersupply of homes, and has targeted a number of areas to increase housing supply.

Local Authorities

The Government... more

15th February 2017

Richard Palmer Head of Energy and Estate Management at Butler Sherborn talked to BF & G about the future of renewables.

There are still opportunities for investment in energy and renewable projects for farmers but the key challenges still remain; balancing Government subsidy, planning and grid connection. - Richard Palmer, Butler Sherborn

Richard Palmer Head of Energy and Estate Management at Butler Sherborn talked to BF & G about the future of renewables.  

"There was no specific mention of Climate Change in the Autumn Statement, although £390 million worth of investment was pledged towards low carbon transport by 2020-21.  The Government also ratified the Paris Agreement at the beginning of November working towards a zero emissions economy by the end of the century.

"The 2015 Government Policy and Spending Reviews of the Renewables Obligation (RO), Feed-in Tariff (FiT) combined with uncertainty regarding the future of the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), hit investor confidence and financial returns in renewable generation projects."

Mr. Palmer pointed out that the... more

31st January 2017

2016 was a successful year for the Butler Sherborn Land & New Homes discipline and it was a year in which the majority of our business was transacted with small to medium size developers building their product primarily in the villages across Oxfordshire and The Cotswolds.

One of the striking trends of the year was the sheer strength of the "down sizer" market place and the higher incidence of this characteristic amongst younger retirees and those approaching this time of life, so the 55 yr old - 65 yr old buyer. In The Cotswolds, this was clearly emphasised in the profile of
buyers introduced by Butler Sherborn to the Kearsey Court development on the periphery of popular Charlbury - a collection of bespoke built detached houses by H.Willis Ltd. 80% of the purchasers here fell in to this burgeoning demographic and the entire scheme was successfully reserved within 5 months of the marketing launch.

Architectural treatment of new homes has been very much traditional for decades, but it is evident that creative architectural treatments can attract buyers and moreover, buyers will pay more for a property that has had a more thoughtful / creative approach applied its architectural appearance. This was in evidence when Butler Sherborn acted... more

26th January 2017

Sensible pricing and being well prepared are key factors in ensuring a successful, smooth sale this year.


As we head into 2017, the property market is no different from any other sector.  There is inevitable uncertainty surrounding Brexit and things are going to be difficult to call, politically and economically. But whatever happens, life goes on.

The availability of good quality properties for sale will remain restricted - although we did see this beginning to ease towards the end of 2016 and now into 2017, and people will remain disinclined to pay more stamp duty than necessary. 

Some people will want to sell their home, either to move up to something larger for their growing family, downsize, or to move to another part of the country for whatever reason, so being sensible on pricing and very well prepared is the best advice we can offer clients to ensure the smoothest and most successful result.

Here are Sam’s seven ‘top tips’ for selling property successfully this year:


1. Prices are unlikely to rise by much, if at all, so sensible... more

25th January 2017

It is that time of year again, when weather bulletins report ‘it’s the coldest…; it’s the wettest…; it’s the whitest…'


With dipping temperatures across the UK, households are once again preparing their winter woollens and de-icer for their cars.  It is also important for home owners and tenants to efficiently heat their properties, to prevent damp, mould, cold draughts or other nasty issues.   With this, for some, comes the worry of cost implications, with ever spiralling energy bills. 

There are other ways to keep warm and your homes protected, whilst keeping the costs under control.  Here are a few handy tips:


1. Draw the curtains (or blinds)

When it starts to get colder and darker, keep as much heat in as possible, by closing the windows and drawing the curtains.  Good thick curtains that are lined will also act as a draught excluder. However, it is just as important to ventilate your home as much as you can. Failure to do so could lead to problems with condensation, damp and mould.

Don’t be tempted to keep the curtains closed all day – as any light... more

20th January 2017


1. I am an Executor in an estate. Will I need Probate to sell the Property?

All assets which were held in the deceased’s sole name will be ‘frozen’ after death, until a Grant of Probate has been obtained.

The word Probate means ‘proving’, as it involves proving that the Will in the Executor’s possession is the last Will of the deceased.   Probate is an order of the Court officially granting the Executor the power to administer the estate. If the deceased did not leave a Will, then the Court will appoint an administrator, usually the deceased’s closest relative.

Once a Grant of Probate (or Grant of Letters of Administration) has been issued, the Executor or Administrator will be able to sell the deceased property.

2. How long should Probate take?

The administration of an estate can often be a straightforward process but sometimes it can be more complex and often time consuming.

It can be difficult to predict how long the process... more

20th January 2017

2017 heralds significant change in the British energy market, and farmers should act now to protect against higher power costs, warns rural property consultant Butler Sherborn.

This past winter has shaken the energy markets with some of the highest wholesale power costs on record, reaching over £1,000/MWh in November. Market volatility is nothing new to those in the agriculture sector, but ahead of Brexit and potential loss of income support, British farmers need to concentrate on improving business efficiencies and reducing risk, says Richard Palmer, head of energy and estate business management. “Farmers will add most value to their businesses by focussing not just on how much energy is used but also when and where it comes from.”

So what changes are rural businesses likely to see in the year ahead? “The constraints of the UK energy system mean the Government is encouraging customers to think differently, leading to the introduction of a Capacity Market Levy and the roll out of smart meters,” explains Mr Palmer. “By 2020, every home in Britain will have a smart meter, but some farmers will have to upgrade to this system by April 2017, depending... more

20th January 2017

The New Year marks the start of a new scheme year for Defra, the European Union and the Rural Payments Agency (RPA).

This means we start again with the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS), Countryside Stewardship, Cross Compliance, Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZ) requirements – the list goes on.

With regulation changing annually and an ever increasing emphasis on ensuring claimants record and conform to all matters relating to cross compliance, now is the time to make sure everything is in order.

Butler Sherborn are offering a no obligation preliminary farm audit for claimants. This will further allow us to advise landowners to maximise the value achieved from individual schemes, whilst providing peace of mind.

If you have any questions or want to know how Butler Sherborn can help you, please contact Georgina Bush or Jonathan Malings on 01285 883740.

5th December 2016

Butler Sherborn is pleased to announce that Jonathan Malings MRICS has joined the Rural Team based at their Cirencester Office.

Butler Sherborn is pleased to announce that Jonathan Malings MRICS has joined the Rural Team based at their Cirencester Office.  He joins Butler Sherborn from a national firm being based in the West Midland and has excellent local knowledge having grown up in the Cotswolds together with practical farming experience. Richard Greasby, Head of the Rural Department, comments:

"This expansion of the Rural Team is a direct response to an exciting growth in turnover over the last year particularly in professional valuation, innovative opportunities in the renewables sector and the launch of our Country House consultancy Service"

Jonathan brings a wide range of experience regarding the management, valuation and planning matters related to rural property.

3rd December 2016

Throughout 2016 Butler Sherborn’s Rural team have engaged with farmers, professional advisors, equestrian property owners and students, all to help increase knowledge, experience and understanding.

Richard Greasby and Ben Way teamed up with Hazlewoods Accountants, Lodders solicitors and McLoughlin Planning to present at a CLA seminar in November aimed at helping owners and occupiers of equestrian property get the most out of their properties and business.

Richard Palmer has lectured throughout the year on farm diversification and renewable energy opportunities to Coutts Bank, The church, Hoares Bank and The worshipful Company of Farmers, whilst Georgina Bush and Jonathan Malings presented at a technical event for farmers in North Wiltshire based around flooding issues.

We have all enjoyed supporting four A level and under graduates students by giving them work experience and a taste of what the world of a Rural Practice Chartered Surveyor is all about with Richard Greasby also being involved in school careers advice and interview training to 12 and 15-year-olds.

Thought leadership and education are things we are looking forward to building on in 2017.

1st December 2016

From Battery Storage to Green Gas, Hotels and Churches!

2016 has been our most successful year to date for our Renewable Energy work having been instructed on exciting and innovative projects across a number of different asset classes working with a fantastic and diverse client base.


We are currently working closely with a Hotel Chain in the midlands; reviewing purchasing strategy, analysing energy consumption and project managing a tender exercise to provide Mechanical and Electrical Engineering expertise. This is with a view to providing further project management support on possible combined heat and power or other renewable technology projects across the sites which the proprietors are keen to pursue.


Having been invited to pitch to a group of 10 churches in Wiltshire we spoke at a “Transforming the Environment” study day along with Christian Aid and A Rocha; exploring the churches current commitments to cut carbon emissions and explore ‘green’ options for heating and electricity supplies. We hope to... more

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