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Cooke & Arkwright
July 2015 news

Landmark new planning law for Wales

The landmark new Planning (Wales) Bill became an Act on 6 July. It provides for several tiers of development planning with a new National Development Framework; new Strategic Development Plans dealing with cross-boundary issues to cover strategic planning regions based on Cardiff, Swansea and the North Wales A55 Corridor; and the existing tier of Local Development Plans. A new tier of Developments of National Significance in which applications for major developments can be put directly to Welsh Ministers is currently under consultation.

The present pace of LDP production has been slow partly because of a lack of strategic regional planning in Wales.


Helmont House, Cardiff

Activity evident in all investor classes in south wales

Our investment team, comprising Graham Davies, Nick Lawley and Nick Golunski, has transacted over £40m worth of deals in South Wales in the second quarter of 2015. The level and quality of these deals reflect the current trend for increased investor interest in commercial property in the region and provides evidence of the attraction to each investor class.

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Crown Estate's Welsh coastal interests

The Crown Estate has confirmed the reappointment of our Land Agency as managing agents of its Coastal portfolio in Wales for a further five years. We act as The Crown Estate’s local representative within Wales, providing expertise in specialist areas and developing relationships with tenants and other parties with coastal interests in Wales, including environmental groups and regulatory bodies. This covers a substantial part of the Welsh coastline including ports, harbours, marinas and leisure boating. We are currently involved in the negotiation of the Regulating Lease at Saundersfoot Harbour, where a £4m redevelopment is under way.

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New pension reforms that were introduced in April 2015 have resulted in more pensioners investing in commercial high street properties via a Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP).

The changes mean that individuals with defined contribution schemes can more easily withdraw funds from their pot as a lump sum, with the first 25% tax free. As a result, more people are now investigating the potential of investing this money to provide them with an income stream for retirement.

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Pheasant taking off over farmland

Be sure of farmland value

Farmland prices have rocketed in recent years, driven in no small part by demand from farmers themselves seeking to expand. This is largely a natural process of evolution. In many parts of the UK, farms are decreasing in number but increasing in size. The reality is that agricultural land prices have often exceeded the rate at which the agricultural economy itself is growing. This is in part due to economies of scale delivered by advances in technology and improvements in equipment and machinery, but also due to incentives in the form of tax breaks and EU entitlements making this commodity valuable not only to famers, but also to investors.

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Photo of Nick Lawley

Investment director named high-flyer

Our Investment Director, Nick Lawley has been named by WalesOnline as one of Wales’ 35 highest-flying business and professional men aged 35 and under. Those selected had most impressed them with ‘their achievement and the contribution they have made to Wales' economy and public life’. They were chosen from a very wide range of business and professional sectors, including creative, technological, professional and marketing.

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The Welsh National Ratepayer Forum (WNRF), a Valuation Office Agency (VOA) consultative body, reconvened on July 27th to focus on the 2017 business rates revaluation. It was attended by representatives of the VOA, Welsh Government and the business community, including our Director of Business Rates, Andrew West, who is the spokesman for RICS Wales on local taxation matters. Membership also includes the Institute of Revenues, Rating and Valuation (IRRV), the British Beer & Pub Association and the Federation of Small Businesses.

The forum is a platform for exchange of information, including a progress update from the VOA; the likely implications of the 2017 revaluation; and addressing ratepayers concerns. Andrew will provide commentary on the likely implications of the 2017 revaluation, and analysis of how movements in value reflect business and retail performance in Wales, post-recession, in our next newsletter.

Young patient pictured in the playroom
Supporting children

Our chosen charity is LATCH, the Welsh Children's Cancer Charity, which supports children undergoing cancer treatment at the Children's Hospital for Wales. Children from Chepstow to Aberyswyth attend the hospital and the charity provides on-site accommodation while they receive treatment. We have raised over £1,500 this year so far, with lots more events to come. Emma Gwatkin and Ryan Pratt took a lovely collection of books and games over to their Playroom and Olivia Giles, pictured with her father and Play Specialist Louise Brokoff, couldn't wait to get started!

road runner

Ed Meyer, Surveyor with our Land Agency, rode in the first Wales Velothon event on Sunday 14th June, along with 15,000 riders from across Europe, and raised almost £1,000 for our chosen charity LATCH. He said it was his best day riding and the first time he had raced on roads without traffic - the support of the crowds was fantastic. On 4th October, Rod Perons, Director of Land Agency and Tina Wilson, Office & Systems Manager, will be taking part in the Cardiff Half Marathon, also to raise money for LATCH. It promises to be the race's biggest to-date with well over 11,000 people already signed up to run.

© Cooke & Arkwright. All rights reserved.
Cooke & Arkwright is a trading name of Cooke & Arkwright Ltd. Registered in England and Wales No 2618062. Coark offer Retail, Office, Industrial, and Rural properties. Registered Office: One Central Park, Western Avenue, Bridgend, CF31 3TZ. Cooke & Arkwright is regulated by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.
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