Vickers and Barrass is a firm of Rural Chartered Surveyors offering a professional land agency service throughout the North East of England.
The business was established by Harry Vickers in 1973 and in September 2012 it was acquired by Darlington Farmers Auction Mart Limited to expand their range of services. TH Vickers Limited trading as Vickers and Barrass is now fronted and managed by Adam Barrass BSC (Honours in REALM, MRICS, FAAV) and Harry Vickers (BSC FRICS) who continues to work as a consultant.

LATEST NEWS

BASIC PAYMENT 2017

The 2017 application window is now open. Vickers and Barrass have a breadth of experience within the area of Common Agricultural Policy Subsidies honing on Pat Cotterill’s past experience working within the Rural Payments Agency.

Please contact Vickers and Barrass if you require assistance to submit your 2017 application.

COUNTRYSIDE STEWARDSHIP: MID-TIER AND HIGHER-TIER 2017 APPLICATIONS

Natural England has confirmed that the application window should open “very shortly”, however at present no specific date has been given.

Higher- Tier applications are on an invitation only basis, therefore if Natural England considers you eligible you will have been contacted.

If you are interested in discussing a Mid-Tier Application and its suitability for your holding, please contact the office we would be happy to discuss your individual circumstances.

CAPITAL GRANTS

Natural England continues to promote the Hedgerow and Boundary applications for 2017. Farmers can apply for up to 200m of stone walling and may be eligible to a grant of £5,000 (maximum). There are various other capital items including hedgerow laying and gapping up and this grant is also up to a maximum claim of £5,000. The scheme is competitive and is open to all farmers. If your ELS agreement expires prior to 30 June 2017 then you are eligible to apply. For existing UELS agreement holders which expire this year further confirmation and guidance will be made available from Natural England upon request. For further information please contact Pat Cotterill at the Tow Law office.

PLANNING UPDATE- “FIXING OUR BROKEN HOUSING MARKET”

A recent Government White Paper has been produced outlining the Governments proposals for “Fixing our broken housing market” of which the paper has been titled.

It is clear within this paper that a shift in thinking is emerging, an attitude more encouraging towards development in the countryside.

This shift opens up opportunities for land owners with potential development sites becoming more attractive due to changing policy as well as those with existing buildings prime for residential conversion.

Within applications submitted by Vickers and Barrass we are finding that a more favourable outlook towards development is emerging within our local planning authorities both within and outside of designated areas such as our local North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

We have significant experience dealing with planning matters and would be happy to offer our advice and services to achieve your assets full potential.

COUNTRYSIDE STEWARDSHIP CAPITAL GRANTS

Natural England continues to promote the Hedgerow and Boundary applications for 2017. Farmers can apply for up to 200m of stone walling and may be eligible to a grant of £5,000 (maximum). There are various other capital items including hedgerow laying and gapping up and this grant is also up to a maximum claim of £5,000. The scheme is competitive and is open to all farmers. If your ELS agreement expires prior to 30 June 2017 then you are eligible to apply. For existing UELS agreement holders which are expiring this year further confirmation and guidance will be made available from Natural England upon request. For further information please contact Pat Cotterill at the Tow Law office.

EUROPEAN AGRICULTURAL FUND FOR RURAL DEVELOPMENT (EAFRD)

The Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) for the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) area has been announced. There is grant funding available totalling £9.7 million to businesses in the food processing, tourism and rural business development sectors. Applications are being sought for projects that will create jobs, make the business grow or bring more money into the local rural economy. The capital grants will be made available from the RPA and will fund up to 40% of a projects cost with the minimum amount totalling £35,000. The projects overall costing would need to be over £87,000 to be eligible for the funding. Businesses must be located in rural areas of County Durham, Northumberland and Gateshead or within the North East Rural Growth Network boundary. For further information please contact our Tow Law office or call into the mart office on sale days.

BASIC PAYMENT SCHEME 2017

As we approach the start of BPS 2017 window we understand that applications will be available to submit in early March. Paper applications will only be made available to those who do not use an agent or who applied on paper last year. The Rural Payments Agency are actively encouraging farmers who did not apply online last year to register with them and apply for the 2017 BPS on line. If you have not yet registered with the Rural Payments Agency and you require further assistance with your 2017 application then please contact either Adam Barrass or Pat Cotterill.

2016 BASIC PAYMENT CLAIMS

The Rural Payments Agency has recently released a statement in relation to the 2016 Basic Payment Scheme.  They state that they have paid 91% of eligible 2016 BPS claims to farmers in December and the RPA are continuing to work on those who have not yet had their 2015 queries resolved.

If you have not received your 2016 BPS claim then the RPA will be writing to you over the course of the next few weeks to explain why you haven’t been paid, what will happen next and what to do if you require additional financial support. Vickers and Barrass do not expect the letter to be specific to your claim and we understand from the RPA this will be a generic letter telling you they have not made a payment to you. These letters should be sent directly to the claimant and the RPA will ask you to contact your agent to discuss the contents of the letter.

The RPA continue to say they will pay claims as soon as they can but will not specify and exact date but are working to pay everyone be end of March 2017. However the RPA continue to state that due to the nature of certain claims they know it won’t be possible to make payments by the end of March and if this does happen they will once again write to you.

If you have received your 2016 BPS claim and you disagree with the amount you were expecting you should wait until you receive your Claim Statement. These statements should be sent to you some time in February.  If you still don’t agreement with the amount then you should email the RPA and explain why you think the amount is wrong.

The statement bulletin continues to say that Paul Caldwell the Basic Payment Operations Director wants to personally reassure all of you that both he and his team are dedicated to making the remaining BPS 2016 payments as quickly as possible.

However, at the minute our view is the RPA remain in disarray and cannot answer specific questions, answer or reply to letters, or queries’ relating to your claim which is unacceptable.

STEWARDSHIP PAYMENTS

Just to add further confusion we understand that some farmers have received their 2017 midyear ELS/UELS payment from Natural England.  Natural England have until June to make these payments but it appears that some payments “have slipped through” early.

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