bi3 Autumn/Winter 2020





Woodland can pay

off for farmers p6



How to protect your

finances and future p12

Weighing up the pros

and cons of Solar PV



Checking the

temperature of

property market p24


Creating safe spaces in

the workplace p26

autumn summer ❘ winter bi2019 bi2020 1


Your AMC agents for straightforward farm finance.

A name you can trust, covering the whole of Scotland.

Sarah Tyson

James Petty

Malcolm Taylor Catherine Lawson


07974934301 07715609325



If you had asked me to predict the major influences

on business performance at the start of the year, a

global pandemic would not have been on my list!

Nonetheless, it has been a year of adaptation,

innovation and creativity, and despite the

challenging trading environment I believe Bell

Ingram has risen to the occasion remarkably well.

Covid-19 has taken out whole sectors of our economy but thankfully the rural

sector has reasons for optimism, as you will find out in this 2020 Autumn/

Winter issue of Bell Ingram’s Insight Magazine.

There’s an emphasis on how we lay firm foundations for a route towards a low

carbon future and Forestry has been singled out by the Scottish Government

as a key sector, with a raft of new grants available to encourage tree planting

across the country. On page 6 we examine one small-scale woodland scheme

with Bell Ingram Land Agent Matthew Imrie who has first-hand experience of

developing such a project on his family’s farm near Glasgow.

With increased demand on our electricity network during lockdown and

with working from home becoming the ‘new normal’, our Utilities teams

throughout the UK have been helping the energy industry protect its

customers through extensive wayleave support at a time when network

resilience is under pressure.

Our renewable energy technical consultant Joe Fergusson gives his thoughts

on the current state-of-play in the solar PV and battery storage markets, and

on the feasibility of these technologies in light commercial situations on page


Future proofing your business is always important, but especially in times of

uncertainty. On page 13 Land Agent Associate Catherine Lawson underlines

the importance of a coherent succession plan and why now, with rumoured

changes to inheritance tax as the Government tries to balance the books post

Covid, is the time to put this in place.

Meanwhile, we step into the day in the life of a land agent, which is rather a lot

more than you might think, with our Valuations Partner Sarah Tyson on page 10.

It was a difficult start to the year for anyone working in the Estate Agency

business with the industry just about grinding to a halt during lockdown. But

this did not dampen the spirits of our property experts who raised the bar

when it comes to thinking outside the box, managing to sell a house after one

virtual viewing on an iPhone. Read more about our team’s success on page 24.

If there is one area that is sure to be turned on its head post pandemic it

is commercial office design, explored on page 28 by our Design Associate

Murray Fleming.

Finally, I would like to congratulate the raft of new promotions and

appointments across our business. We recognise the hard work and dedication

of all our staff, particularly at this time of uncertainty and change.

Graham Lumby Chairman

Editorial contacts for Insight

l Alison Lowson, Marketing Manager

Tel. 01738 621 121 or 07584 093354

l Eleanor Mackay, Digital Marketing & PR Co-ordinator Tel. 01738 621 121 or 07758 960466

l Design by Stuart Cameron

l Additional photography by Perthshire Picture Agency & David Lozowy Photography

*Insight magazine is prepared for general information only. While care is taken in its

compilation, neither Bell Ingram LLP nor its employees or officers accept any liability for

the contents or their application to any individual circumstances. Readers are strongly

recommended to contact Bell Ingram to obtain advice appropriate to their needs.


6 Can money grow on trees? Expert

advice is key to getting a small-scale

woodland scheme off the ground.

10 A day in the life of a Land Agent

Variety is the spice of life for Valuations

Partner Sarah Tyson.

12 How to succeed at succession What

happens when a failure to prepare leaves your

family in the lurch?

16 Expert Opinion Our Head of Land

Management warns against chasing subsidies.

17 Our rural land management

experts Meet our experienced team.

18 Weighing up the pros and cons

of Solar PV Renewable energy technical

consultant, Joe Fergusson, gives his thoughts

on the current state-of-play.

20 Inside the Penrith Resilience

Project Ambleside-based Land Agent

Andrew Thompson explores the challenges

of determining the pipeline’s route through

a unique landscape rich with historic,

environmental and geographical features.

21 Mapping out the benefits of GIS

From disease outbreaks to natural disasters,

geospatial data has an important role to play.

22 Promotions and appointments We

continue to strengthen our team across our

10 UK offices.

24 Thinking outside the box in tough

times Meet our premium property experts.

27 Fostering the next generation of

rural decision makers Bell Ingram

partners with Countryside Learning Scotland.

28 How Covid is changing the way

we design our offices We quiz our

architects on the future of commercial design.

31 Conservation in design The

importance of traditional building skills and


34 Dreaming of your perfect home

post lockdown? Bell Ingram’s Ecosse

Living house range offers beautiful design

with fixed costs.

2 bi2019 summer summer bi2019 3

2 bi2020 autumn ❘ winter autumn ❘ winter bi2020 3



The Great

Food Guys

Bell Ingram’s very own

Quality Meat Scotland (QMS)

Lamb Ambassador Michelle

Stephen cooked up a storm

on BBC Scotland’s The Great

Food Guys programme


The Aberdeen-based Land

Agent joined celebrity chef

You’re kidding! Goats

steal the spotlight


nstead of welcoming clients and

contacts to our ringside marquee

at the Royal Highland Show, Bell

Ingram continued to support the rural

community by taking a “virtual” stand at

the first Scottish Agricultural Show run

in conjunction with RHS by our friends

at The Courier and Press & Journal


As well as sponsoring the Goat and

Young Handlers’ Category, we used

Nick Nairn, presenter, Dougie

Vipond and the Farmer/

Comedian Jim Smith in the

kitchen to prepare a rack of

Scotch lamb with roast miso

aubergine and sauce vierge.

Michelle, who also runs

a farm near Udny in

Aberdeenshire, says:

“There was something

that Jim Smith said on

the programme that really

resonated with me – namely

that when you taste lamb as

delicious as this it makes it

so worth getting up at three

o’clock in the morning to go

and lamb a ewe.

“I think farmers are so proud

to produce Scotch Lamb and

when they get a nice bit of it,

it does make it so worthwhile

getting up in the middle of

the night. Knowing that we

have produced them and

that they’ve lived high-quality

lives is so satisfying. We’re

audited by Quality Meat

Scotland on the farm so we

have high welfare standards

and I’m so proud to be able

to produce Scotch Lamb.” n

You can follow Michelle on

Instagram @Insta_glam

our stand to showcase the work of two

of Scotland’s most exciting farming

businesses – Lunan Bay Farm in Angus

and The Scottish Goat Meat Company in


Partner Malcolm Taylor, who heads

up Bell Ingram’s Land Management

team, explains: “Getting the chance to

sponsor the Goat and Young Handler’s

Category gave us a unique opportunity

to champion this healthy, high-quality

Scottish meat and hopefully convince

shoppers to ‘Give Goat a Go’!

“Our collaboration with Neil and Jillian

McEwan from Lunan Bay Farm and

Victoria Gardiner and Adam Wright from

The Scottish Goat Meat Company was

particularly exciting and hopefully gave

both producers a high profile platform

to promote this delicious red meat to

the wider public and explain why it’s

becoming so popular with top chefs and

discerning consumers.

“Covid has accelerated the pace of

digital change at a rate none of us

could have predicted, and it’s exciting

to watch Scotland’s agricultural sector

adapt to new ways of working, living and

learning. We were delighted to support

the Scottish Agricultural Show which

was a fun, imaginative and innovative

way of uniting and showcasing the

sector during these challenging

times.” n

in brief

Virtual shake-up

for Perth Show

When Covid put the kibosh on the

Perth Show, its Chairman and Bell

Ingram Managing Partner Mark

Mitchell refused to admit defeat and,

for the first time in its 158-year history,

the event went “virtual”.

Instead of


on the

North Inch,




were invited

to submit a video clip of up to two

minutes of their livestock. Judging

took place on August 1, with virtual

rosettes and silverware awarded to

the section winners.

As in keeping with previous years, the

winners of each section were then put

forward to allow an overall champion

to be judged and awarded.

Mark says: “The idea behind the

virtual show was to give people the

opportunity to compete, albeit on

a much less formal basis than in

previous years. I think we succeeded

in creating a fun event to lift spirits

during a difficult time for the rural

community and the feedback was

that the virtual show was enjoyed by

all those who took part.” n

Bell Ingram’s

calendar is back

for 2021

If you missed out last year, don’t worry: the

2021 Bell Ingram calendar will be available

free of charge from our 10 offices at the

beginning of December.

The highly anticipated calendar features

12 stunning rural images taken by

our talented staff.

You can also request a copy by

emailing our marketing team at


2 bi2019 winter winter bi2019 3

4 bi2020 autumn ❘ winter autumn ❘ winter bi2020 5


ay back in January

the only cloud on the

horizon was Brexit

and the impact it would have

on both our business and those

of our clients, and it was hard,

if not impossible, to think that

anything else would dominate

the year ahead.

Even then we had started to

feel a negative impact on our

tourism-based clients, who were

seeing reduced overseas visitor

numbers, and the prospect of a

‘no deal’ Brexit did not bode well

for our agricultural clients within

the livestock sector with sheep

in particular being highlighted

to be at risk.

In the background a virus had

taken hold in a city in China we

had never heard of. As Covid-19

slowly got a grip on Italy and

then the UK, we realised that

not only was every business

threatened but each and every

one of us too.

We were very lucky, firstly we

have a robust IT system that

allowed remote working for

everyone, and secondly our

client base was as protected as

any sector could be from the

worst that was to take place.

Our farming and estate

clients needed us as much as

before, but our utility clients

probably needed us even more

and the support services we

provide to the latter became

more important than ever. For

example, the demand on the

electricity network increased

substantially with millions

of us being at home all day.

This brought new challenges

in network resilience and an

increased demand for priority

connections for government

projects targeted at the fight

against Covid-19.

The support from the contract

staff Bell Ingram provides to

the utility sector proved itself

to be extremely welcome

and it was all hands on deck.

While a lot of the strategic

work in the electricity sector

was put on hold, the emphasis

moved towards different

work streams with safety and

network resilience being at

the forefront. This all required

Wayleave support services

and it was work that we could

easily adapt to in the short

term while working in the

background on postponed

strategic projects for the


Adaptability and

robust IT systems

allowed Bell Ingram

to navigate the

Covid-19 challenge

By Mark Mitchell, Managing Partner

Elsewhere, our historic

investment in our IT paid

dividends and we were

able to vacate our offices

overnight, ensuring that our

service to clients was virtually

uninterrupted. It is one thing to

have “Contingency Plans”, but

quite another to implement

them, particularly when those

plans only anticipated closing

an individual office due to

a foreseeable event such as

fire or flood. We had at no

point considered closing each

and every office on the same

day – but that is what we did,

everything fell into place, and it

worked seamlessly.

owever we are

adaptable and learn

Hquickly. Since March not

only have we become familiar

with the furlough scheme,

but the VAT payment deferral,

Creative or Tourism Hardship

Fund, Pivotal Enterprise

Resilience Fund and Small

Business Support Fund to name

a few. Our teams have striven to

service our clients throughout

this period, giving them the

best advice and just being at

their side when needed. We

have not only stood by our

clients, but by their tenants,

looking after them and steering

them in the direction of support

and assistance. During this time,

we have also coped with the

normal day-to-day activities

that occur. We issued all grazing

licences as normal, completed

all the IACS forms, organised

woodland felling, planting and

maintenance, we have issued

wayleaves, and negotiated

servitudes. In short, we have

kept all of the balls in the air,

something I am very proud of.

But while Covid-19 took

central stage and we have all

been watching, waiting and

reacting to the next regulation

or governmental guidance,

Brexit has been simmering

away in the background.

The UK Government and EU

negotiators have been locked

in a tussle that will inevitably

go down to the wire. So how is

this going to impact our client

base? In 2018 the EU accounted

for about 60% of all UK food

and drink exports, down from

70% five years ago. In a ‘no

deal’ world all trading with the

EU would be subject to WTO

rules, with tariffs applied and

border checks put in place. The

consequence will inevitably be

delays and expense.

In tandem, the Agriculture

Bill has been working its way

through the UK parliamentary

process and is not without

its controversy particularly in

relation to the allegations of

watering down of food and

animal standards. Allowing

the importation of lower grade

goods from the US such as

chlorine washed chicken and

hormone fed beef don’t go

down well with our indigenous

agricultural system that has

been built on quality and


Predicting the future is always

a risky business, but I think it’s

fair to say that there will be no

“back to normal” after the dust

settles from Covid and Brexit.

For this reason, adaptation and

innovation are more important

than ever in the rural sector. n



Can money grow

on trees? Expert advice

is key to getting a small scale

woodland scheme off the ground

• Project: Small scale

woodland creation

• Where: Blairskaith Muir on

Hillhead Farm near Glasgow

• When: February 2019 - Present

• Why: Maximise an

unproductive farm asset

• Services required: Forestry,

Land Management, Planning


orestry has a key role to

play in helping the rural

economy recover from

the impact of the Covid-19


That was the assertion from

Scotland’s rural economy

secretary Fergus Ewing when

he announced a £1 million

grant in July to encourage

farmers and crofters to diversify

into forestry production.

The grant is the first to

be made available under

the £40m Agriculture

Transformation Programme

which was launched in

February to support farming

and help reduce greenhouse

gas emissions.

The money can be used to

cover 90% of the cost of

creating small-scale woodlands

that will capture carbon and

provide a source of income for

farming businesses.

This focus on carbon capture

could be a game changer, with

a fledgling trade in carbon

credits potentially offering

much quicker returns in a

sector that has traditionally

appealed to more longer-term


But just how easy is it to tap

into the available grants and

get a small-scale woodland

scheme off the ground? Bell

Ingram’s Matthew Imrie

has first-hand experience of

developing such a project on

his family’s farm near Glasgow.

He says: “The Scottish

Government’s push to

encourage farmers to plant

more trees ticks a lot of boxes

– socially, environmentally and

economically. However, it’s not

as simple as identifying a piece

of land, planting some trees

and watching the money roll

in. It can be a complex process

that requires expert advice at

every stage to ensure success.”

Matthew’s woodland journey

began last year when the idea

of developing a forestry scheme

on unproductive land was first

discussed with his farmer father

John Imrie.

Those plans moved one step

closer when Scottish Forestry

approved the Hillhead Forest

planting application earlier this


This green light was the

culmination of 18 months

of work by Matthew and his

colleague Gregor Dalziell, who

overcame a number of hurdles

to successfully progress the

first phase of the project … not

least the surprise discovery of

a colony of protected Great

Crested Newts in a pond on

the site!

Matthew explains the

background: “While Dad was

able to cultivate the majority

of this new acreage and bring

it into silage ground, the hill

ground was moorland, and

barely fenced. Rather than just

leave it sitting we wanted to

maximise our least productive

asset in order to safeguard the

future of the business.”

owever, convincing

any farmer to consider

H‘alternative’ uses for their

land is always a challenge.

Matthew continues: “I

think it’s fair to say that most

farmers and landowners take

a great deal of persuading to

use their land for anything

other than traditional farming

purposes. There has to be a very

good reason to diversify and

that reason is almost always

financial. First and foremost,

they want to know it’s a solid

investment and what level of

outlay is required to bring in a

good income.

“From my experience of

working as an assistant land

agent at Bell Ingram, I knew

that forestry offered good

investment potential thanks

to ongoing policy backing to

meet Scottish Government

targets of planting 36 million

trees by 2030, and that a

woodland creation scheme

could provide the solution we

needed at Blairskaith.”

Phase one of the project kicked

off in 2019 when the Imrie

family asked Central Scotland

Green Network (CSGN) to

conduct an initial feasibility

study on the targeted area

which produced a potential

planting plan with three

blocked areas.

Matthew takes up the

story: “CSGN’s planting

plan proved to be incredibly

optimistic in the long run

(eventually being narrowed

down from 100 to 60 acres)

but at that point it provided

enough promise to kick off the


“Next I enlisted the help of my

colleague Gregor Dalziell to

start the woodland application

process. As well as collecting

the required background

information, including soil

types, Scottish Forestry grant

areas, forest suitability maps,

haulage routes and regional

forest strategies, photos

were also taken of different

viewpoints on and around the

land to gauge the landscape


“We also commissioned

additional information in the

form of Deep Peat, Breeding

Bird, Phase 1 Habitat and

Archaeological surveys

which allowed us to make an

educated assessment of the

project’s feasibility early on and

we were able to quickly adjust

the budget and present this to

the client for reassessment.

“It’s important to be proactive

at this stage as it allows you

to design your woodland

around any potential barriers to


“The Archaeological survey was

good and didn’t present many

issues, likewise the Breeding

Bird survey highlighted some

factors but nothing too major

aside from some contradictory

statements about bird

displacement between our

survey and the one next door.

“The Phase 1 Habitat survey

threw up the most hurdles.

This showed the proposed

planting area to have a vast

array of different habitats and

highlighted some protected

species in the form of a

Butterfly Orchid and potentially

a Great Crested Newt breeding

ground as well as some Annex

1 habitats. These were all to

influence the design of the

woodland and the tree species

that would be selected for


6 bi2020 autumn ❘ winter autumn ❘ winter bi2020 7

2 bi2019 winter winter bi2019 3


he plan remained fluid,

allowing us to factor

in the findings of each

survey as we received them,

then further consultation

was sought from the various

stakeholders (SF, SEPA, SNH,

the local community council

and East Dunbartonshire

Council) together with some

site visits to discuss our

plans and issues highlighted.

Clockwise from top left:

l Bell Ingram Land

Agent Matthew and

his brother Ben are the

fourth generation of

Imries at Hillhead Farm.

l Matthew is pictured

inside the Linn Caves

which are a stone’s

throw from the site of

the planned woodland.

Popular with visitors,

the man-made caves

are a reminder of the

quarrying which once

produced lime for use on

local farms.

l Pond is the home of a

colony of Great Crested


l John Imrie is the third

generation of Imries to

farm in the Lennox Hills

just north of Glasgow. He

is pictured looking over

the land on Blairskaith

Muir earmarked for the

new woodland scheme.



l John, Ben and

Matthew pictured

at the Branziet Burn

waterfalls in front of

the Linn Caves.

Inevitably, the different

perspectives from each of

these stakeholders raised more

issues along with suggestions

on how to address them.

“However, the time we spent

gathering detailed information

was well worth the effort as

it has resulted in a woodland

that has managed to balance

the environmental, social and

economic elements required

to deliver a more sustainable

project ensuring the benefits

are experienced not just by our

family business but the local

and wider community as


“The application was finally

approved in June 2020 with

the process having started

in earnest in February 2019.

While this site is admittedly

more complex than some,

it clearly demonstrates why

it’s vital to have expert advice

when embarking on any

planting scheme.”

ell Ingram’s Gregor

Dalziell has been closely

Binvolved in the Blairskaith

project from the beginning

and believes that clear and

speedy communication with

all stakeholders is key to

delivering woodland projects.

He adds: “A good example

of this is that we were able

to map the site using QGIS

technology which meant

that any amendments could

quickly be added to the digital

plan then fired back to all

interested parties immediately.

It’s a huge advantage to be

able to map the area to the

modern standards required by

Scottish Forestry. That makes

a massive difference to the

success of the project.

“Employing a rural professional

services firm like Bell Ingram

to deliver your woodland

project means that you don’t

just have access to our expert

forestry team but to wide

range of specialists whose land

management experience and

expertise spans everything

from QGIS mapping to grant

applications, planning to AMC


l John pictured at the

bridal path sign.

" Community

engagement is

a big part of our

vision for the

Forest. "

So what’s next for the

Hillhead Forest project?

Matthew Imrie says: “Community engagement is a big

part of our vision for the Forest. There is already a bridle path

through the farm which links Milngavie to Lennoxtown, and

we plan to add gates and access points at certain locations to

allow the public to walk through the forest and up to the trig

point to enjoy the stunning views north to Ben Lomond and

south over the city of Glasgow.

“We want to develop the social/environmental aspects of

the scheme by involving the community at the planting

stage. Our aim is to encourage people to connect with

their environment, while empowering them to research,

experiment and engage with their local landscape and flora.

“We are also keen to develop partnerships with our local

schools using the Forest as an educational resource to bridge

the gap between how young people in our urban areas see

our countryside compared with those that live and work in it.”

However, the long-term success of projects like Hillhead

Forest is ultimately down to its potential to generate an


Matthew concludes: “For many farmers forestry is becoming

an increasingly important part of their income stream. The

sector is exceptionally buoyant at present with investors

taking advantage of current tax and grant regimes, as well

as the opportunities offered by carbon credits. We’ll certainly

be exploring carbon credits at Hillhead, not just to make our

Forest economically viable, but as an important part of efforts

to tackle climate change.”

Find out more about small scale woodland schemes at

Woodland is a tax-efficient &

climate-friendly investment

4 bi2019 winter winter bi2019 5

8 bi2020 autumn ❘ ❘ winter autumn ❘ ❘ winter bi2020 9


ith positive news in short supply

across much of the UK’s business

landscape, it’s encouraging to

report that forestry is faring better than

many sectors as we continue to navigate

the challenges of the Covis-19 crisis.

The pandemic doesn’t appear to have

negatively affected land values and

sustainably produced timber continues to

outperform commercial property, bonds

and equities, making it a solid, long-term


For those looking for quicker returns,

new woodlands still qualify under the

agricultural Basic Payment Scheme and

applicants can secure grant funding

via the Scottish Rural Development

Programme towards the cost of planting.

Most encouragingly, however, government

tree planting targets have opened up a

raft of new opportunities with landowners

now able to generate extra income from

woodland creation by selling the rights

to the carbon captured by newly planted


Scotland’s farms in particular are ripe for

low-carbon practices while woodland is

both a climate-friendly and tax-efficient

investment. The rural sector can breathe

life into the green recovery by investing in

sustainable farming and forestry.

We are currently working with a wide

cross section of rural businesses to

align their forestry programmes with

this post-Covid landscape and the new

trends in demand. So, whether you are

exploring alternative land uses or need

help to understand the grant process,

we can help you with all aspects of your

woodland strategy.

ell Ingram’s highly experienced

forestry team operates across

BScotland and Northern England

managing hundreds of acres of UK forests

for landowners, farmers and commercial


Working closely with colleagues from Bell

Ingram’s other specialist teams, including

renewables, planning, tourism, rural

agency and rural land management, our

forest managers offer the whole package

of expert and impartial management

advice to help you get the most from your


Bell Ingram’s dedicated team

of specialists provides the

following forestry services:

● Forest Management

● Woodland Creation

● Tree Safety Reports and Survey

● Forest & Woodland Sales and


● GIS Mapping and Drone Surveys

● Forestry Investment

➤ All our Forestry Managers are

accredited members of the Institute for

Chartered Foresters.

For more information please contact

Stuart McArtney on 01738 621 121 or

check out our website

land management

land management

A day in the life

of a Bell Ingram

Land Agent


Sarah Tyson

Partner and Head of



ariety is the spice of life for Sarah

Tyson, Partner in Perth’s Rural Land

Management Department

Spread across 10 offices, our land agents

in Scotland and the north of England

oversee many hundreds of thousands of

hectares across our clients’ private and

corporate estates, dealing with anything

from property sales and valuations to

managing estate staff or dealing with

nature conservation issues.

While life out of the office is perhaps the

most interesting part of the job, an officebased

day still involves many different

tasks and liaison via telephone and email

with the wider team involved in each


The number and spread of jobs on the go

at any one time means it is important to

be a quick thinker and have the ability to

switch between tasks.

To give you a feel for the variety the job

has to offer and demonstrate the extent

of what we can do, we take you through a

typical working day in the office (or virtual

office) for our Head of Valuations and

experienced Land Agent, Sarah Tyson.

● Email advising client on prices for

private sale of farmland and buildings

in Perthshire.

● Pulling together key heads of terms,

including price, to put to a client’s

neighbour who needs to bring a water

pipe across the client’s property in

Ayrshire, including technical details

for road crossing as provided by

● engineer.

● Discussion with colleagues over

a valuation needed for a Scottish

property involved in a divorce case

likely to go to court in England.

● Arranging estate meeting with keeper,

farm manager and handyman for

Estate in Inverness-shire. Also dealing

with invoices and contract for house

cleaning firm for same estate.

● Liaising with lawyer, QC and client

over telecom mast site on a farm

which is going to Scottish Land

Tribunal hearing.

● Writing to clients regarding proposal

received to buy stone from derelict

farm buildings following site meeting

last week and further review of repairs

to farm buildings.

● Checking terms for Perthshire farm

sale after offer received by sales


● Dealing with enquiry for AMC funding

from a purchaser who wishes to buy

a property for use as farm shop and

play area. Advised he speaks to local

planning authority in Aberdeenshire

as first step.

● Reviewing comparable properties and

draft report with a colleague valuing a

high value residential property in the

west of Scotland.

● Providing fee estimates for valuation

of land sales to neighbours, probate/

inheritance tax valuations and advice

on purchase of buildings adjacent

to client’s existing farmhouse, all in

central Scotland.

● Discussion with third parties over

level of payment for timber extraction

access to be taken over an existing

forestry road in my client’s woodland,

central Scotland.

● Checking information provided

by client for review of values

required prior to transfer of estate

in Inverness-shire to his children,

including hydro-electric scheme

and wind turbine, farmland,

cottages and deer stalking rights.

● Reviewing heads of terms for

option and lease from a windfarm


● Reviewing salary levels for

client’s staff on a managed

estate, together with overall

staff packages including vehicle,

clothing allowance, telephone etc.

● Liaison with estate contractors

on nesting bats and owls, and

electricity disconnection/re-routing

for building due to be demolished.

● Completing valuations for

purchase of woodland and farms

for pension fund providers, central


● And the everyday tasks of being

a professional such as doing

timesheets, issuing fees and

keeping everything on the right file

– whether hard copy or electronic.

Land agents are certainly Jacks

and Jills of all trades, covering a

breadth of geographical locations,

types of work, people encountered,

knowledge bases and challenges.

Whether you are a landowner, tenant

or professional adviser wondering

who can help you out with a

property issue, get in touch with your

local office – one of our team will

probably have experience of exactly

your issue. n

➤ If you are considering a career

in rural property, drop an email to

telling us a bit about yourself and

your aspirations. We are happy

to consider those looking for a

change of career as well as those

seeking graduate opportunities

– a lot of land managers started

their working life in a different


The Agricultural Mortgage

Corporation (AMC) has been

working with farmers for

more than 90 years and is still

supporting business, both new and existing

customers, through the Covid-19 crisis. As a

bank, AMC is an essential service, very much

still open for business – and one that may never

have been more essential to our countryside.

With the bank base rate now down to 0.1%,

the lowest ever in UK history, it is well worth

taking an hour or so to review your financial


AMC offer long term loans from five years to

30 years, on sums from £25,001 and upwards,

and with the impact of the virus likely to be

with us for a “wee while yet” as they say here in

Scotland, every business will need to look at all

its costs.

Refinancing existing borrowing, including

considering fixed rate and interest only

options, is only to be recommended. Even if

you generally aren’t a borrower, it may be that

these unprecedented times will mean that

you need to look at a loan to help keep things

going in 2020 and beyond. This is especially

so for any diversified farming or rural business

whose world is turned on its head at the


AMC are able to review options and it may be

that, subject to every individual circumstance,

you really can get through this crisis, while

at the same time setting up a good base for

future borrowing with controlled costs.

AMC loans can be transferred between

generations, which is often a key point for

farming families with the next generation

already coming along.

As agents we are used to reviewing all aspects

of a business, we understand the cashflow

through a farming year and can see behind

the accounts to see the strengths of your


Different combinations of business streams

are also nothing new – we have clients with

complex finances, but one of our skills is to

work with you to get a really clear picture since

we are the ones presenting it to the bankers

for, hopefully, approval. We liaise with your

other regular professional advisers both during

and after the application process, before

carrying out a valuation of the security property

once the loan is confirmed and you are happy

with the terms.

AMC have a strapline: straightforward finance

for farmers and we like to think the Bell Ingram

team are the straightforward agents to help

you make the most of this.

➤ If you would like to discuss AMC finance in

confidence, call Sarah Tyson on 07710308614

or email

and either Sarah or one of our team will be

delighted to help you.

*All AMC loans are subject to status. Ts&Cs


6 bi2019 summer summer bi2019 7

10 bi2020 autumn ❘ winter autumn ❘ winter bi2020 11

land management

land management

Successful succession


sustainable farm




Partner Ledingham


rguably, there has never been a

more appropriate time for those in

Afarming businesses to have frank

discussions about what’s next.

There’s plenty of food for thought for

farmers and growers over the next few


For a start, there’s a likely downward trend

in farm income support post-Brexit as well

as concern over what happens with future

trade deals. Plus, COVID-19 has been a

salutary reminder of our own mortality.

Succession planning is about putting your

business on the best possible footing for

the future.

These are valuable businesses and, as

such, when a family member wants to

leave or retire and withdraw funds from

the business, or when someone sadly

passes away, the potential temptation for

family members to ensure they receive

their perceived — or assumed — share of

that worth all-too-often means we see

disagreements crop up.

It is usually not enough to simply

customise a standard will: the legal

complexities of the Scottish system

mean it is extremely important that the

background of the business set-up is

thoroughly investigated, so the party’s

intention is accurately documented at the

time of drafting. So clear communication

and effective planning are crucial.

Here are just two examples

showing the reality of lack of

succession planning.

● Farmer dies without making a will

Let’s consider the example of a married

couple with two children; the father

owning the farmland and house, worth

around £2million (£350,000 of which is

the farmhouse).

In addition:

• Farm stock and moveable items are

worth £120,000

• Furniture in the farmhouse is worth


• Bringing the total estate value to

£2,137,000 It is generally – and

incorrectly – assumed in such

situations that the spouse inherits

the whole estate.

If there is no will, a spouse or civil partner

will be able to claim prior rights, and

children can claim legal rights, with the

remainder being the free estate.

As such, the spouse is entitled to prior

rights of:

• A sum equal to the value of her

husband’s interest in the farmhouse


• A sum equal to the value of the

furniture — up to a maximum of


• A financial provision payment of

£50,000 plus interest until the

date of payment.

The spouse is also entitled to claim their

legal rights in the estate. (This is a claim

where a spouse and surviving children

or grandchildren can make a claim on a

deceased’s moveable estate.) In this case

the spouse would also be entitled to one

third of the £120,000 assets, with the two

children splitting another third, and the

final portion going to the free estate.

The free estate then passes to the children

of the deceased.

Thus whilst the spouse will get a

considerable portion of the estate, worth

around £457,000 in value, the children

would inherit the balance, split equally

between them, namely £840,000 each.

● Farmer dies with valid will, but the farm

held in partnership.

In this scenario, the farmer leaves the

farm in his will, to his eldest son and very

little to either his wife or younger child.

Using the same valuations as in the

first example, here the farm is held in

partnership with the wife and eldest son,

but the farmer holds all the capital.

In a quirk of Scots Law, if a farm is

held in the partnership or in a limited

company, the farm assets are deemed

moveable estate. As such, a disinherited

child or spouse can, in terms of the

Succession (Scotland) Act 1964, make a

claim for “legal rights” on the value of the

moveable estate, including partnership

assets or value of the company



f there is a will and the spouse

is not adequately provided for

or disinherited altogether, the

spouse would be entitled to a third of

the moveable estate (approximately

£712,333.33); the disinherited child

could also claim half of the one third

“pot” allocated to the children, which

would be just over £356,000; the eldest

child, as the beneficiary of the will, would

be obliged to meet these claims before

he inherited the balance of the estate. A

hefty bill!

This potential claim could be

circumvented with planning; for

example, had the farm been retained

outwith the partnership it would remain

heritable property and, as the law

currently stands, that portion of the

estate would not be subject to a legal

rights claim.

While we can never legislate for a family’s

reaction to the passing of a relative,

pragmatic protections can be put in

place to avoid tools becoming weapons,

and ensuring instead the continued

success of the family farm: undoubtedly

the best legacy of all.

How to succeed

at succession in a

Covid-19 world

Catherine Lawson

Land Agent, Rural Land



sk any farmer

or landowner

Awhy they are so

motivated to look after

their land in the way that

they do and somewhere

near the top (if not at the

top) of the list will be their

desire to keep the farm

or estate in the family for

future generations.

So why, when it comes to

succession planning, do

the conversations dry up?

While most family farms

wish to keep the business

within family, planning

who will own and deal

with farm assets when the

head of the family dies is

perceived as an awkward

conversation that is all too

often avoided until it’s too


That’s why we need to

change the mindset of

what exactly ‘succession’

means. Succession is

not about retirement, or

even death, but simply

a sensible part of your

long-term business plan.

Something written down

after careful discussions so

that it’s clear to everyone

involved how and by

whom farm assets are

owned or dealt with on


Establishing a succession

plan, can avoid disputes,

help secure tax benefits

and, most importantly,

keep the farming assets


Having the initial

conversation is often

extremely difficult as

mixing business and

personal relationships

can be tricky to navigate

and upsetting family

members is a very real

fear. But the alternative

is worse, and we all know

stories of families being

torn apart from the upset

of not getting what they

thought they would both

prior to a death and

sometimes afterwards as


One of the key factors

that drives succession is

the likely tax treatment

under Inheritance Tax

(IHT) and this is where

advance planning and

working with the right

professionals can save


As the government looks

to balance the books

after unprecedented

levels of spending

during the Covid-19

pandemic, there is

some concern for the

longevity of Agricultural

Property Relief (APR)

and the current personal

inheritance tax threshold

of £325,000.

ithout an


Wsuccession plan,

not only will rural families

be burdened with the

stress of sorting out the

affairs of the deceased

but, if rumoured changes

take effect, potentially

they could face a tax

bill of 40% of the value

of the estate above any

threshold figure. This

means the need to

start planning for the

next generation’s future

and your own tax bill

has never been more


So, where to start?

Quite simply, the first step

can be as easy as picking

up the phone to your

trusted team of advisers

including your land agent,

lawyer and accountant

continued on page 14 ▶

In a quirk of Scots Law, if a farm is held in the partnership or in a limited company, the farm assets are deemed moveable estate.

2 12 bi2019 bi2020 winter autumn ❘ winter autumn ❘ winter bi2020 bi2019 13


who can work with you

and your family to offer a

range of different expertise

and perspectives. Together

the team can find practical

and financial solutions to

suit the family, creating

transparency about

the future and putting

everyone’s minds at rest.

If a review of likely market

values has not been

undertaken on all the

aspects of your property

in recent years, it could

be that this is the first

essential – the figures

will give a good guide to

the potential tax bill and

then the professionals can

review how to manage

that most effectively.

ell Ingram valuers

are up-to-speed with

Btheir local property

market from sales,

purchases and valuations

and we are used to

reviewing all the elements

of a client’s farm or estate

– from cottages to land,

to forestry or renewable

energy projects.

Familiarity with other

local professionals is also

key, it is important that

your accountant and

lawyer also understand

the possible options

available to make rural

tax planning effective – to

secure available reliefs,

transfer the ownership

as desired and assist in

ensuring that the business

has a sound future. If your

legal/tax adviser is not a

rural specialist, then we

can advise you of local

contacts who have the

particular expertise you


In the wider picture, this

planning exercise might

also involve funding for

a new owner if siblings

or other relatives need

to be “bought out” to try

and ensure fair treatment

or if new ideas demand

capital – and it is here

that AMC finance might

be the final piece of the

jigsaw that makes a plan



ooking at all the

property and

people interests

in the round, both now

and with a bit of future

proofing, really does help

all involved secure the

succession plans they

would like - hopefully

with no nasty surprises.

The Bell Ingram Rural

Land Management team

valuers and AMC agents

are happy to discuss your

succession requirements

or answer any questions.

For an informal initial

discussion in complete

confidence contact our

key rural contacts: n

● Catherine Lawson,

Forfar. Contact:

07968 259662.

● Sarah Tyson, Perth.


07710 308614.

● James Petty,

Aberdeen. Contact:

07974 934301.

● Rob Whitson,

Highlands. Contact:

07703 822739.

● Amy Clark Kennedy,

Ayr. Contact:

01292 886 544.

Extension of

planning consent


The Scottish Government has extended its

emergency period in the Coronavirus Act,

allowing an additional six months for planning

consents to be implemented.

Provisions have been made in the Coronavirus Act to extend the

duration of all planning consents, which were due to expire during

the emergency period between 7 April and 6 October 2020.

The emergency period has now been extended to 6 April 2021,

which in turn extends planning permissions due to expire within the

extended emergency period, until 30 September 2021.

Catherine Newton, Planning Consultant at Bell Ingram comments:

“The extension of time comes as a great relief to many of our

clients, especially those which have struggled to get environmental

assessment work needed to discharge suspensive planning conditions

or renew existing consent over this summer.

“Our client at Rosehall in Sutherland needed survey work done before

consent expires in October and now has until September 2021 to

complete the work, which is will bring a much-needed viable new use

to this Grade B listed building.”

Bell Ingram’s planning service can provide practical advice on the

development potential of your land and property, helping to secure

planning permission for both urban and rural development.

➤ Contact for more information. n

Changes to Scottish

greening requirements

Bell Ingram’s Rural Land Management team

welcome changes to the Scottish Government’s

£130m greening scheme.

The most significant change for our clients is that the crop diversification

rule no longer applies. The crop diversification rule required farmers

growing arable crops to ensure their rotation included at least two

or three crops, dependent on the amount of arable land theay farm.

Land Agent Associate Catherine Lawson comments: “SGRPID releasing

the updated guidance as harvest 2020 came to end was helpful

timing, in so much as while many farmers have already sown 2021’s

oilseed rape, there was still time to plan cropping to suit the land and

field conditions, as well as the UK and global markets, rather than just

ensuring compliance with the greening requirements.”

Our land management team manage a large number of farms, estates

and corporate properties, providing bespoke advice and management

services to ensure our clients maximise their assets and achieve their


Find your nearest Bell Ingram office to discuss any aspect of your land

management needs. See back page for office contact details. n

14 4 PB bi2020 bi2019 autumn winter ❘ winter

autumn ❘ winter bi2020 bi2019 PB 151

14 bi2020 autumn ❘ winter autumn ❘ winter bi2020 15


in brief

Proud to sponsor SLE’s 2020

Helping it Happen Awards

ell Ingram was proud to support Scottish Land and Estate’s (SLE)

Helping it Happen Awards 2020 as sponsors of the Education


The winners were announced during a virtual ceremony that took

place on 30th September when Duffus Estate was crowned winner

of the Education Award for its outdoor learning initiative to facilitate

opportunities for sustainable education within a rural context.

Now in its fourth year, the Helping It Happen Awards have become firmly

established in recognising the role of estates, farms, organisations and

individuals who are helping rural Scotland thrive.

Managing Partner, Mark Mitchell said: “Bell Ingram is delighted to

sponsor the Education Category and would like to congratulate winners

Duffus Estate on their achievement. Education is a big part of our ethos

at Bell Ingram and we are closely involved in a number of initiatives

which provide education, awareness, training and career opportunities

to people wishing to work in the rural sector. This award is particularly

important because it recognises organisations who are connecting with

future generations to pass on key skills and learning opportunities to

Scotland’s rural communities.”

arah-Jane Laing, chief executive of Scottish Land & Estates, added:

“More than ever, this year has typified what Helping It Happen is

Sall about – individuals, rural businesses and organisations going the

extra mile to make a positive contribution to society. This work benefits

us all by sustaining rural employment, providing high quality housing or

helping Scotland meet its climate change goals.

“The pandemic, and particularly the lockdown period, has given rise to

many inspiring stories as people use their own talents, time and money

to support their local communities. This is reflected in many of the

nominations, particularly in the regional community champion awards.

The nominations have been as strong as ever this year and we are pleased

that the Helping It Happen awards are firmly established as a way of

recognising how Scotland’s diverse rural businesses and organisations

are making a vital contribution.”

Bell Ingram clients David and

Carole Young had reason

to celebrate recently when

members of Stirling Council’s

Planning Panel unanimously

approved their planning

application for a visitor centre

at popular beauty spot Finnich


Working closely with Bell Ingram

Design Director Iain Cram

and the company’s Planning

Consultant Catherine Newton,

the application for the 10.9

hectare site on the couple’s west

Stirlingshire farm was first lodged

last September.

Iain Cram, says: “Expert planning

advice is key to the success of

ambitious projects like Finnich

Glen and we are delighted that

Stirling Council has supported

our vision to create a destination

of national and international

importance at Finnich Glen.

“From the beginning we

have engaged with the

local community and key

stakeholders, and we firmly

believe our proposals will

enhance this stunning place.

We have made every effort

to ensure that the design of

the proposed visitor centre



role for James

Aberdeen Partner James

Petty has stepped into the

role of Chairman of the North

East Agricultural Valuers

Association (NEAVA)

The new organisation

was formed following the

merger of the NE Counties

Auctioneers’ and Valuators’

Association and Banffshire,

and Moray Valuators’


It will be run as a forum for

professional development,

education and discussion

between valuers in North

East Scotland. It is a regional

group affiliated to the

Scottish Agricultural Arbiters

& Valuers Association


At the AGM earlier this year,

North East and Morayshire

members agreed to merge

the two groups and elect

a new committee from

the members of both. The

new committee comprises

Chairman James Petty (Bell

blends into the landscape

and isn’t visible from the road.

The revenue it will generate

will allow us to deliver the free

parking and toilet facilities that

are expected in any modern

visitor attraction.”

David Young adds: “The Finnich

Glen visitor centre development

will allow visitors to access

the Glen safely and safeguard

this stunning environment for

future generations to enjoy.

“In the longer term we hope

to create a sustainable

business and generate rural


Ingram), Vice-Chairman

Steve Mackison (Allathan

Associates), Secretary and

Treasurer Catriona Mackison

(Dunecht Estates) with Tim

Macdonald (Aberdeen &

Northern Marts), Tom Stewart

(Galbraith) and Cara Thomson

(Aberdeen & Northern Estates)

as committee members.

James Petty says: “I am

delighted to be elected

to the role of Chairman of

the new Association. It is

important to maintain this

local valuers’ association as

a forum for discussion and

professional development.

Given that we are currently

facing uncertainty over the

future of agricultural subsidies

it is interesting to note from

our archives that in 1922 the

Association met to discuss

corn subsidies so perhaps

there are some lessons we can

learn from history.” n

l Taken before the current Covid

restrictions, attendees at the

inaugural meeting of NEAVA. L-R:

Tom Stewart, Cara Thomson, Sandra

McIntosh, Tim McDonald, Donna

Skelly, Peter Chalmers, Aileen Law,

Gervase Topp, Ed Dunbar, James

Presly, James Petty, Steve Mackison,

Susan Shand, David Greer, Andrew

MacEwen, Roger Macpherson, John


Finnich Glen: Expert planning advice is key to successful diversification

jobs, something that’s never

been more important as

our economy struggles to

survive during the Covid-19


Bell Ingram Design and the

Youngs will now be talking to

potential operators to get a

plan and finance in place for

the development which will

also comprise a 150-space car

park and a network of paths,

bridges and viewing platforms.

More information about Bell

Ingram’s planning consultancy

service at

land management

land management

Herdwick flock

decline is a stark

reminder of the dangers

of chasing grants

he announcement of new

Government grant schemes can be

Tboth a blessing and a curse for land


Land management requires owners

and advisors to take a strategic view on

management decisions, and poorly thought

through “knee jerk” decisions to embrace

new grant schemes seldom benefit the

long-term viability of a property.

With the uncertainty surrounding Covid-19,

coupled with the fall-out from the Brexit

deal or no deal, it is inevitable that owners

and managers will seek to maintain income

without considering the costs to the

business and environment over the longer


Recently the plight of the Herdwick Sheep

has featured in the national press. This

rare mountain breed, much loved and

championed by Beatrix Potter, has declined

to critical levels as a result of changing farm

ownership, the growth of Airbnb farmhouse

accommodation, and the practice of once

proud flock owners following an easier life

by taking Government grant funding to

reduce flock numbers.

The Lake District National Park Authority,

who manage this World Heritage Site,

recently confirmed that hill and mountain

pastures are in poor and declining condition

as a result of a lack of sheep grazing. The

Malcolm Taylor

Head of Land



fashion for selling small hill farms has led to

a dramatic decline in Herdwick numbers

on the Lakeland Fells as these new owners

claim grants from Natural England to

remove stock. This in turn has led to the loss

of positive grazing and threatened the very

existence of this iconic native breed.

North of the border we face similar

challenges. The value of forestry land has

increased beyond any normal levels with the

high level of Government support for new

planting, be it for timber or carbon credits

and carbon offsetting.


n the 1980s there was a scramble in the

South West of Scotland to plant every

hill farm that could grow Sitka Spruce.

The result was the rapid expansion of the

forested estate but at the expense of loss

of habitat for waders and moorland birds.

Some years later acid rain, lochs devoid of

brown trout and increased sedimentation

of the Galloway salmon spate rivers grew

to such an extent that the salmon and sea

trout runs all but disappeared.

On the brink of Brexit with no deal, there

will inevitably be pressure on farmers and

land owners to try and protect fragile

incomes as best they can. This is quite

understandable but “knee jerk” business

for short term gain can not be the correct

management decision. Care must be

taken to ensure that decisions taken

now will not adversely impact on either

income streams, nor the environment, in

the next few years.

The proposed new organic scheme

payments might look attractive in the

short-term but how will they impact

on other management activities eg.

treated grit for grouse or treating sheep

for ticks? We need to look beyond short

term aims. Similarly removing ewes

from a hill might be profitable in the

short-term, but with reduced grazing

hill pasture and heather will rapidly

revert to scrub. This might suit some

management aims but longer term

owners and managers must be clear

what their business objectives are. Short

term gains are seldom the answer to

long term management aims. Do we

want rewilding or managed uplands for

sheep and wildlife in general? We need

to take a long term balanced view of

land management.

Before embarking on a new scheme to

attract a grant, it is essential to decide

what the long-term management aims

of the property are. Chasing grants for

the sake of short-term cash is never a

good longer term objective.

Bell Ingram’s land managers are all well

versed in taking the long-term view of

management of properties for future

generations and also to enhance the

biodiversity and ecological integrity of

properties. The future of the Herdwick

Sheep might be in the balance, but it

is incumbent on owners and managers

to ensure that our native Scottish sheep

and cattle breeds, and their associated

environment are not put in jeopardy for

the sake of unsustainable grants. n

16 2 bi2019 bi2020 winter autumn ❘ ❘ winter autumn ❘ ❘ winter bi2020 bi2019 17



or 121 years Bell Ingram

has managed some

of the UK’s finest

agricultural and sporting


From Somerset to Sutherland,

the firm’s experienced

Chartered Surveyors oversee a

large number of farms, estates

and corporate properties, and

our bespoke, personal service

ensures our clients maximise

their assets and comply

with the ever changing rural

management requirements.

At Bell Ingram we believe

the best value is achieved

by quality of delivery and

attention to detail. Our

Chartered Surveyors use

the latest technology and

resources available, to achieve

the best results.

Bell Ingram operates primarily

in the rural marketplace,

advising on all aspects of

rural property management,

development, sales and


Our Chartered Surveyors can

adopt a full management

service or act in an occasional

advisory role, depending on

your needs.

Our core services include

Forestry Management, Farm

and Sporting Management,

Planning Consultancy,

Architecture, Estate Agency,

House Letting, Accountancy

as well as Minerals and

Renewables advice.

With further divisions acting in

specialist areas, we are able to

pool resources and knowledge,

and all our professionals have

ready access to an enviable

amount of experience,

technical information and


People are at the heart of our

business delivering consistently

high standards of professional

service across all departments.


ead of Rural Land

Manaement Malcolm

Taylor says: “Bell

Ingram’s reputation is built

on a deep understanding

of our clients requirements

in the rural land sector and

our ability to deliver effective

solutions tailored to clients’


“At Bell Ingram our staff

pride themselves on a

highly personal approach,

outstanding service and

attention to detail. The high

levels of staff retention also

mean that the firm’s clients

can be sure of dealing

with highly qualified and

experienced people at all


"At Bell Ingram

we believe the best

value is achieved

by quality of

delivery and

attention to

detail. "

Rural Land

Management experts

with 121 years of experience

“Much of our work comes

through recommendations

from satisfied clients and

referrals from business

partners. It’s a terrific

compliment that people are

happy to recommend the

firm and is testament to the

brilliant work done by Bell

Ingram staff.”

Established in 1899, the

firm has a team of 110

professional staff working

across 10 UK offices (Perth,

Aberdeen, Ambleside, Ayr,

Beauly, Forfar, Morpeth,

Northwich, Oban and

Thirsk). n

➤ For more information

about our Rural Land

Management Service

please visit our website




pros& cons

pros& Weighing up the


of Solar PV

Renewable energy technical consultant, Joe

Fergusson, gives his thoughts on the current state-ofplay

in the solar PV and battery storage markets,

and on the feasibility of these technologies in light

commercial situations.

Anticipating the UK economy

emerging from pandemicinduced

‘intensive care’, there

are loud calls from a range of

pressure groups for the ‘rebuilding’ policies

that will lay the foundations for our route

to a Carbon-neutral Britain to be legally


As these policies very slowly take shape it

is hoped that the waning direct support

schemes for low-carbon heat and power

technologies might be ‘re-loaded’, giving

a much-needed boost to the heat pump,

hydro, solar, biomass and small wind

industries. However, the only support so

far under consultation is a £4,000-perinstallation

Clean Heat Grant to replace

the Renewable Heat Incentive when that

finally dwindles to nothing in March 2022.

Solar PV is evidently considered a mature

technology, sustainable without further

state subsidy. The installation cost of the

panels, inverters and mountings is not

changing much over time but the price

of those components has now fallen to

a point where, even without the feed-in

18 bi2020 autumn ❘ winter autumn ❘ ❘ winter bi2020 19

2 bi2019 winter

Joe Fergusson




tariffs that drove the market between 2011

and 2018, it is now cost-effective to install

a system of an appropriate size, ie. such

that the majority of the power generated

is consumed on site, displacing power that

would otherwise be purchased. With the

electricity price now risen to 15-17p per

kilowatt hour (kWh), the payback can be

attractive, especially when carbon savings

are a consideration.

Output from solar PV systems is highly

variable on a daily and seasonal basis.

For an example, on a cloudless May day

with a cooling breeze in central Scotland,

a 90 module (panel) PV array covering

150m2 of roof, or ground-mounted,

might generate 200 kWh over the day.

Some of the output, up to 25 kW, could

be used by machinery or by heat pumps

heating a building, and some stored in

a battery bank. The surplus would be

exported, earning a guaranteed minimum

export tariff. On a dull day in November

or February this same system might

generate just 20 kWh in the day or less.

The annual total should be around 21,000


Depending on many factors the value of

this system’s generated power, in savings

and exports, could be in the region of

£3,000. The installation of such a system

(not including battery) may cost in the

region of £30,000, giving a payback

period of about a decade, before allowing

for any future electricity price increases.

The system should last at least 25 years,

the output diminishing only very slowly

over the long term.

Where there is significant onsite

consumption during the

hours of darkness it is worth

considering the feasibility of

storing surplus power in batteries sized to

suit normal overnight consumption. This is

likely to rise with the fast-growing uptake

of electric vehicles. A commercial battery

system appropriate for the PV installation

described above, storing 30-40kWh,

might cost £15-25,000 at the moment.

The efficiency of panels and batteries may

rise slowly and Government support could

possibly return, but whether these factors

will overcome the savings lost to delay is

the moot question.

Exciting developments in ‘smart tariffs’

that reward those making battery capacity

momentarily available to the National

Grid for frequency and voltage balancing

purposes could accelerate investment

paybacks considerably. As these systems

continue to fall in price our advice is to

at least ‘future-proof’ any new building

development or PV system by ensuring that

battery banks and the associated control

hardware – and also EV charging equipment,

benefitting from 3-phase power supply – can

be easily retrofitted in years to come.

Independent advice on the ideal system

sizing and configuration will ensure the best

outcome. n

➤ Joe Fergusson can assist

with weighing up the pros

and cons. joe.fergusson@ 07711 552693.

winter bi2019 3




Inside the Penrith

Resilience Project

As part of the company’s

framework with Northern

Gas Network (NGN), Bell

Ingram is assisting in the

delivery of the Penrith

Resilience Project.

The programme of works will see the installation of a

new 10km 315mm HDPE (high-density-polythene) cross

country intermediate pressure gas main, along with a new

governor and pressure regulator, and a 1.5km section of

medium pressure gas main.

Ambleside-based Land Agent Andrew Thompson

explores the challenges of determining the pipeline’s

route through a unique landscape rich with historic,

environmental and geographical features …


Andrew Thomson

Associate Rural

Land Management


ith the Pennines to the east and the Lake District Fells to

the west, visitors to Cumbria’s Eden Valley are drawn to

its rich history and beautiful countryside which is dotted

with traditional towns, attractive sandstone villages and significant

buildings like Brougham Castle which dates from Norman times.

The area’s Neolithic past is a highly visible part of the landscape

with two henges - Mayburgh Henge and King Arthur’s Round

Table – bringing droves of visitors to Eamont Bridge, just south of

Penrith, each year.

Penrith itself was a key confluence of communication routes

during Roman times with the invaders establishing control of the

region from AD 72 until their withdrawal some 300 years later.

Their roads led north to Luguvalium (Carlisle), south through the

Lune Gorge and along the summit of ‘High Street’ from the fort

at Brocavum to Galava at Ambleside. The modern A66 east still

follows the old Roman road to York.

This unique history was one of the major factors that Bell Ingram’s

chartered surveyors had to consider when determining the route

of Northern Gas Network’s new pipeline through part of the Eden


Andrew Thompson explains: “Once the historical context had

been understood, we then had to consider a number of additional

natural and man-made features which all needed to be either

crossed or drilled under. These included the two tributary rivers

of the River Eden (the Lowther and the Eamont) which are both

Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and Sites of Special Scientific

Interest (SSSIs), and the A66, which all needed to be either crossed

or drilled under.”


nce a preferred route was agreed that accommodated all

these sensitive historic, environmental, and geographic

features, the next step was to identify the affected

landowners and commence negotiations.

Andrew continues: “Community engagement and two-way

communication is central to the successful delivery of this

project. NGN’s preference is to agree rights by negotiation,

rather than using the compulsory purchase powers granted

to gas transporters under the Gas Act 1986, which means

building meaningful, long-term relationships based on trust and

integrating feedback into our project. By approaching landowners

in this way we hope to create a legacy of safety for communities

and the environment.

“It’s also a policy that’s proved highly effective and negotiations,

not only with Landowners, but authorities such as Cumbria County

Council, Penrith Town Council, Highways England, Environment

Agency, are now nearing completion albeit some six months later

than anticipated due to the Covid-19 pandemic which delayed the

appointment of a contractor. This inevitable hold-up has resulted

in the final details on delivery, design and methodologies only

recently being agreed between the principal contractor, thirds

party consultees and landowners.”

The preferred methodology adopted for both the in-carriageway

and cross-county works was directional drilling which logical for

the river and A66 crossings and in principle for the agricultural

land. Ultimately it should be not be as intrusive as open cutting

the pipe in.”

Site establishment is earmarked for mid-September with a six to

eight-month programme focussing on the works within the two

river floodplains and the agricultural land. n

Mapping out the

benefits of GIS

support for UK


By Marcus Humphrey, GIS Manager

ver the last decade,

geospatial data and

Omapping technologies

have played an important

role in responding to disease

outbreaks and natural


For example, Japan used

spacial tools to identify

evacuation routes and coordinate

recovery efforts during

2019’s Typhoon Hagabis … and

more recently the World Health

Organisation’s dashboard is

providing the latest updates on

the Covid-19 pandemic.

The use of mapping to track

such global events once again

underlines both the value

and versatility of Geographic

Information Systems (GIS),

and is helping to increase

awareness of its ‘real world’

value among the general


GIS are becoming big news

in the business world too,

with GIS software used

widely across almost all fields,


utilities projects

often require GIS

support, and we are

working with a national

utility company

to identify a large

number of previously



including utilities, property,

land management, forestry

and construction.

But what is GIS? And

why should you be using

it in your business?

Put simply, GIS is a digital map

which allows you to capture,

store, manipulate, analyse,

manage, and present spatial

or geographic data. Google

Earth, for example, is a GIS

in its simplest form, allowing

users to pan, zoom, rotate and

tilt the view of the Earth. The

software also gives users the

option of adding markers, lines

and shapes, populate tables

and visualise dense geographic

data on a map.

2 PB bi2019 winter winter bi2019 1

20 bi2020 autumn ❘ winter

autumn ❘ winter bi2020 21


ut, impressive though

it is, the capabilities of

Google Earth pale in

comparison to GIS platforms

that are developed specifically

to conduct spatial analyses

of almost any kind. GIS allows

you to visualise all of your data

with geographical context and

there are numerous reasons

why you might want to do this.

You might be a forestry

manager who needs

to develop an effective

management system or

estimate an area’s income

from timber sales in minutes

rather than the weeks spent

drawing maps from scratch.

Maybe you are an architect

searching for a site for a new

supermarket who requires

complex location analysis,

or a land agent embroiled

in a boundary dispute who

needs land ownership or land

referencing data to identify

persons and organisations that

have a legal interest in land or

property as well as details of

the nature of that interest.

Currently, Bell Ingram’s

qualified GIS staff are

contributing to a number of

projects which underline the

value and versatility of GIS.

Complex utilities projects

often require GIS support, and

we are working with a national

utility company to identify a

large number of previously

unmapped assets. This will

allow our client to see all their

assets in one place and assign

surveyors as appropriate for

the geographical location.

Elsewhere, another client

looking to acquire a new

site has tasked our GIS

team to work on a feasibility

study. This land has to

tick three boxes: a certain

agricultural classification;

within a set distance of the

current location; and has to

be at least 200 acres. We

have performed a spatial

analysis and, to aid in land

referencing, also consulted

the national government land

registry dataset.

Bell Ingram is one of the few

firms that has a dedicated

and experienced GIS team

working across the fields of

Utilities, Property, Forestry,

Architecture and Land


➤ During the current

pandemic, our GIS experts

are working remotely in line

with government rules. If you

would like to discuss how

GIS could help your business

please contact Marcus

Humphrey on 01738 645588

or email marcus.humphrey@ n



Hannah Rayne Rhona Booth Helen Russell Amy Clark Kennedy John Lewis Jason Oakley Catherine Lawson Catherine Newton Johan McKenzie

Moira Webley


and promotions

strengthen Bell


Ingram’s UK teams

Bell Ingram unveiled a raft of promotions

and new appointments this year as the

company continued to strengthen our

teams across 10 UK offices

Hannah Rayne was promoted

to Partner in the Utilities and Land

Management team in January. Based in

our Northwich office, MICS Registered

Valuer Hannah will take a leading role

in advising clients and growing the


Throughout her career, Hannah has built

expertise in both land management

and pipeline and utility projects,

with specialisms in corporate estate

management, valuation, and landlord

and tenant matters. Her experience

also encompasses land agency services

for major infrastructure schemes, cross

country pipelines, and wayleave services

for underground and above ground


In March Rhona Booth, a qualified

Rural Chartered Surveyor and RICS

Registered Valuer, joined Perth’s Land

Management Department bringing over

20 years’ experience in the sector.

Hailing from a dairy farm in Midlothian

and now farming in partnership with her

husband in Angus, Rhona’s agricultural

expertise and understanding of rural

businesses complements the services

already offered by the Perth office which

provides land management and farm

sales in addition to forestry management

and consultancy, architectural services as

well as residential agency.

Rhona has taken on the role of joint APC

training co-ordinator (along with with

Catherine Lawson) and her experience as

an APC Assessor is a great benefit to the

firm’s RICS trainees.

Helen Russell joined Bell Ingram’s

Morpeth office in August. A qualified

Chartered Surveyor with over 14 years’

experience in the land and property

sector, Helen has worked throughout the

north of England, most recently as Land

Director for Gladman Developments. She

has extensive experience of working on

a large number of property transactions

from management to initial appraisal/site

finding through the planning process to


Most recently the firm made a further

seven Associate appointments and

promotions. Amy Clark Kennedy,

John Lewis and Jason Oakley

were promoted to Senior Associate while

Catherine Lawson, Catherine Newton,

Johan McKenzie and Moira Webley were

appointed to Associate.

Part of the company’s Ayr team, Amy

Clark Kennedy specialises in

compulsory purchase, valuation, and

landlord and tenant, particularly in relation

to the utilities sector and has dealt with

a number of schemes for Scottish Power.

She has an agricultural background

helping her husband run the family farm

in Galloway.

John Lewis, who is based in Thirsk,

joined Bell Ingram in 2015 as a land agent

and has a background in the pipeline

industry within Yorkshire Water and MMB.

He specialises in the areas of corporate

estate management, pipelines and

utilities, and rural land management.

Morpeth-based Jason Oakley has

worked for National Grid, Scottish Power

Energy Networks on electricity tower

refurbishments and windfarm connections

as well a distribution networks rebuild

for Scottish Power Energy Networks and

Northern Powergrid. Currently Jason

provides Wayleave Services to Northern

Powergrid on full time basis.

Elsewhere, Catherine Lawson joined

Bell Ingram in 2014 working in the Perth

office before moving to the Forfar office

in 2019. She undertakes all aspects of

rural estate management, valuation,

farm management, residential property

management and lettings.

Catherine Newton has worked for Bell

Ingram in Perth as a Planning Consultant

since 2012. Her career spans 30 years and

has included public and private sector,

government agency and charity roles.

She brings an extensive knowledge and

understanding of planning legislation to

every project.

Also based in Perth, Johan McKenzie

joined Bell Ingram in October 2018 after

having worked in private practice for over

23 years. She is a qualified accountant

with experience in preparation of end

of year accounts and tax returns for sole

traders, partnerships, trusts, and limited


Moira Webley moved into property

sales in 2006, changing focus after many

years in the conveyancing department of a

legal firm. After joining Bell Ingram in 2016

she has developed excellent relationships

with clients, visiting sellers and nurturing

prospective buyers.


Lumby, Chairman

of Bell Ingram, said: “I am

delighted to announce these latest

promotions and appointments. All are

experts in their respective fields and their

wealth of experience makes them great

assets to both Bell Ingram and our clients.”

Mark Mitchell, Managing Partner of Bell

Ingram continued: “The firm is particularly

pleased to unveil these promotions to

Associate and Senior Associate, despite the

challenges caused by the current pandemic.

These excellent specialist staff deserve

this recognition and it signals the start

of a return to normality as we ease

out of lockdown.

Congratulations to all of


➤Please visit the ‘Our People’ page on our website for staff contact details.

22 bi2020 autumn ❘ winter autumn ❘ winter bi2020 23



n this year of change,

if you are looking for a

sign that it is time to

sell – this is it!

Despite restrictions

caused by Covid-19 Bell

Ingram saw good levels

of demand and activity

during the lockdown period.

Since the beginning of March,

our agents in Oban, Beauly,

Aberdeen, Forfar and Perth

have dealt with almost 500

enquiries, with buyers and

sellers making good use of

virtual viewing platforms while

travel and home visits were


As predicted by our Head of

Estate Agency, Carl Warden,

there has been fierce

competition among buyers

with the best properties quickly

under offer. Take a look at some

of the outstanding properties

we have sold this year:

• Milnathort, Kinross-shire.

Offers over £680,000

• Appin, Arygle & Bute.

Offers over £495,000

• Carrbridge, Highland.

Offers over £675,000

• Drumnadrochit, Highland.

Offers over £400,000

• Kinnaird, Perthshire.

Offers over £1,100,00

• Tobermory, Isle of Mull.

Offers over £335,000

• Milnathort, Kinross-shire.

Offers over £395,000

• Kinross, Kinross-shire.

Offers over £525,000

• Strathmiglo, Fife.

Fixed price £539,000

• Aros, Isle of Mull.

Offers over £295,000

• Monymusk, Aberdeenshire.

Offers over £620,000

• Lindores, Fife.

Fixed price £495,000


●Milnathort ●Appin




buyers set to continue


●Carrbridge ●Drumnadrochit







2 24 bi2019 bi2020 winter autumn ❘ winter autumn ❘ winter bi2020 bi2019 25











●Monymusk ●Lindores

Meet our


property experts

Bell Ingram’s Estate Agency team faced a

challenging start to the year, with viewings

grinding to a halt during the UK’s official

lockdown period.

Despite the traditional house buying process

being turned on its head, our creative team

did not let this dampen their spirits, quickly

implementing virtual viewings and even

selling a property after one viewing was

filmed on the seller’s iPhone.

With the market now back in full swing, our

agents are offering a free market appraisal

service for sellers looking to make their next

move. Based in key locations across Scotland,

their in-depth understanding of the regional

and national markets enables our team

to achieve the best possible result for your

property’s sale or purchase.

Drawing on over 100 years’ experience, we

offer an extensive property database which

provides relevant, comparable evidence

for market appraisals when marketing

properties and matching buyers to suitable


Carl Warden,


Carl heads up the Estate

Agency Department for

the company. He has

been marketing property

in the Perth and Kinross

area for over 30 years

and has a wealth of experience selling

prime residential property; from period

homes to contemporary developments.


Carl is well known across the sector, having

developed excellent relationships with

buyers and sellers, and is able to offer a

comprehensive and professional service.




Andrew manages Bell

Ingram’s Oban office

which is just a short ferry

ride from his home on

the Isle of Mull. With

his extensive knowledge of Scotland’s

west coast and islands, his track record of

bringing some of the area’s most stunning

properties to the market is second to

none. Andrew also brings a wealth of

property management and investment

experience after managing high-end

development projects in the United Arab

Emirates for 15 years.




Joanne’s area of

expertise is the Highland

and Islands property

market, and no-one

knows it better. Coordinating

Bell Ingram’s Highland estate

agency service from our new Beauly office,

Joanne is a rural property specialist who

has lived and worked in the area for many

years. Her exceptional local knowledge and

strong community connections can help

sellers maximise the sale price and help

buyers find their perfect property.

➤If you would like to find out more about

selling your property or to book your free

market appraisal, contact your local

Bell Ingram office:


For a free market appraisal, visit out website bellingram.


land management

Loo Rolls And Other

Flying Objects


s we head into autumn and further

Covid restrictions, Estate Agency

Partner Carl Warden assesses the

state of the property market.

So many people are asking us about the

property market at the moment. To provide

some perspective, we often answer the

question with a question. We ask: “Do you

remember back in March, how loo rolls

became difficult to find as they were flying

off supermarket shelves?”

“It would be hard to forget,” most people


So we say: “That’s what’s happened to

property: houses are flying off our books.”

While the country was in lockdown, no

one could envision what would happen to

the property market next - including us.

We couldn’t predict the strength of public

demand for changes in surroundings and

lifestyle. We couldn’t know how people

would react to isolation, sudden changes

in working practices and the resulting

ell Ingram is proud to

support Scotland’s Charity

BAir Ambulance (SCAA) as

one of our partner charities.

For more than seven years, SCAA

has been providing a frontline,

fast-response, life-saving service

to communities throughout the


Carl Warden

Head of Estate



opportunity to commute less often but

therefore further – providing the chance to

buy a larger suburban or rural house and


ow, after several months of the most

extraordinary market most of us can

Nremember, we have experienced the

combined effects of the Covid and Brexit

bounces, the relaxation of stamp duty and

low-interest rates.

Many first and second-time buyers and

sellers won’t remember the days when

the market was on fire like this; when

there were multiple offers on houses for

sale, prices were spiralling upwards, and

property was selling almost as soon as it

came on to the market.

The air ambulance is recognised

as a vital cog in Scotland’s 999

emergency response network,

flying expert paramedics to

the scene of serious illness and

injury and airlifting patients to

definitive hospital care.

SCAA’s service has turned

potential uncomfortable road

ambulance journeys of hours

into smooth and comfortable

flights of just minutes - a

speed that can often make the

difference between life and

death. Especially in remote and

rural areas where land access

is difficult and distances to

hospital care extensive.

From the Western Isles to the

eastern coast and Orkney to

the Borders, this amazing

charity - funded by the people

of Scotland, for the people of

Scotland - has proved a lifeline

for those in desperate need.

SCAA has responded to that

need more than 2,600 times for

men, women and children all

across Scotland involved in lifethreatening


SCAA launched a second

helicopter air ambulance

based at Aberdeen in April -

callsign Helped 79 - to join its

stablemate Helimed 76 which

has operated out of Perth

Airport since 2013.

Together, the SCAA fleet

doubles the helicopter air

ambulance capacity in Scotland,

working alongside the two

Government-funded helicopters

based at Glasgow and Inverness.

CAA has touched

thousands of lives - be

Sthey patients, relatives,

colleagues or neighbours.

And the reason they can

fly fast, save lives and tend

those most in need is down

to those companies, groups

But we remember those days. We

remember them very well. That is why

we are highly experienced and skilled in

dealing with this unexpectedly buoyant


For those thinking of buying before the end

of the stamp duty reprieve, we recommend

doing so now. Why? Because neither we

nor anyone else, including the Chancellor,

knows what’s going to happen next.

Another national lockdown – if there were

to be one - might only temporarily suppress

this strong market and drive even more

people to want to move. But big questions

remain about the market in 2021.

High unemployment, a negative Brexit

trade deal, tighter mortgage criteria and

the end of the stamp duty relaxation, could

turn off the tap that was so dramatically

turned on in July.

Only time will tell. But in the meantime

what we do know is that property is flying

and we are here to help buyers and sellers

fly with it.

Supporting the vital work of the Charity Air Ambulance

and individuals who give so


Public donations are the only

fuel that SCAA can fly on.

SCAA’s professional and expert

crew can provide the frontline

time-critical response that will

continue flying help and hope

across Scotland - but it is the

people in every family, every

community and every region

of this country that will ensure

they stay in the air.

Their continued invaluable

contribution funds this

amazing charity and will fuel

it into the next era so that

the crews of Helimed 76 and

Helimed 79 can be there for


With the help of the people of

Scotland, SCAA will continue

to make a difference, flying a

first-class expert paramedic

response to those most in need

- saving time, saving lives.

Fostering the next generation

of rural decision makers with

Countryside Learning

Scotland partnership

espite the current by working with young people will continue to bridge the

uncertainty with

and fully involving them in this gap between how people

DCovid-19, Countryside process.

in our urban areas see our

Learning Scotland (CLS) are

countryside compared with

pressing ahead with ambitious

Youth Advisory

those that live and work in it.”

plans to welcome a group

Group project

of young people from all


Mark Mitchell, Managing

backgrounds on to their board

David Ritchie Partner at Bell Ingram

to have their say on the future


adds: “We are delighted to

of rural education.

describes the be involved in this exciting

move as ‘forward project. The rural community

Sponsored by Bell Ingram,

the Youth Advisory Group,

will consist of a group of

ten representatives, aged 15


and a fantastic leadership

development opportunity for

the members of group.

can learn so much from the

younger generation, whether

its efficiencies in technologies

or simply a different world

to 19 years from across all


demographics of Scotland,

David Ritchie says: “The

both rural and urban.

project embraces the opinions “At Bell Ingram we know

of young people from both the importance of nurturing

The Youth Advisory Group will

work closely with the board

of trustees to help define the

remit and future direction

of the charity. Countryside

Learning Scotland will embrace

the principles of co-design in

its future education provision

urban areas and countryside

alike; what it is they want to

learn about the countryside

and how they want to learn.

This is a progressive shift

from a more traditional top

down approach. We hope

this more inclusive approach

young people and listening

to their views on how things

should be done, and this is an

approach we like to take with

our graduate and assistant

land managers. Good luck to

those applying to be part of

this great project.” n

26 2 bi2019 bi2020 winter autumn ❘ winter

autumn ❘ winter bi2020 bi2019 27


26 bi2020 autumn ❘ winter autumn ❘ winter bi2020 27

Image copyright: CLS and Rebecca Lee Photography



The UK’s business

landscape has been

transformed almost beyond

recognition over the last six months.

One of the most visible changes is the

shift towards remote working with

Cloud-based software and modern

communications platforms like

Zoom and Teams enabling

millions of employees to

work from home.

While this new normal seems set to

continue for the foreseeable future

with many companies, including

Google, telling staff they can work from

home until the middle of next year, it

would be premature to suggest that

traditional office working is a thing of

the past.

home for reasons including financial

and health concerns, childcare and

work-life balance, many others are

“chomping at the bit” to get back into

the office.

However, after months of working from

home, the prospect of returning to an

office environment can feel daunting.

So the challenge for those tasked with

designing the offices of the future

will be to create spaces that not only

factor in the enhanced sanitation and

social distancing measures that have

become such an important part of our

working lives, but also elegantly bridge

the gap between home and office.

Most importantly you need to think

about how you actually live and what

you really want.

Senior Architect Murray Fleming

and Architectural Technologist

Lauren Livingston are working on

a number of exciting projects for both

public sector and private clients. We

ask them how they envisage design

both at work and home evolving in the

wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:

In fact, while many people have

seized the opportunity to work from




is changing the way we

design our homes & offices

What’s your own

preference, home or


Both! Flexible

MF working has always

been part of the set-up at

Bell Ingram Design with

colleagues splitting their

time between our offices and

working remotely, either at

home or on-site. We make

full use Microsoft Teams

which allows our team of

architects, technologists,

planners and surveyors to

work collaboratively and share

ideas across a huge range of


I think working

LL between office and

home offers the best of both

worlds. The peace and quiet of

the home environment allows

you to be super productive

without distractions, while

the office environment is

vital for bouncing ideas

off your colleagues. Teams

and Zoom are fantastic,

but nothing beats face-toface

communication and

interaction with colleagues

and clients. This is particularly

important for recent graduates

who need real time feedback

and guidance from managers

and senior members of staff if

they are to learn and progress.

How will Covid

change the way

we work?

There’s a lot of

MFdiscussion around

the impact of office layout

and safe spacing on the

spread of Covid-19. Before

the pandemic, traditional

office layouts had staff sitting

at desks directly facing one

another. These days that’s

bad news for obvious reasons

because no-one wants

someone breathing over

them all day long, and vice

versa. The kneejerk reaction

is to put up Perspex screens

everywhere but there are

other equally effective and

more elegant solutions that

are well worth consideration.

Clients are looking

LL for smart working

solutions, particularly hot

desking, to give them the

flexibility to expand without

adding more workstations.

Wireless devices, laptops and

mobile phones allow staff to

choose a free desk, sit down

and plug in. Then it’s just a

matter of clearing your desk

at the end of the day and not

using anyone else’s keyboard.

How is Covid

changing the way you

design office space?

I am currently

MF working with a public

sector organisation who are

in the process of relocating its

headquarters from traditional

offices to a new building with

a modern, hot desking set-up.

Space planning is extremely

important to this client as

staff must feel safe returning

to an office environment.

Perspex screens are the

obvious way to ensure safe

distancing, but I want to

create a workspace that’s

visually interesting and

increases wellbeing rather

than just building more boxes

to work in. To achieve this,

I’m making extensive use of

plants throughout the office

space to produce the physical

distance required between

workstations. As well as being

extremely effective, they look

beautiful, cleanse the air and

are great for wellbeing.

I am also looking at innovative

ways to construct safer shared

spaces. For example, do you

really need to have a door?

And if you do need a door,

does it need a handle or

could it be an electronic, or

foot operated instead?

Covid has made

LL everyone more

aware and cautious of the

surrounding environment.

People want spaces that

are easy to manoeuvre and

that minimise unnecessary

contact. Once we have spoken

to our client and have a

greater understanding of the

spaces they require and how

they work we can design a

bespoke layout that works for

their employees and visitors.

At Bell Ingram Design we

have the in-house knowledge

and expertise to produce

high quality 3D visualisations

which bring our plans to life

helping our clients visualise

the space.

How will the home

working trend affect

house design?

If you work from

MF home you need a

dedicated office space …

there’s only so long you can

work from the kitchen table!

However, with developers

typically building smaller and

smaller houses to maximise

their profits, your new home

is much more likely to have

three bathrooms than a

home office. This is because

they build for the “average”

customer and research tells

them that most people want

an en-suite bathroom as well

as a family bathroom and

separate wc.

None of us are average, yet

there’s a tendency to accept

how houses are without

giving it a great deal of

thought. But they can be

all sorts of things and you

don’t have to live with the

rooms that we take for

granted - here’s a box, that’s

the kitchen, here’s another

box, that’s the living room.

Houses can be so much more

exciting, but you need to

think about exactly how you

live and what you want.

The ideal solution is to build

your own home. Even when

you factor in the additional

cost of buying a plot of land

it’s a surprisingly affordable

solution, and you’ll typically

get much more outside space

than if you buy a home on a

new development.

With people spending

more time living

and working at

home how can we

create a healthier


A lot of materials

MF used in new build

developments are not very

good for our health. But if you

are building your own home

you are in control of all the

materials used and you can

make it as healthy as you want

and use products – even down

to the wiring – that don’t give

off nasty chemicals and gases.

It can be a little more

expensive to use chipboard

which is bonded with steam

rather than toxic glue, or

source a healthier paint, but in

terms of the overall budget it’s

a small extra cost. We can even

reduce the amount of plastic

used in a house build.

As Murray mentioned

LL earlier, it is not a

permanent solution working

from your kitchen table. It’s

important for our mental

continued on page 28 ▶

28 bi2020 autumn ❘ winter autumn ❘ winter bi2020 29

2 bi2020 winter winter bi2020 3




is changing the way we

design our offices

wellbeing that we have a work life

balance, especially when working from

home. The most obvious solution for

new build housing is to include an

office space, however, this is not as easy

to achieve in an existing building. We

need to be more creative about how

we incorporate a workstation into our

homes. For example, within an open

plan living area there may be a way

to design flush floor-to-ceiling units,

which would allow you to hide your

workspace away behind closed doors

when not working. This is only one of

many creative solutions that could be

considered for your property.

Why use an architect?

An architect will create a

MF home that’s a perfect fit for

your chosen site. They will factor in the

geography – where are the best views,

how does the sun move around the

site, which rooms do you want to be

in when you are getting the evening

sun, what view do you want out of your

kitchen window in the morning.

An architect won’t just drop a standard

house shape onto the site, they

will design a home that’s tailored

to the way you live. For example, I

collaborated with a client who had

an enormous book collection and the

centrepiece of the finished house was

over 100 metres of bespoke shelving.

Our job is to listen to what

LL our clients want and use our

expertise to bring ideas to the table that

they might not have considered. It’s a

collaboration, a two-way conversation

that you have with the client to turn

their dreams into a concrete reality.

Building a house can be a pretty

daunting exercise, from developing a

concept, knowing what consents are

required, to coordinating works on site,

budgeting and ensuring the quality

of the workmanship. An architect can

be by your side from concept through

to completion, guiding you through

the process with their knowledge and

experience within the industry.

When should you engage an


Once you’ve identified a

MF plot you like, go and see an

architect at that point because they

can give you advice about the potential

costs of developing the site. At Bell

Ingram we can also help you find your

dream location. In fact, a client recently

asked me to carry out a site search for a

suitably remote location for an off-grid

bothy, I identified a site on Harris and

compiled a feasibility study, considering

issues such as access for construction,

ground conditions, water supply etc. It

is always money well spent to bring an

architect in at a very early stage. n


he importance of traditional building

skills and craftmanship cannot be

underestimated in a country like

Scotland with its rich social, cultural and

architectural history.

Described by the Scottish

Government as “places of special

architectural or historic interest, the

character or appearance of which it is

desirable to preserve or enhance”, we have

over 600 conservation

areas ranging

from Lerwick in Shetland

to Whithorn in Dumfries

and Galloway. The

conservation of these

areas allows us to

appreciate generations of

technical craftsmanship

and decorative

architectural design.

Despite the advancement

in technology,

development of

innovative materials and

evolving construction

methods changing the

way we design, construct

and maintain our

buildings, a vast quantity

of our existing building

stock is built using

traditional construction

Conservation -The importance

of traditional building skills &


Lauren Livingston

BSc (Hons) ACIAT

Architectural Technologist


methods and skilled craftsmanship.

Not only are traditional buildings

constructed in this way but they must also

be maintained and treated with the same

traditional construction methods and


To many, it may come as a surprise

to learn that research has suggested

that using modern methods of

construction and innovative materials

can actually have adverse effects when

used to repair traditional buildings. In fact,

by changing the aesthetic appearance

and decorative character, we run the

risk of potentially damaging the existing

fabric of a building.

This is concerning as it is becoming

increasingly difficult to find skilled,

traditional tradesmen and women.

With maintenance and repairs to our

traditional buildings accounting for a

large percentage of today’s construction

activity, it is crucial that we retain and

develop our traditional skills to protect,

preserve and repair our built heritage.

Historic Environment Scotland

(HES) and The Prince’s Foundation are two

of a number of organisations that have

recognised the wider need for training and

apprenticeships to prevent precious skills

being lost.

oth organisations should be

congratulated for steering a

Brange of apprenticeship schemes

and informative training courses,

educating and training the next

generation of skilled craftspeople.

It is evident that we must have the

knowledge and training widely available

to prevent future generations losing vital

skills and undertaking maintenance with

contemporary construction methods

which are highly likely to have adverse

effects on our current building stock.

Traditional building skills play a

vital role in protecting our built

heritage while investing in and supporting

our economy. With increasing

concerns about the condition of our

existing building stock, which largely

predates 1919, it is more important than

ever that we have the skill, knowledge and

understanding of our buildings.

If you are looking to undertake any work

to a traditional building, listed building

or a building within the curtilage of a

conservation area, please get in touch

with one of our team and find out how we

can help you with our expertise and key

knowledge within the industry. n

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30 bi2020 autumn ❘ winter autumn ❘ winter bi2020 31




ell Ingram’s building surveyors

are passionate about all types of

Bbuildings, painstakingly working

to preserve and restore them for future

generations and making them good for

all types of modern-day use.

The services we provide are two-fold,

firstly; conservation and restoration of

historic and listed buildings including

full surveys and contract administration,

and secondly: project management

of new builds, refurbishment and


Bell Ingram’s expert building surveyor

Stephen Reilly highlights five

common mistakes that can cause big

problems for owners of traditional and

listed properties … and how to avoid


Five costly building

mistakes and how

to avoid them





The best way to maintain stone walls

is to ensure that any repairs are on a

‘like for like’ basis. This principle will

reduce the likelihood of defects such

as the erosion of the stonework where a

harder (probably cement based) pointing

material has been used.

Being a soft stone, the red sandstone will

erode, however the harder pointing will

have trapped water behind it and the

freeze/thaw action in winter will have

accelerated the rate of erosion.

Given the extent of the surface erosion it

would not be unusual for a new lime harl

finish to be applied to the chimney stack

rather than trying to repair the stonework.


When considering refurbishment

of traditional vernacular buildings

the replacement of the windows

can be very tempting, particularly

with ‘maintenance free’ uPVC units.

This may seem like a good investment

but how long will they last before the

plastic yellows, the gearing breaks and the

weatherproof gaskets fail? Most likely the

day after your 10 year garauntee runs out!

Stephen Reilly

Building Surveyor


I have seen very few timber windows in

functioning buildings that are so badly

decayed that they need to be completely


In this picture, the ground floor windows

are replacement uPVC units while the first

floor timber window (which may have been

there for 100 years or more) only needs a

lick of paint.

Aesthetically the new uPVC units certainly

don’t add to the character of the building.


This photograph is of part of the

interior of a Category A listed

building (constructed in the

early 17th Century) which was

badly affected by fungal decay due to the

failure of the roof covering which allowed

water ingress. The building is of stone

construction with a lime-based mortar.

There are several issues shown which are

not in keeping with good conservation

practice and would not normally be


acceptable for HLF/HES grant aid.

● The original timber safe lintel(s) has

been replaced with a concrete unit.

The original lintel would still be in

place if not for the water ingress, so

why was a replacement timber lintel

(preferably oak) not fitted? Recent

experience would suggest that an

application for listed building consent

would be required to use concrete and

it’s questionable whether it would be


● The lintel has been bedded in cementbased

mortar rather than a lime-based

mortar, inexcusable!

● The window appears to be a completely

new unit. Unless the previous

window was beyond repair then it is

questionable whether the principal of

‘minimum intervention’ was applied. If

the previous window was original then

it may have been glazed with historic

glass which if it was intact could have

been salvaged for reuse.

● The use of a modern foam filler (puff

candy coloured material) around the

window frame also inexcusable.

Of course when you have timber lintels

then you should make sure that they are

protected from the elements, a coat of

paint is better than nothing. I can only

hope that it was not a tradesman that

created this window slapping through

the brickwork of the building in the

photograph opposite.

winter bi2019 3

32 bi2020 autumn ❘ winter autumn ❘ ❘ winter bi2020 33


Rural buildings are a favourite

roosting spot for bats which

are a legally protected species

across the UK. This means you

may be committing a criminal offence

if you: intentionally or recklessly disturb

a bat in its roost; damage or destroy

a place used by bats for breeding or

resting even if bats are not occupying

the roost at the time; intentionally or

recklessly obstruct access to a bat roost.

A simple check if droppings are found

could confirm the presence of bats in

advance. Something worth knowing

when you consider that breaking the law

can result potentially in six months in

prison or an unlimited fine.



In the UK external silicone

renders and finishes have

increased in popularity over

the last 30 years or so. They

claim to provide a durable, weatherproof,

breathable, natural finish, the modern

equivalent of a lime harl. Renders were

originally used to cover poor quality

work, however modern silicone (and

acrylic) renders are used to create

architectural features with sleek lines

and stunning finishes, which they do.

These renders can, however, contain

organic ingredients which under the

right environmental conditions can

support the growth of fungi, mould and

moss resulting in discoloration of the

render finish such as that evident on the

building pictured (dark streaks between

the ground and first floor


Unfortunately washing the render with

a fungicidal wash did not remove the

organic growths nor the staining and the

render had to be coated with a specialist

paint system to reinstate the desired

finish. The cost of this work will not have

been anticipated when the building was

constructed 14 years ago. n



Are you dreaming

of building your

perfect home?

New trends are emerging in the housing market

as a direct result of the Covid-19 pandemic.


s the UK slowly eases out of lockdown new

trends are emerging in the housing


With more people choosing to work remotely,

demand for country and coastal properties is

likely to increase, particularly well-connected

village locations for people splitting their working

week between city office and home office.

Gardens have always been popular but are now

a “must-have” feature, particularly for those who

struggled through the pandemic with little or no

outside space.

Separation from family continues to be one of the

most painful parts of lockdown and we predict a

surge of interest in homes with “granny annexes”

which are big enough to house several generations.

Finding a new home which ticks all the right

boxes is never easy, which is why designing and

building your own home from scratch can be

an exciting and cost-effective alternative that

ensures you get all the features you want without



ell Ingram currently has a number of plots for

sale in a range of stunning locations and our

in-house architects and planning consultants

are ready and waiting to discuss turning your

dream home vision into reality.

Developed by Bell Ingram Design to meet a

gap in the Scottish housing market, our Ecosse

Living house range offers clients the opportunity

to purchase beautiful, high quality, ‘off the peg’

architect designed homes which can be tailored

at minimum cost to suit a particular site and

individual requirements.

The service includes a fully flexible ‘stage by stage’

appointment process for Planning, Building

Warrant, Tender and Construction.

Ecosse Living houses are designed with the

Scottish climate in mind and include details

such as a large lobby for storing coats and boots

and covered south facing external decks to enjoy

the sunshine, while remaining protected from

prevailing winds.

Plots for sale

Glenegedale Moor Croft 1

Isle of Islay, Argyle and Bute, PA42 7DD

● Guide price £150,00.

A rare chance to acquire a substantial

croft set on the picturesque Isle of

Islay. The croft extends to 84.28 Acres

benefitting from planning permission

in principle and offers buyers an

exciting lifestyle opportunity.

Contact Andrew Fuller, Oban,

01631 567 731

Land East of Ar Dachaidh

Benderloch, Argyll and Bute,

PA37 1QS

● Offers in the region of £95,000.

A wonderful building plot on the fringe

of the coastal village of Benderloch,

near Oban, extending to approximately

0.39 Acres and benefitting from

planning permission in principle.

Contact Andrew Fuller, Oban,

01631 567 731

Plot to East of Kyleakin

Lugton, Kilmarnock, KA3 4EE

● Offers over £100,000.

An excellent opportunity to acquire a

large plot with planning permission

and building warrant for a detached

single storey 4 bedroom house.

Offering stunning views over open

countryside and minutes away from all

local amenities.

Contact Lauren Howie, Ayr,

01292 886 544

Plot at Little Garve

NW Of Glentawik, Little Garve, Ross-

Shire, IV23 2PU

● Offers over £95,000.

Extensive level building plot situated in

an area of natural beauty, Little Garve,

with panoramic mountain view.

Contact Joanne Stennet, Highland,

01463 717 799

For more

information on

our Design service,

from concept to

completion, call

Murray Fleming on

07876 667827.

Bell Ingram Design: Not

your average architects

ell Ingram Design is a modern

architectural practice dedicated to

Bthe delivery of carefully crafted and

innovative buildings to meet our clients’

aspirations and requirements.

With our understanding of design in

the rural environment, we specialise

in developing innovative and practical

solutions to produce sensitive and attractive

places and spaces.

Working on a diverse range of builds, from

bespoke new-build house designs and

renovations to larger scale public, residential,

commercial, tourism and conservation

projects, our highly experienced team

offers a personal service, ranging from initial

concept, through site searches, funding

challenges, statutory consents to full design

and detailed construction information.

Meet the team

Our project experience spans residential

work, from domestic extensions to farm

building conversions and larger scale

housing sites. We have experience of

working in protected natural habitats and

with listed buildings in conservation areas,

achieving planning and listed building

consents for sensitive projects, and creating

beautiful contemporary buildings creatively

positioned to blend seamlessly with the


t Bell Ingram Design our goal is to

listen carefully and then interpret the

Abrief creatively, developing the design

in partnership with the client to deliver both

on time and on budget.

Working closely with colleagues from Bell

Ingram’s other specialist teams to bring

projects to life, we can offer a one stop

shop facility where we have access to

planning, surveying, tourism and renewables

consultants, providing a full-service solution.

Our ability to work seamlessly between

advice, design, plan and build is a big

advantage, particularly in rural settings.

Bell Ingram Design provides the

following architectural services:

• Full Architectural Services

• Feasibility Studies

• Conceptual Design

• 3-D Illustrative Images

• Design for Detailed

Planning Approval

• Building Surveying

• Tourism and Renewables


➤ More details at


winter bi2019 3

34 bi2020 autumn ❘ winter autumn ❘ winter bi2020 35

Iain Cram

Iain is the partner in charge

of Bell Ingram Design. His

principal role is working with

clients on projects from the

initial concept, through site







He is an


and talented architect with

a long track record, working

on a diverse range of projects

from small scale residential

through to large public,

commercial, residential and

tourism builds.

Murray Fleming

As senior architect in Bell

Ingram’s Beauly office,

Murray is


for the




covering the


and Islands. Murray has

extensive design and project

management experience

in a wide range of building

sectors, including residential,

commercial, public and


Lauren Livingston

Lauren joined Bell Ingram

Design in 2017 with a First Class

BSc (Hons) in Architectural

Technology. Following her

success of winning the student

‘CIAT Aspiration Award’, she has

continued to

be an active

member of

CIAT as an





assistance to our Principal

Architects and Planner on

projects throughout the


Scott Ramsay

Senior Architectural

Technician Scott provides

support to the project

architects and building

surveyors in the preparation

of drawings and specifications

for the submission of

Planning Applications and

Building Warrants, through to

tender and


stages. Scott

has been

trained in

the use

of Revit


allowing him to create realtime



Stephen Reilly

With 30



as a building


Stephen is



delivering the company’s

building surveying services.

He has extensive experience

in planned maintenance

management, building

inspections, condition surveys

and dilapidations.

Catherine Newton

Catherine has worked for

Bell Ingram as a Planning

Consultant since 2012. Her

planning career over the past

30 years has included public

and private



agency and

charity roles.

She brings

to every

new project

an extensive knowledge and

understanding of planning

legislation, as well as an insight

into the requirements of the

decision makers and statutory


Susan Burness

Susan is a Conservation

Accredited Architect with

over 25 years of experience

in the construction industry.

She is an accomplished

architect and project

manager, capable of bringing


the client,


team and


to deliver a

project of

the quality

expected by all involved. Her

experience of working in the

field of conservation includes

managing the complex

demands of multiple

occupant buildings through

the THI/CARS grant


Follow Bell Ingram on:

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter,



Isla Road

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Tel: 01738 621 121



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Aberdeen, AB25 1XQ

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Oban Perth

Head Offce: Perth, Isla Road


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Rydal Road, Ambleside

Cumbria, LA22 9BB

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Ayr, KA7 1BG

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