Hugh Ellins Blog – Planning for the Future

Planning for the Future

Recently I attended one of Webb Paton’s excellent seminars on farming related matters. George Paton spoke on development issues that may affect farmers.

One of the points that was discussed is that both the Wiltshire Council and the Swindon Borough Council are beginning the process of renewing their Strategic Plans which, if approved, will set out the type of development that both Councils wish to see and also the broad areas in which that development will be permitted.

Although Wiltshire and Swindon are two independent Councils they are obligated, where appropriate, to work together and, indeed, have been under some pressure so to do.

The fact that the Councils are now working on their Plans is significant in terms of strategic planning for those with land holdings. There is both a positive and negative reason for this. The positive and negative reasons are two sides of the same coin.

By making representations at the appropriate times, a landowner may be able to influence where land is allocated for development and the type of development. On one side of the coin this may be that the land which would not otherwise be allocated for development is included in the Plan. On the other side of the coin the influence may be to ensure that the land that would have been allocated is excluded.

The importance of land being allocated for development is that the question is then not whether the land should be developed but the nature of the development. In other words, in boxing terms, rounds one and two of the three round fight have already been won.

If the land is not allocated and someone wants to develop it, there is a much greater difficulty in obtaining the relevant planning permissions. To keep to the fighting analogy, it is like fighting with one hand tied behind your back.

Taking all that into account what should a landowner do? My advice is that he should start preparing for making representations by discussing matters with the likes of George or myself.

Hugh Ellins – March 2019

Review of 2018

Review of 2018!

As 2018 draws to a close, we wanted to reflect on how positive our year has been.

We have seen consistent growth across all the departments and have recruited additional staff over the past 12 months to meet the demand for high quality legal services from our clients.

Our client feedback questionnaires show that many of those replying were repeat clients and we are thrilled that they chose to use us again. Thank you.
We have also seen our Trainee Legal Executives succeed in their annual exams and look forward to supporting them through the rest of their training and watching them continue to grow into exceptional lawyers.

Due to the growth within the business, we have seen numerous internal promotions to include new Partners, Associates and Legal Secretaries.

We have celebrated a merger with David Jeacock and are looking forward to working with David’s clients and indeed with David who has agreed to be a consultant.

We have invested money into community projects and we are proud sponsors of: –

Swindon Supermarine Sports and Education Trust
• Calne Bike Meet
• Calne Heritage Week
• Calne Arts and Music Festival
• Royal Wootton Bassett Christmas Trees
• Calne Rugby Club
• Royal Wootton Basset Rugby Club
• The Bevirs Law Excellence in Law prize at RWB Academy
• Tockenham Village magazine

We have sponsored, supported or taken part in many other community events such as: –

• St Bartholomew and All Saints Church, Christmas Tree Festival
• Wanborough Scarecrow Trial
• Tockenham Summer Fair
• The sale of Scout Christmas stamps
• Wroughton School Careers fair
• Sacred Heart Church
• Wessex Male Choir
• Calne Duck Race
• Supported Wiltshire Air Ambulance within the firm

We very much look forward to seeing what 2019 has in store for us and would like to wish all our clients and business colleagues a Happy New Year!

Excellence in Law awarded to local Year 13 Student from Royal Wootton Bassett

Last night Sonyia Woolnough, of Bevirs Law, attended Royal Wootton Bassett High School to present the ‘Excellence in Law’ award which Bevirs sponsor annually.

Congratulations to Emily Howse who won the award this year. Emily is a current Year 13 student studying BTEC Applied Law, Applied Business and BTEC Engineering. She is applying for University and plans to study Law at either Exeter or Worcester.

Her Law teachers had the following to say:

“She has been an exemplary student – amazing hard work displayed by her through the course of the whole year which was shown through her amazing grade in her exam in Year 12 and her coursework. Really conscientious student. “- Anthony Matthews

“I would like to add that she is an excellent role model, a real team player with a mature attitude to her studies.” – Georgina King

We look forward to working alongside Emily who, after invitation, plans to do some work experience with Bevirs in her gap year.

We look forward to having you Emily!

Blog – December 2018 – Renewables are coming of age

Blog – December 2018 – Renewables are coming of age

The UK may be in all sorts of muddle over Brexit with the country split, the Tory party split and the Labour party apparently playing a political game, but, at least, in one area we seem to be making progress. The sources of production of electricity is shifting more and more towards renewable sources. In the second quarter of 2018 31.7% of the total generated electricity came from renewable sources. On one day, 9th April, 26.25% of the total energy demand was supplied by solar and, when the other renewable sources were taken into account, the amount so supplied amounted to 46.989%.

There is political will for the use of renewables and that, coupled with the difficulties associated with the construction of nuclear power stations and the dealing with the waste produced, makes me say “renewables are coming of age”.

Added to that there is the forecast for consumption of electricity which is that it will substantially increase from about 2025. That increase will be largely be fuelled by the increase in the use of electric vehicles. If such forecast is correct then the electricity will either have to be produced in the UK or imported. In some ways, the importation of electricity is the easiest method as it overcomes the problems of (A) the withdrawal of support mechanisms such as the feed in tariff and (B) local opposition to the infrastructure needed for the production of electricity, (C) availability of grid connection and (D) the possible push toward nuclear (which now seems unlikely in a reasonable timescale), fracking or interconnectors. Even if those threats have an adverse effect on the renewables market, it will continue to grow.

Coupled to that growth will be the need to store the produced electricity. One disadvantage of renewables is that the electricity cannot only be produced when it is needed. Regretfully, the wind does not blow, nor the sun shine, to order.

This will lead to a growth in the market for electricity storage facilities which can be large or small scale. There are a variety of ways of becoming involved in that market but, for most people, the commonest and easiest is where there is an option for the operator to take a lease on an area of land which is exercised if the operator obtains the necessary planning permission.

Usually, there is considerable pressure from the operator to get the documentation signed. Some operators even try to make the landowners sign without having proper advice from a surveyor, as to whether the proposed deal is financially reasonable and the general terms acceptable, or a lawyer, to advise as to whether the landowner has proper protection in respect of ensuring payment of rent, indemnity against claims or decommissioning of the site. That is not a complete list of what the surveyor and the lawyer should be considering.

There is one other area to consider which is whether the erection of a battery storage system will reduce the value of the surrounding land. Most short-term operating reserve systems (STOR) will sterilise future residential development within 30 metres radius. That is something in the region of 75 acres or 30 hectares. The effect on the value of the retained land is therefore significant. Taking a pessimistic value of residential land in this area the loss of value is likely to be in the region of £45 million. The siting of a storage facility must, therefore, be carefully considered even before the landowner becomes involved in the niceties of the documentation.

To summarise, I do see an increase in the number of operators knocking on landowners’ doors and the need for those landowners to be properly advised to ensure that the proposed transaction properly reflects what is on offer in the marketplace and that the potential value of their retained land is not significantly adversely affected.

Hugh Ellins

Meet the Family Team at Bevirs Law

Meet the Family team:

 

The Family department consists of 2 teams:  child care and matrimonial (divorce/ separation/ finance/ children).  We have 3 Partners, 3 Solicitors, 2 trainee legal executives and we are ably supported by 4 secretaries.

We are a very busy department all based in our Swindon branch at Regent Circus.  Stuart McNeil is the Senior Partner and head of the matrimonial team.  He has spent the entirety of his legal career at Bevirs Law having joined as a trainee solicitor in 1982 before becoming a Partner in 1988.  Stuart is supported by Michelle Bowyer and Heather Riley both Solicitors.

Kathryn Locke is our second longest serving department member.  She heads the care team and has worked for Bevirs Law for 16 years becoming a Partner in 2006 and she is supported by Rebecca Scammel, Partner, Claire Webb, Solicitor and Michelle Godwin and Emily Clayton who are trainee legal executives.

Between us we have 10 children and 5 grandchildren, 3 of us are vegetarians and we have a fanatical lover of guinea pigs in the team as well as a political activist and charity worker.  We are golfers, horse riders, tennis players and runners as well as practicing yoga, Pilates and meditation.

The team have a combined total of 95 years post qualification experience and share a passion for helping to guide our clients through some of their most personally challenging times and we do so with skill, compassion and empathy.

Working with you, not just for you.

12.12.2018

 

Good Divorce Week

GOOD DIVORCE WEEK 2018

As Resolution’s annual campaign for a change in the law to include an option for a no-fault divorce has come to an end for 2018 we reflect on the key messages.

Conflict can have serious long-term effects on children and studies have shown that it’s not the separation or the divorce that has an impact but rather the conflict stemming from it that often has a detrimental impact on their wellbeing.

Divorce is always difficult but having to show fault can increase the conflict between the couple and make it more difficult to sort out child and financial arrangements.

Facts: Divorce in England and Wales

  • There are over 100,000 divorces in England and Wales each year;
  • Behaviour is the most common fact used for opposite-sex divorce (52%) and same -sex divorce (83% among women, 73% among men);
  • A National opinion survey showed only 29% of respondents to a fault divorce said that the Fact used very closely matched the reason for the separation.

What Resolution members think of the current law:

  • 90% say the current law makes it harder to reduce conflict between ex-partners;
  • 67% say the current law makes it harder for separated parents to reach agreements;
  • 80% feel the introduction of no-fault divorce would help separating couples reach an agreement out of court.

11.12.2018

Bevirs entry into The Christmas Tree Festival at St Bartholomew and All Saints Church, Royal Wootton Bassett

Christmas Tree Festival at St Bartholomew’s Church!

 

This year Bevirs participated in the Christmas Tree Festival at St Bartholomew and All Saints Church in Royal Wootton Bassett. 39 Local businesses participated in the festival and the Church looked beautiful all lit up with so much colour.

We had such fun creating the decorations for this tree using all recycled  documents and paperwork from the office. Our staff in the Royal Wootton Bassett office did a great job. Our tree was called ‘The Reinvention Tree’.

All funds raised from the festival went to Wiltshire Air Ambulance and the Church.

Meet the team at Bevirs Law:

Meet the team at Bevirs Law:

We have 7 Partners who manage 40 staff and work in 7 different teams: business and commercial; property; family; care; litigation; private client (wills and probate); and employment. The partnership consists of 4 male (57%) and 3 female (43%) partners.

Our fee earning staff are made up of 33% men and 66% women and work from our 3 offices located in Royal Wootton Bassett, Swindon and Calne. We can come to you if you are unable to come to us.

We are parents, grandparents and dedicated animal owners with 51 between us (16 cats, 13 dogs, 4 horses, 1 parrot,1 rabbit, 4 guinea pigs, 2 hamsters and 10 chickens not to mention lots of fish).

We have been advising individuals and businesses in Wiltshire and beyond since 1885 and between us all, we have over 405 years post qualification legal experience.

We are proud to work with you, not just for you.