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Private practice

Paul Cressy

Paul Cressy is a Director at Savills, an international firm with more than 80 offices in the UK and over 500 worldwide. He is based in Exeter and covers the South West of England. 

Typically I spend half my time in the office and the other half out dealing with client’s farms, estates and properties.  My work includes dealing with estate in-hand farms, negotiating contract farming arrangements, letting farms and dealing with the on-going farm tenancy arrangements. I also deal with let cottages, commercial industrial units and offices, collecting rents and dealing with repairs and day-to-day problems.  I must also help my clients to plan for the future and consider the options for future generations.

I am lucky enough to be involved in some spectacular properties in the west country from 200 room manor houses to beach huts by the sea.  The range of work is diverse – as an example I was recently involved in the purchase of a flock of 200 sheep for an in-hand farming arrangement and at the other extreme, I was involved in the erection of a 120 metre wind turbine with all the planning issues that go with it.  The job is interesting as you never really know what is going to crop up the next day – you could be dealing with a compensation claim against a water company or the purchase of 1,000 acre farm on behalf of a client.  The job gets you out and about meeting a variety of interesting people.

Marcus Blake

Marcus Blake works for Berrys, a firm of agricultural valuers with offices in Northamptonshire, Cheshire and Shropshire. Marcus works in their Towcester office, not far from the Silverstone motor racing circuit.

No two weeks are the same as I do a wide variety of work. Some of my time is spent on tasks traditionally associated with land agency, such as estate management, compulsory purchase schemes and farm diversification projects. However, being so close to Silverstone circuit I also specialise in motorsport related work; this includes acting for Formula 1, rally, GT and touring car teams. Projects can include everything from selling surplus facilities to obtaining planning consent for new wind tunnels, organising the rental of storage space for F1 spares and finding new headquarters facilities for teams.

A keen interest in motorsport is vital to understanding the needs of the teams, but my background in rural and agricultural surveying and valuation gives me an extra edge, as most motorsport facilities, whether tracks, test facilities or headquarters are located in the countryside. I get quite a buzz when I go to meetings with top racing teams and I often get a tour of the factory afterwards. My work means that I am involved in decision making at the top level of motorsport.

When I left college I never imagined that I could combine two of my passions – rural property management and motorsport – so you could say that I’m in my dream job!

Kathryn Perkins

Kathryn Perkins is a partner with Edward H Perkins Chartered Surveyors in Pembrokeshire.

After graduating from Cirencester, I did my training in Shropshire. Six years ago, after passing my professional exams, I returned to Pembrokeshire to work in the family business and have subsequently become a partner. The business is run by myself and my business partner and we now employ my father as a consultant – an interesting family dynamic! We have two support staff and a graduate surveyor, operating out of two offices.

The work our firm undertakes is very diverse. I spend approximately 3 days a week out of the office working for farmers and land owners on a wide range of issues. I do a lot of rural property valuations for taxation and secured lending purposes and we specialise in agricultural tenancy and agricultural law issues for both landlords and tenants. At present renewable energy proposals are taking up a lot of my time, which is extremely interesting and represents a possible new source of income for many of our clients. I am working on a combination hydro and tidal scheme for one of my management clients, which could yield a 15% return on capital. I am also dealing with a number of developers seeking to purchase options for large scale solar farms, which is a new area of work for many surveying firms.

The best part of my job are the people I meet and places I visit. It is continually varied and I definitely learn something new every day!

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