Having recently visited a farm in Gloucestershire in the process of relocating as a result of HS2, Ian, our Head of Farming & Rural Engagement, considers the HS2 impact on landowners and their businesses.
Any doubts I may have had about the reality of HS2 were totally displaced on a visit to Stoneleigh Park for an exhibition in September. A vast swathe of bare ground now cuts through the showground surrounded by mountains of timber from felled trees. The approach roads are being re-configured and plans are in place to store over a million tonnes of topsoil on the site. If that doesn’t persuade you things are happening, hop on a train to Birmingham’s’ New Street Station and see the work going on there too.
In 2018 I visited a farm in Gloucestershire to meet a family who had re-located from the West Midlands which seemed a little surreal. Whilst doubts were still being raised in the public-domain about the viability of a new high-speed line, valuations had been agreed, transactions completed and businesses were relocating. Seeing a farm needing investment for new grain storage and facilities in order to continue their established and highly successful diversification, brought home to me the enormity of moving any business and the financial implications.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that some businesses have found the financial process and the receiving of due funds to be slow and cumbersome. And time waits for no man, no woman and no business. From a manufacturer producing goods ‘just in time’ to a farm governed by the seasons, making the transition to a new site is a massive challenge logistically, operationally, and financially.
But it could also present an opportunity to update infrastructure, improve business efficiency and perhaps identify new income generating opportunities – is the new farm in a good location for staycations? Could outbuildings be converted into accommodation? If your business is impacted by HS2 and requires a capital injection to adapt, contact us we’d love to help if we can.
(Minimum loan amount is £100,000 and loans must be secured against land or property)
By Ian Bell, Head of Farming & Rural Engagement
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