Ten years trading for Forge Property Consultants06/01/20
2020 marks Forge Property Consultants’ tenth anniversary. I am proud to have reached this milestone and I’m very grateful to the colleagues and clients who have provided such invaluable support to enable us to make it happen.
Going into business as Forge Property Consultants
Having gained diverse land agency experience working for two large, national property firms, I was keen to start my own firm, specialising in rural business. I started trading under the Forge Property Consultants name in January 2010 and by the following September I was in a position to take on the first of a series of placement students from Harper Adams University, James Wadland, who has gone on to work for a national firm in Oxfordshire.
With work gathering apace, a year later we were joined by Scott Parke, another undergraduate from Harper Adams, who is now working for a Norfolk firm.
A professional team
In September 2013 we identified a need for a more senior team member who could help us with growing the business and we recruited Tom Mason, a graduate surveyor, who went on to qualify with Forge as a Chartered Surveyor and Registered Valuer. With two of us being chartered and also RICS Registered Valuers, we started to grow the Forge business in earnest.
Forge Barn and Eccleshall office
As third student Nell Lloyd completed her placement with us, we moved the business into Forge Barn. Turning it into a beautiful office was a real labour of love but was certainly worth it. We included biomass heating and high levels of insulation achieving a B rating for energy efficiency. The barn also won a Blue Business Award for rainwater harvesting. The green roof is a real talking point with visitors.
Undergraduate Andy Lowe joined us on placement in 2016 and we were in an ideal position to open another office, this time in Eccleshall, in order to meet the needs of our growing Staffordshire client portfolio. With Tom developing the Eccleshall business, our fifth placement student, Frances Hitchen came to work with me at Forge Barn.
Selling a sporting estate
In 2018, in one of the most exciting projects we have been involved with to date, the owners of the outstanding Guyzance estate in Northumberland approached us to ask for our help in selling the diverse property. In addition to a 19th century 14 bedroomed Grade II listed hall, complete with its own ballroom, and six cottages, the proposed sale included 250 acres of agricultural land and woodland, as well as fishing rights on one of the best salmon rivers in England. By this time, former placement student Andy Lowe had graduated and joined us on a permanent basis.
We sold the Guyzance estate in ten separate transactions for £5.8 million, with each member of the team having demonstrated their particular areas of expertise and skill.
Specialising in diversification
In 2019 we sold the 51 acre Woodland Park Lodges site in Ellesmere, Shropshire off a guide price of £1.35 million. Our involvement with this site dates right back to when I first started trading in 2010. This was a great example of farm diversification. Advising clients on diversification is now a specialist area for us and agricultural property is continuing to provide considerable opportunity.
As we enter our second decade of business, I am excited to think what the future holds for the team. I’d like to say a particular thank you to Tom and Andy and also to Carmel and Jo, who provide us with fantastic administrative support, both at Forge Barn and Eccleshall, as well as the wider network of professional consultants and associates that help us deliver our services to our clients. Happy New Year to everyone!