COVID-19 Water & Leisure Market Update
On 26th March, the Government offered assistance to those who are self-employed meaning many small business owners will be able to apply for a grant worth 80% of their average monthly profits. There is additional support available for businesses, with cashflow a principal concern for most, however the mechanics and timing of these measures remain to be seen.
Angling and Leisure Businesses
The Angling Trust has launched a COVID-19 support hub, a dedicated resource providing useful information to anglers, clubs, fisheries and other angling organisations. The overall advice at this stage is that fisheries should remain closed and that individuals should refrain from fishing in order to tackle the pandemic. The Angling Trust published that they are in the process of putting together a proposal to the Government, that if successful, would allow for certain, predominantly solitary activities to resume once the virus has peaked.
The Institute of Fishery Management (IFM) has released practical guidelines on how to manage fisheries in response to the current situation. This may be particularly helpful for owners of commercial fisheries who rely on a constant supply of angler’s bait to support their fish stocks. Owners should also remember that fish stocks can be particularly vulnerable at this time of year, as there is a lag between temperatures rising and the immune response of most fish species. Whilst the banks are quieter, there will be an increased risk for many fisheries with the threat of opportunistic predators, such as otters, mink, cormorants, etc. Monitoring of fish stocks and water quality should be continued as best practise where it is safe and possible to do so.
At Fenn Wright, protecting the safety and well-being of our team, clients and contacts is always at the forefront of our minds, and even more so at this time. We are constantly monitoring the situation and making appropriate adjustments where required. As a business, we are continuing to work remotely and although we are currently unable to undertake site visits, we are continuing with most aspects of our work. On a positive note, we are still receiving enquiries for properties which we are marketing and buyers are still active. We can also progress our professional services, including valuation, planning and expert witness.
Whilst businesses are closed to the general public, many of our clients are looking towards the future, whether it be diversifying or providing more resilience to their business by adding holiday accommodation, for example. Planning applications for further development or pre-applications to obtain a Local Authority’s view on a full application can still be submitted. Most Local Authorities have published advice on their website as to how their services are being affected by COVID-19. We have noticed that most Councils appear to be working remotely and can communicate electronically to progress applications and address queries even if they cannot undertake site visits.
Support for Businesses
We recommend that owners go onto the Government website where there is further information in respect of grants and business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses for the 2020 to 2021 tax year. We are aware that a number of fishery businesses have been successful in obtaining small business grant funding of £10,000 and this applies to all businesses in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief.
How Fenn Wright can help
We are now offering to undertake planning applications for dwellings on a success fee basis. This is for clients who have a reasonable chance of obtaining planning permission for either a temporary or permanent dwelling, even if their property is located within the Green Belt. This is something which we are only able to offer at this time and we will be pleased to discuss the prospect of obtaining a dwelling on your property. For other planning consultancy work, we are looking to structure fees in a way to assist clients during this period of uncertainty.