Increases to Probate Fees
After the rush to purchase buy to lets in the early months 2016, because of increased in Stamp Duty, we are now having the 2017 rush, because of the increases in probate fees.

A flat fee currently applies of £215 if reporting privately, or £155 if done by a solicitor, but this will increase to £20,000 for estates worth £2,000,000 or more, from May 2017.

 At this moment it is unclear whether this is the 1st May or the 31st May, but it seems that the date will reflect when probate is applied for, rather than the date of death.

 It will be on a sliding scale, and will be in addition to Inheritance Tax.
Ampton Point to Point
On Sunday the 12th March Lacy Scott & Knight sponsored the Men’s Open race at Ampton Point to Point the weather was warm and the rain stayed off. The race had only one horse running, one of the best Point to Pointers in the country and no other horses were prepared to take this horse on! The winning horse was Broken Eagle and is owned by Mr and Mrs Exelby. Our congratulations go to the owner, rider and off course Broken Eagle. the picture is Rob Swiney  (Lacy Scott & Knight) presenting the prize to the owners.
Orchard House, Mill Street, Stowupland
Orchard House is a wonderful Grade II Listed detached, thatched property believed to date back to the 16th Century, with later 18th and mid-20th Century additions with period features throughout.
 
Of particular note is the heavily timbered sitting room with a magnificent red brick fire place with bressumer beam over, with gas effect fire inserted.
 
Also of note is the recently fitted kitchen with a wide  range of wall and base units under a Corian work top and incorporating a 1½ bowl corner sink, 4 ring electric induction hob with extractor hood over and an eye level double oven.  The kitchen also benefits from a floor with electric under floor heating and wonderful views over the rear garden. The kitchen gives access to the utility room with a further door to the garden.
The ground floor also comprises dining room, en-suite ground floor bedroom, study / fourth bedroom, WC and conservatory with French doors opening onto the rear terrace.
 
The first floor comprises a good sized landing and two further bedrooms with views over the front and rear gardens and a shower room.
 
Outside
Orchard House is approached via a shingle drive, the first part of which is flanked by mature flower beds, which leads to a large gravel parking area for several cars. From the large parking area access is given to the detached barn currently used as a double garage and the workshop/store.
 
The grounds are predominantly laid to lawn with well stocked flower beds and a variety of mature shrubs and trees.  To the rear of the property there is a natural pond, a terraced area ideal for al fresco dining and barbeques and a pergola leading to a pleasant seating area. On the eastern side of the property there is a large expanse of lawn boarded by tall mature trees.
 
Location
Stowupland is a large attractive village situated just outside the market town of Stowmarket with a large village green and excellent road and rail links.  The village has a range of amenities including a Post Office/farm shop, a garage with convenience store, butchers, Chinese takeaway plus a fish and chip shop.  It also has a pre-school, primary school and high school.  There are 2 churches within the village, Holy Trinity and the United Reformed Church. 
 
Nearby Stowmarket is on the main Norwich/London line and there is easy access to the A14, providing links to Ipswich (12 miles), Felixstowe (26 miles) and Bury St Edmunds (18 miles).

For more information or to arrange a viewing, please contact Christine Preston on 01449 612384 or email cpreston@lsk.co.uk.
A fitting end to an era
As the building of our extension nears completion and we prepare to move from our dark and dusty attic-like offices into a bright and shiny new space, it was great to have a month of excellent, and in some cases record-breaking, auctions. 

The 4th March General Antiques & Collectables was our highest total yet for a general auction, with excellent prices for brown furniture and paintings, as well as the expected current buoyancy in the jewellery market.  The top price was an unanticipated £1350 for three 19th century ‘rock crystal’ rings, this was closely followed by £1150 for a modern Duresta sofa. It was a massive auction of 1300 lots, but the fantastic total took the sting out of the tail of working late! 

After a quick turnaround in the saleroom, we held our Twentieth Century Design and Fine Art & Antiques auctions the following weekend.  

Despite generally attracting a younger crowd who are happier to bid online, it was good to see a full saleroom for the Twentieth Century Design auction.   The sale started well with a triple estimate £900 for a 1960s Poole Pottery vase within the first 10 lots, and continued to impress. Top prices included £3800 for a Georg Jensen cutlery suite, a William de Morgan glazed tile for £1150, £2600 for a Christian Dior design necklace, £1100 for a Beatles Yellow Submarine poster, and £1000 for a pair of Robert ‘Mouseman’ Thompson oak tables. Looking at the results, it is clear that with these sales in particular big names and stylish design are key to attracting bidders and getting the best prices.

The top price was £4500 for our front cover lot; an oil on canvas by Ruskin Spear CBE RA (1911-1990). Due to childhood polio, Spear used a wheelchair and much of his art captured his immediate surroundings, such as pubs, shops, or as in this example, sheltering from the rain at the seaside.  Works by Spear hang in the Tate, the Royal Academy of Arts, and the National Portrait Gallery.

After a few hours’ respite, we returned on Saturday for our Fine Art & Antiques auction.  The sale started with an excellent Books & Written Ephemera section which included a collection of 18th & 19th century letters, journals and other documents relating to the Elliot family and the baronets of Minto. A group of the Honourable George Elliot’s (1822-1901) journals sold for an unprecedented £3200.

Thankfully the momentum continued and there were big prices across all sections to include; a pair of rare 18th century Mennecy porcelain jars and covers with Chinese blanc-de-chine decoration for £2200; a pair of cultured pearl and diamond earrings by Graff for £7500; £3500 for a 1970s Omega chronograph, £3100 for a pair of Victorian coaching lamps, £2400 for a Thomas Smythe oil on canvas, and £3700 for a mid-18th century walnut hall table.

Unsurprisingly, with the jewellery market being so enthusiastic at the moment, the highest price of the day was £11,000 for a pair of Art Deco white gold and diamond ear pendants.

We look forward to our imminent move (in particular the official launch party), and hope that this month’s auctions are a sign of increasing confidence and buoyancy in the Art & Antiques market.
A piece of history
Early in March we were delighted to be given a photograph by Steve & Sue Williams of the Stowmarket History Group.
 
This is a very old photograph showing our history, and believed to be taken in around 1890.  The main building on the corner was R C Knight & Sons offices until about 1984, when it was demolished to make way for the bottom of the precinct which now leads to Asda.
 
We are currently housed in the Public House (The White Hart) to the left, and many of the features of that old building can still be recognised.
 
“Peddars” became Hunt, Peddar & Knight, which eventually became R C Knight & Sons, we then merged with Lacy Scott to become Lacy Scott & Knight.
 
Agricultural News
With the 2017 applications opening in the next month the RPA has announced that they have issued 2016 Basic Payments to over 93 per cent of all claimants, 2 months ahead of schedule.

Despite a report fall of around 4 per cent for average arable land values, as recent sales have shown whilst there is still a steady demand for amenity and horse paddock land.

With reports of outbreaks of bird flu (the serious and notifiable disease H5N8) continue, BASC, CA, CLA, GFA, GWCT, NGO and SGA have produced a guidance note on Avian Flu which supports DEFRA’s advice. Specific information regarding gamebirds can be found at www.nationalgamekeepers.org. The legal requirement to house kept birds or to otherwise separate them from wild birds will remain in place throughout Great Britain until at least 28th February 2017.  Where housing is not possible, the legal requirement is to take ‘reasonable and practical measures’ to separate all kept gamebirds and poultry from wild birds.

Defra has announced the Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZs) for 2017-20. NVZs are areas designated as being at risk from agricultural nitrate pollution. They include about 58% of land in England. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) reviews NVZs every 4 years to account for changes in water pollution.

NVZs for 2017 to 2020 started on 1 January 2017. They include new areas of NVZs, and exclude areas that have been de-designated. Landowners can check whether their farm falls within an NVZ by using the “What’s in your backyard” tool.

However DEFRA has addressed many of the notifying letters to agents not the landowners, having referred to the RPA database. Unfortunately the only individual identification on the letters is the NVZ identification number which does not relate to anything we have access to.

A DEFRA spokesperson told Farmers Weekly the department was aware of the issue, but had sent out the letters to make agents and farmers aware of the designations.  They said DEFRA would be sending out further letters directly to farmers whose notifications had been sent to agents. This was expected to happen in the next month and would reset people’s 28-day appeals deadline date. If you are uncertain whether your land falls within an NVZ or have difficulty viewing the maps online then you can contact the Environment Agency.

It has been a good start for potato prices which have remained strong, finishing at an average £205 per tonne for GB average and £245 per tonne for average free-buy despite volatility earlier in the month. The 2016 has continued to store well with limited reports of wet rot, blackheart and temperature damage in ambient stores.

Approval for the use of the active herbicide ingredient, linuron, has been withdrawn by The European Commission Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed.
The North Briton Scandal
Lot 1022 in our 11th March Fine Art sale is a detailed account of expenses relating to an episode in British history which involved freedom of the press, unpopular government actions and disharmony between European neighbours. Sound familiar?
 
The North Briton Scandal
The North Briton was a radical newspaper launched in June 1762 and then weekly until the resignation of the Bute government in April 1763. Although written anonymously, it is closely associated with radical journalist and politician John Wilkes, who was highly critical of the government led by Prime Minister Lord Bute – a Scottish nobleman and favourite of King George III.  Wilkes called his paper The North Briton, in response to The Briton, a pro-government paper started by Tobias Smollett and in mocking reference to Bute and his entourage of salaried Scots. 
 
Issue No. 45 (23rd April 1763) is the most famous edition of the paper. It criticized a royal speech in which King George III praised the Treaty of Paris ending the Seven Years' War.  However, the treaty was highly unpopular as it was considered to be too lenient towards the French.  Wilkes stated “Every friend of his country must lament that a prince of so many great and amiable qualities…can be brought to give the sanction of his sacred name to the most odious measures…”.  It was a happy coincidence for Wilkes that the number 45 also referenced the recent Jacobite rebellion of 1745 commonly known as "The '45", and popular perception associated Bute (Scottish and therefore politically controversial as an adviser to the King) with Jacobitism.
 
The King felt personally insulted and ordered the issuing of general warrants for the arrest of Wilkes and the publishers for seditious libel.  Wilkes lived a few doors away from the Home Secretary, the 4th Earl of Halifax, and the day of the arrest was spent in comical comings and goings between the two houses with Wilkes declining to be arrested until the arresting officers threatened to summon the militia. Wilkes then hired a sedan chair to be carried less than 100 yards to Halifax’s house where he proceeded to compliment the paintings and décor, and refused to be intimidated. Eventually, they took him off to the Tower of London. In all forty-nine people were arrested, but Wilkes gained considerable popular support as he asserted the unconstitutionality of their arrest.  He began his courtroom speeches with the cry "Wilkes and Liberty!", eventually won the case and, for good measure, sued his arresters for trespass.
 
John Wilkes (1725-1797) - politician, radical journalist, member of the Hellfire Club and outlaw.
Wilkes radical behaviour did not end with the North Briton scandal.  The following year he fled to France and was declared an outlaw after the House of Lords moved to dispel him for his moral behaviour, blasphemy and libel. He had privately published an extremely lewd poem about the courtesan Fanny Murray (who was also the mistress of his enemy the 4th Earl of Sandwich), which was read out in the House of Lords (apparently causing one member to nearly faint).  He returned to England in 1768 and was imprisoned, causing his supporters to appear before the King's Bench chanting "No liberty, no King."  Troops opened fire on the unarmed men, killing seven and wounding 15, an incident that came to be known as the St George's Fields Massacre. 
 
Released from prison in 1770, Wilkes stood for election again and was made Lord Mayor of London in 1774.  He worked in his final years as a magistrate campaigning for more moderate punishment for disobedient household servants, before dying at home in 1797.
  
Philip Carteret Webb (1702–1770) was a barrister and involved with the 18th century antiquarian movement.
He became a member of the London Society of Antiquaries in 1747, and as its lawyer was responsible for securing the incorporation of the Society in 1751.  Webb was also as an agent of the crown in the North Briton scandal of 1763, assisting in the seizure of the papers of radical journalist John Wilkes, whose inflammatory writings had offended the King.  For his acts Webb was dubbed by Horace Walpole ‘a most villainous tool and agent in any iniquity,’ ‘that dirty wretch,’ and ‘a sorry knave.’ Webb was later unsuccessfully tried for perjury while defending the seizure of Wilkes papers and charged with bribery using public money in 1769.  He privately and anonymously published many reports to do with his time on the King’s Bench.
 
As an antiquary he bought one-third of a collection of manuscripts of Julius Cæsar when they were dispersed by auction in 1757. These, amongst other manuscripts in his collection, later went to the British Museum.
 
Lot 1022 - WEBB Philip Carteret (1702-1770), Barrister, a very detailed seven page account of Webb's expenses in what became known as the North Briton Scandal (1763), involving the seizure of the papers of John Wilkes, the radical journalist, the account is signed by Lord Ashley for payment of £168 13s 4d (1); with a signed covering letter in Webb's hand. Estimate - £150-250
 
This is one from a large collection of historical and political documents in the auction including letters, court warrants, political pamphlets, ships prize money accounts etc, from the 17th through to the 19th century.
 
Auction History
With our 150th anniversary fast approaching and the latest stage of our development literally taking shape outside, we thought now would be a good time to reflect on Lacy Scott & Knight’s history as an auction house.  

The auction side of the business was established in 1869 by Henry Lacy Scott, and we have been an integral part of historic Bury St Edmunds ever since.  The company was later enlarged to Lacy Scott & Sons, and then further expanded when we merged with Knight’s estate agents of Stowmarket in 1997.  We are now one of the largest salerooms in the East of England, and hold a diverse range of specialist and general sales throughout the year.  However, our early history was less Fine Art and more Fat Sows, as befits Auctioneers of a regional market town!

The first mention of the firm was in the Bury Free Press of 9th July 1869 in the form of an announcement; “Mr Henry Lacy Scott begs to advise as to his setting up in business as an Auctioneer and Valuer, the office being at No.3 Guildhall Street”.

Within a few years, Henry Lacy Scott founded a livestock market behind the Market Tavern (now Gym Bar) on Risbygate Street in 1874.  It soon became the vibrant heart of the town; bustling with dealers, auctioneers, farmers, and drovers, as well as children who loved to see the farm animals.   Henry, who was also a borough councillor and twice mayor, was joined by his sons Archibald and Reginald around the turn of the century before dying in 1904.  The cattle market gradually expanded, briefly interrupted by WWI in which Reginald served.  In the 1920s & ‘30s, Archibald’s own sons Henry and John (who our two salerooms are named after), joined the firm.

The excitement of market day was immortalised in literature when Adrian Bell (father of MP & journalist Martin) described his visit there while training to be a farmer in the 1920s

“All the while the air was filled with the lowing of cattle, the slithering of hoofs, pigs quarrelling, and bells ringing. The large pigs seemed indifferent to their surroundings, sleeping until the auctioneer came to them and the crowd poked them to sudden panic.  Each, as sold, received an indigo blue hieroglyph upon its back, and was soon once more in deep slumber… Everywhere sticks waved; one of the undertones of the place was the continual tattoo of them pattering upon hides.  Men stood conferring solemnly with their hands upon a bullock’s back, as though it were a sacred relic they were swearing by, or raised themselves and stood on the rails to get a comprehensive view of a particular penful.”
Corduroy, Published 1930.

To read the full Auction History go to http://www.lskauctioncentre.co.uk/news/
Well What Can We Say about 2016?
Structurally we are slowly expanding and we would like to thank our clients for their patience with regards to the building work encroaching into the car park.  We will have a lovely new reception area, consignment room, and WCs by next spring.  The extension will also herald a few changes to our calendar and opening times, and possibly an in-house cafe and client waiting.
 
We’re happy to report that the Art & Antiques world is generally weathering any economic and political turmoil, and while some areas (such as antique brown furniture) are still in the doldrums, other areas are storming ahead.  Twentieth century furniture and design is continuing to grow in popularity (and prices), while jewellery, objet, silver and watches remain strong.  Victorian art is still a little out of favour, but we have achieved some excellent prices – particularly for renowned local artists; an evocative winter scene by Thomas Smythe (1825-1906) sold for £4,600 in September. The Chinese market has barely abated despite all warnings to the contrary. In fact, our highest price of 2016 was £42,000 for a Chinese enamel glazed plaque by Xu Zhongnam, one of 'The Eight Friends of Zhushan' art group. 

We have sold several large single-owner collections through our auctions this year, including Devonware Pottery, Vintage Costume, Vesta Cases, and Beatrix Potter first editions (in this the 150th anniversary of her birth).  We also sold a collection of Matchbox Models from the estate of Suffolk born James Walter Peck who worked for Lesney Products Co Ltd in their 1950s heyday.  A goldmine for Matchbox collectors, it included many prototype, pre-production and colour trial variants of various models, with some unlisted and unseen ideas and trial models which Lesney considered releasing.   Overall, the market for toys shows no sign of slowing down; in fact we held an extra sale in June due to unprecedented demand from buyers and sellers.

One of our more unusual consignments was a collection of pub sign designs by artist George Taylor. Taylor worked for local brewery Greene King and his work has hung around Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages for many years.   Local newspapers as well as unusual art (& pub) enthusiasts recognised that this was a real opportunity to own a piece of art which is rapidly vanishing from our streets.

Legally, we have been watching the debate regarding the sale of ivory with bated breath.  The CITES (Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species) conference began in September and we await the outcome with interest. This is an emotive issue with many salient points.  While none of us wants to see the continued destruction of elephants and rhinos, we certainly don't want to hasten their demise with ill-considered laws which may push the trade underground and into the arms of illegal poachers.  We also wouldn’t want to see the destruction of beautiful antiques such as the beautiful 17th century relief carving by Paul Heermann which sold for £9,200 in our June Fine Art sale.

The year ended with our triple auction event comprising Coins, Medals & Militaria, Wine, Port & Spirits, and Fine Art & Antiques auctions.  These included a WWI medal group for Frederick Henry Thorndyke which sold for £10,000. Thorndyke was awarded the DCM after taking control of his battalion during the Battle of Amiens after all the officers had been killed. We also sold the MBE awarded to eccentric Cambridge fundraiser Walter ‘Snowy’ Farr, who collected funds for various charities with the aid of a menagerie of animals, a converted ice cream van and a very distinctive look! His MBE sold for £620 and will be donated to the Folk Museum of Cambridge, with Lacy Scott & Knight donating all proceeds from the sale to the Guide Dogs for the Blind association.

The Christmas alcohol sale included several cases of Chateau Lafite Rothschild from the cellars of Rushbrooke Estate (one of which sold for £4,300), amongst other fine and table wines, port and spirits.  After selling 24 bottles of Macallan Royal Marriage single malt whiskies for £1500 each last year, we were glad to accept another consignment this year of 12 bottles. However, this year they sold for £2,220 & £2,400 each, proving that whisky is a very good investment choice at the moment.

Our final sale of the year was Fine Art & Antiques - and it was a cracker! Out of many excellent prices (all on our website), there were a few real stand-out lots. For example, a collection of amber necklaces sold for £25,000 (one alone made £8,400), and a pair of Meissen bird figures made £3,800. However, pre-sale interest made it clear that a rare 1960s Rolex Oyster Perpetual Submariner bracelet watch was the one to watch (pardon the pun), we certainly didn’t expect it to achieve £25,000!.

Overall, it’s been a very good year and there’s plenty to look forward to in 2017 – we hope that you will join us!


 

 
The Forge, Burnt House Lane, Battisford
The Forge
Dating from the 17th Century The Forge is a Grade II Listed detached thatched cottage standing in a tucked away edge of village location within the Mid Suffolk village of Battisford.
 
A typical “chocolate box” Suffolk cottage with colour washed elevations the accommodation is set out in a four cell style with kitchen, dining room, living room and study/bedroom 3 on the ground floor.  Other accommodation includes a utility room, and a spacious w.c. facility where a shower cubicle could also be installed.  There are two first floor double bedrooms together with bathroom and large separate shower room.
 
The separate annexe, which stands in its own screened plot, has recently been constructed in a barn style, with a feature open plan living room/kitchen with green oak timbers and a vaulted ceiling.  Constructed to a high specification the accommodation includes a ground floor double bedroom with large en suite wet room, and an additional bedroom on the first floor with shower room.  The annexe has consent for holiday lets, and provides approximately 1,000 sq.ft. of accommodation additional to the main house.
 
Outside
The house has a private driveway approached from the rear to a large gravelled parking and turning area, which also leads to the garage and workshop (35’ x 20’ overall).  The workshop area still retains the former forge.  Additional outbuildings include a brick built wash house which retains its copper, coal and wood store, a modern greenhouse, and a good quality summer house which has been utilised as home office.

The property stands in an overall plot of approximately 0.6 acres (sts), with an attractive garden area largely to the front of the property which includes lawns, cherry and apple trees, planted borders and an attractive patio area and ornamental fish pond.

Location
Burnt House Lane is on the eastern outskirts of the Mid Suffolk village of Battisford which is approximately 4 miles south of Stowmarket.  There is a nearby playing field, and public house in the village centre, with further facilities and amenities available in either Stowmarket or Needham Market 4 miles.
 
Stowmarket rail station provides a main line commuter service to London Liverpool Street and the county town of Ipswich is approximately 10 mile distant.

For more information or to arrange a viewing please call us on 01449 612384.

 

Stowmarket Hornets
Stowmarket Hornets (Under 11’s) travelled to Cliff Lane, Ipswich on Sunday for their lunchtime fixture with Ipswich and Suffolk Youth League rivals Ipswich Valley Rangers.  The Hornets were looking for a fourth win in a row, but on a very chilly day suffered a 4-1 defeat against a strong home side.

Before the game the players got together for a team photograph to show off their new kit which has been sponsored by Stowmarket Estate Agents and Chartered Surveyors, Lacy Scott & Knight.  Hopefully Sunday’s loss will only be a temporary setback, and they will soon be back on the winning trail.
Floors
During a recent inspection and report by our Surveyor Chris Philpot, he was interested to find that neither the previous tenant, nor the landlord, nor the potential purchaser knew of a problem with the floors which was quickly apparent to those with experience.
 
A small proportion of 1920s and 1930s properties were built with floors of boards laid onto a concrete screed, but without the benefits of modern damp proofing materials.  As a result the floorboards warp and eventually become loose.
 
Thick carpets can disguise the problem, but it does not appear to be in any text books, but nevertheless is found by a relatively regular basis around the Suffolk area.  Rectifying the problem is quite expensive and disruptive, proving that cost of a survey would be money well spent.
 
For more information on surveying and our services, please contact Chris Philpot on 01449 612384 or email cphilpot@lsk.co.uk.
Basic Payment Scheme Calculations
The Euro exchange rate has been set for calculating 2016 Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) payments.
BPS payments for England are set in Euros and then converted into sterling and the rate, an average of the European Central Bank exchange rates set in September, will be €1 = £0.85228. The previous year’s exchange rate for 2015 BPS was €1 = £0.73129. The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) will make full payments on 2016 BPS claims from the opening of the payment window in December. We will update you of the payment rate per acre when it becomes available to us.

The improved exchange rate will be welcomed and will help cushion the blow for the many farmers who will see their support payments fall as part of the transition from the previous historic basis of support to the new flat rate based BPS. This will be important given that farm incomes have been under immense pressure as a result of difficult market conditions over the past 18 months.

If you would like to discuss this topic or need advice on Basic Payment Scheme calculations please contact Graham Ford on 01284 748634 or email gford@lsk.co.uk.
 
The Great Ivory Debate
No doubt if you are interested in, or trade in, antiques, you will be aware that there is currently a far-reaching and emotive debate taking place regarding the sale of ivory. For centuries, ivory has been used to produce items currently traded as antiques such as piano keys, teapot finials, chess pieces, furniture inlays and carved artworks.  Particularly in the East, ivory has great religious significance to many cultures. Because ivory is a natural organic material which is also virtually indestructible, ivory has been viewed as having mystical powers that could only be attributed to a deity.  But the shocking demise of elephants and rhinoceros, and other species in the wild, means that we need to take stock of what our desire for ivory is doing to the natural world.
 
The current UN law (passed 1989) in the trade of ivory states that items must be ‘worked’ and to have been produced pre-1947.  This was primarily intended to save elephants, but the result has often been counterproductive because restricting supply in a time of increasing wealth in Asia (the largest market for ivory) has driven up prices.  There is also some confusion under the current law as to what constitutes ‘worked’; in February four London dealers were forced to destroy silver figures of Beefeaters with carved ivory faces and ivory finials on silver teapots at an antiques fair in Miami. While further uncertainty is attached to the date issue; until very recently traders could decide for themselves if the items were pre-1947, but were not required to provide documentary proof of age.

This grey area has proved tricky for reputable auction houses and antiques dealers to navigate.  For example, as it stands, we will sell Japanese Meiji period okimono and netsukes because they have been ‘worked’ (i.e. thoroughly carved and no longer resemble their original form), and they are pre-1947.  However, partly due to restrictions, the lucrative trade in ivory means that recently carved items have entered the market and it can be difficult to ascertain their true age.  Likewise, items such as carved tusks are not necessarily considered ‘worked’ because they are still quite clearly tusks.   In these situations auction houses such as ours err on the side of caution and will not accept them for sale.
 
On the back of this, there is the ongoing mass slaughter of elephants and rhinoceros.  The numbers are truly appalling.   According to Save The Elephants “an estimated 100,000 elephants were killed for their ivory in Africa between 2010 and 2012”.  A study by Great Elephant Census states that “the population of savannah elephants declined by 30% between 2007 and 2014”. It is clear that something needs to be done if we want elephants to exist for future generations.  
 
However, the main impetus appears to be to reduce demand, rather than supply.  Aside from its aesthetic value, ivory is prized in many parts of Asia as a status symbol, investment, and is used in the production of drugs.  There are concerns that an imminent outright ban could speed up the massacre of elephants and make illegal poaching and trade even more lucrative as it is forced underground.  Organised crime currently drives the ivory industry, and they will be the main beneficiaries if legal markets are closed down.  A lesser evil, but an interesting comparison is alcohol prohibition in America – Americans kept drinking and only bootleggers and gangsters benefitted.  There is also the fact that some poor communities, mainly in sub-Saharan Africa, rely on poaching as their only means of survival. Nonetheless, legal traders will also be adversely affected by an outright ban.  A LAPADA (London and Provincial Antique Dealers Association) spokesperson estimates that approx. 350 of their members would go out of business if a complete ban was enforced.  This is without even considering the countless, sometimes centuries old, works of art and antiques which could no longer be traded and may actually be destroyed. 
 
There are many salient points on both sides, and while none of us wants to see the continued destruction of elephants and rhinos, we certainly don’t want to hasten their demise with ill-considered laws. The CITES (Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species) conference began on 24th September, and members will vote on the closure of domestic ivory markets, which several countries oppose, including Japan, Namibia and South Africa.   Whatever the outcome, we all welcome clarity in the law and hope that this issue can be resolved satisfactorily.
Housing and Planning Act 2016
The Housing and Planning Act 2016 has now received Royal Ascent. Although there is much detail to follow we have picked aspects of the Act that may impact landowners with potential residential development land.
 
Permission in Principle (PiP)
There is the introduction of Permission in Principle (PiP) where Local Authorities will theoretically identify land which in principle can be developed subject to the scale of development.  For land to qualify for Permission in Principle it will need to meet the relevant Local Authority criteria and Technical Details Consent will still be required to obtain a planning permission.
 
Resolving disputes over planning obligations
The Act introduces legislation relating to the Resolution of Disputes about planning obligations/Section 106 Agreements.  There will be a timetable agreed for outstanding issues on Section 106 Agreements to be determined and where necessary an independent person will be appointed to determine the final terms of the Section 106 Agreement to prevent delays in determination of planning permission.
 
Starter Homes
Local Authorities must promote the supply of starter homes which are likely to be new dwellings or conversions available to purchase for qualifying first time buyers only.  Starter homes will be sold at a discount of at least 20% of the Market Value and to be sold at less than a price cap £250,000 (outside of London).  It is likely that starter homes will be subject to a number of restrictions although the details are not clear. Restrictions may including a period within which, if the dwelling is resold, a discount should still apply and possibly a requirement to sell to another qualifying buyer.
 
Self-Build and Custom house building
Local Authorities would be required to maintain a register of people interested in self-build and custom build housing.  The level of demand for this type of development land will be monitored as a result of the number of registrations and this will inform the Local Authorities on the need for this type of housing when preparing their Strategic Housing Market Assessment.  This infers that ultimately there will need to be provision of self-build and custom build plots which equates to the number of people on the register. Ultimately this may create an opportunity to identify and allocate land for this type of development. In other words if you would like a self-build plot get registered and this may lead to the allocation of suitable land.
 
If you would like to discuss any of the topics above please contact Alex Turner on 01284 748614 or email aturner@lsk.co.uk.
A Time to Grow
Over the past 130 years, Lacy Scott & Knight has established itself as one of the East of England’s leading property consultants and fine art auctioneers. With a qualified team of experienced agents and valuers operating in the residential, commercial, rural and antique and collectables sectors, they provide a range of bespoke services that are focused on the needs of their clients. Senior Partner, Chris Philpot, looks to the future....

We have a diverse and dynamic business and when planning the different sections of our new publication we came to appreciate our many facets and how well we integrate and complement each other.

It shows we are not simply estate agents selling houses, although that is of course one of the most obvious profiles, but also you will see how we offer advice over a variety of property types and how the Auction Centre has become one of the most significant sale rooms outside London.

It is pleasing that we have such an active agricultural department in this farming community, and that we can assist on many aspects of advice in an environment that is becoming increasingly bound up with regulations and red tape.

We always think laterally to ensure we are cross-selling our skills and knowledge to bene t our clients. We constantly look at the bigger picture, working to obtain the best results. We recently launched our new website to improve our online presence.  The site presents our full-service offering, our background and people. It also gives you the opportunity to keep in touch by signing up to our e-newsletters and auction catalogues or following us on social media.

If you have not seen a copy of the aforementioned publication do get in touch to request a copy.  It's top class presentation, which is timed to launch with the new website, and reflects a lot of very hard work both within, and outside, Lacy Scott and Knight, for which I am very grateful.

Chris Philpot
Senior Partner
01449 612384
cphilpot@lsk.co.uk

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