Rural and agricultural solicitor Andrew Williamson says that the agricultural sector is facing a period of uncertainty, with the draft Agriculture Bill expected to considerably change the shape of farming and agriculture.
Consequently market activity is low until there is greater certainty on markets generally and farming in specifi cally. ‘However, there are pockets of activity with the right land still commanding high prices,’ he tells Spear’s.
Williamson read Land Economy at the University of Cambridge, followed by a stint in the Civil Service, before he joined Taylor Vinters as a trainee solicitor.
He has been at the fi rm ever since, making partner in 2017, and acts for landowners to help them with all the issues that owning agricultural land presents – from purchases and sales, to tenancy issues and securely passing land down to the next generation. He is highly regarded by clients, who fi nd him effi cient and personable.
Taylor Vinters was created by a merger of Taylors and Vinters in 1988, with both fi rms having had a deep-rooted history of working with HNWs, in particular those with large landed estates, as well as entrepreneurial businesses in Cambridge. Despite the diffi cult market conditions, Taylor Vinters has generated its highest level of turnover to date, Williamson says.
HNW clients vary greatly from long-established land owning families to individuals who have recently purchased estates in the country. The common thread is that they are all entrepreneurs and innovators. ‘They want to use their land to do interesting things, to diversify, to try something new,’ Williamson explains.
When not practising law, he plays guitar in the Taylor Vinters house band, which competes every year at the Law Rocks event, to raise money for charitable causes. ‘You can often fi nd me launching into a guitar solo with my band, either at a beer festival, a party or, later in the year, performing at The Scala in London,’ he says.
One highlight of 2019 was assisting a family to move back to a farm 20 years after they were forced to leave it for a small house following a divorce. ‘The daughter, who has since grown up, decided to jointly purchase a replacement farm with her mother,’ he says. ‘They scraped together funds and, with the help of a team of mortgage advisers, bankers and myself, we managed to complete the purchase of a beautiful farmhouse, where they will certainly feel at home.’