ASC Success Story
A barn-storming deal!!!
When Carl Scott approached his financial adviser Claire Smith of SFM Mortgages Ltd in Ipswich in March 2009 he was quite despondent, having already tried his own and several other banks unsuccessfully to raise finance to develop land and buildings at his 16th Century Grade 2 listed farmhouse in the heart of rural Suffolk. His property includes a 300-year old Grade 2 listed granary barn of particular historical interest and an existing camp site on which Carl planned to erect 5 more eco-friendly barn-style units to create a holiday let complex. Claire suggested he speak to David Hall at ASC Norfolk & Suffolk.
The Granary Barn previously had permission for use as a holiday let, but this had lapsed and the barn still needed complete renovation and conversion. As Carl wanted to run the whole complex himself once completed and had experience of similar period property renovation projects and a successful property letting track record, David urged Carl to prepare a detailed business plan and financial projections, which were to run in tandem with an “in principle” agreement he had received for a grant to cover 50% of the funding from the local Rural Development Agency. While Carl continued to pursue the two planning applications for the barn and the land, David presented the case to ASC’s panel of lenders to try and attract some interest in the proposition.
Frustratingly several lenders showed strong interest and support locally, only to have the application declined once it was fully assessed by their centrally-based underwriters. They clearly didn’t appreciate the potential of the business situated as it is, right on the Suffolk Tourist Trail, and the fact that it had the support of his local MP and Council Leader who, along with East of England Tourism, felt it should generate up to half a million pounds of annual revenue for the region as a boost for other trades and businesses.
Not one to give up easily, David’s persistence finally paid off and he managed to find a lender who, unlike most these days, had some local discretion to agree lending themselves at the levels Carl needed. They understood the benefits of the venture and its green credentials, but as a condition needed the planning in place first. This proved to be extremely problematic and time-consuming however after much debate the plans were finally approved. A few weeks later, and nearly 2 years after originally seeing David, the funding was released. The barn is now completed and receiving bookings, with the remaining 5 units to be developed over the rest of this year.
Carl says; “Having been introduced to David about two years ago, I have been impressed by the sheer determination with which he worked on my behalf. Having fought to secure funding for half the development costs, we thought it was going to be fairly easy to gain support, but this was not the case. I have thrown everything into this project in order to create a boost for tourism in the region, and David just kept on until we struck gold. It is simple; if it wasn't for the strength of David's reputation and relationships with the lenders and his tenacity this would not be happening.”
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