Having graduated from Newcastle University with a BSc (Hons) in Agricultural Business Management I joined Townsend Chartered Surveyors in the summer of 2015.

Building from the knowledge I had gained from my degree programme and my time working on a farm in the Exmoor National Park I quickly became involved with the day to day activities of a Land Agent.  From an early stage I was given responsibility to work independently, directly with clients whilst receiving support from a senior partner.  My responsibilities were wide ranging and included heading up the trading of entitlements across Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.  This involved communicating with land owners and agents across the UK to negotiate the purchase and sale of entitlements.

Additionally I assisted with various valuations including: for a Trustee of a SIPP pension, woodland and standing timber for Capital Gains Tax calculations, agricultural land for probate calculations and marketing report valuations.

During the spring period I was responsible for the preparation and submission of Basic Payment Scheme claims for a range of our management clients, for whom I acted as the first point of contact and dealt with on a daily basis.

Other areas of work I have enjoyed included assisting with the management of an estate in Hereford, providing advice on planning applications for the development of agricultural buildings and the construction of a new access, assisting with the sale of land and woodland and letting a farmhouse.

Alongside my full-time work at Townsend Chartered Surveyors I was given time to undertake a part-time Postgraduate degree in Rural Estate and Land Management at Harper Adams.  As my undergraduate degree had not been accredited by the RICS this was necessary to enrol onto the Rural RICS APC pathway and to commence a structured training programme with the goal of graduating by the Summer of 2017, and then working towards the APC.  Studying in this manner alongside work, although challenging, helped me to develop the skills and knowledge required to progress with being a qualified Chartered Surveyor.  I graduated from Harper Adams with an RICS accredited PgDip REALM in the summer of 2017.

In addition to postgraduate studies I have been able to go to various social events and revision days, including the CAAV national written tutorial at The Royal Agricultural University.  This event was particularly valuable as it provided an indication of the level of knowledge required to pass the CAAV exams and demonstrated knowledge gaps.

During my time at Townsend Chartered Surveyors I have become heavily involved with the claiming of agricultural subsidies on common land.  This area of work has been particularly rewarding and has contributed to the firm becoming an authority on common land issues, specifically in relation to the administration of the Single Farm Payment and Basic Payment Schemes .  This work has led to the creation of the Commons Network – a group of commoners who we represent in relation to communicating with the Rural Payments Agency and other regulatory bodies.  The complexities of claiming subsidies on commons has created a great number of issues for claimants, particularly of late and having an opportunity to explore these whilst researching and writing the ‘Commons in England’ chapter of the UK BPS Entitlements User Guide was very satisfying.

The range of experience I have enjoyed over the last two years has confirmed the areas of work I am particularly interested in and wish to continue with in the future.

Dominic Rees joined Bruton Knowles as a Trainee Land Rights Specialist.

Dominic Rees

Dominic Rees