One of the UK’s largest ever receivership appointments for Watling Real Estate

Watling Real Estate has been appointed on one of the UK’s largest ever receivership appointments.

The Dissington Estate is a 2,500 acre agricultural estate and includes three large farms, three farm smallholdings, neighbouring woodland, a fishing pond and a number of residential properties in Northumberland, around nine miles north-west of Newcastle.

Andrew Foster, joint receiver and managing director at Watling Real Estate’s Leeds office, said: “The Dissington Estate extends to a total of some 2,523 acres, which is one of the largest ever – if not the largest ever – receivership appointments ever to have been made in the UK.

“We will now be taking control of the land and undertaking a detailed fact-finding operation, assessing all disposal options and implementing the optimum strategy to realise best value.

“This could be an outright sale of the whole property, or we may well end up splitting the estate into various lots to maximise its value.”

Mr Foster explained that Watling Real Estate had detailed experience of working on such large estates, delivering value for “challenged” sites through development deals.

One example recently saw the receivers complete a joint venture with regeneration specialist Hargreaves Land on a 550-acre plot of land at the Lincolnshire Lakes site in Gunness, near Scunthorpe.

This has resulted in plans for a major sustainable mixed-use scheme which is set to include thousands of new homes alongside potential for high-value employment, community and leisure space.

Mr Foster said: “What we’re seeing across the property marketplace is a fall of some 25% in capital values since June last year, a situation exacerbated by challenges in the UK’s macro economy with large interest rate rises.

“As a result, we’re experiencing a sudden climb in distressed case as lenders take a more proactive approach to dealing with challenged loans.

“It is in that context that we successfully handled the disposal of the Lincolnshire Lakes site, working closely with the local authorities involved to generate real value.

“We will be putting this and our other extensive experience on similar estates to use in our appraisal of the Dissington Estate.”

The Dissington Estate, situated between the settlements of Ponteland to the east and Stamfordham to the west, includes more than 1,884 acres of arable land and 469 acres of pasture.

The majority is currently let out as working farms on 1986 Agricultural Holdings Act tenancies, with a smaller amount let on Farm Business Tenancies.

The estate also contains a fishing pond let to a local angling club, various let residential properties, plus some 151 acres of in-hand woodland dispersed around the estate.

The residential dwellings have a total area of 27,233 sq ft and come with a wide assortment of neighbouring barns, stables, workshops, storage rooms and other outbuildings totalling another 115,000 sq ft across the estate.

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Editors’ Notes

Watling Real Estate was created on 1 June 2023 by a management buyout of the real estate restructuring division of Avison Young. The business is headquartered in London with a network of offices in Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds and Bristol, providing national coverage with the benefit of local and regional expertise.  It has a team of 20+ professionals offering a multi-disciplinary real estate advisory business and will immediately become one of the UK’s largest real estate restructuring consultancies.

The team, originally part of the GVA business and more recently Avison Young post-merger in 2019, is one of the most highly regarded and experienced real estate advisors operating within the restructuring and recovery marketplace. Over the past decade, the team has advised or transacted on real estate with a total value of over £11 billion, having worked on some of the most significant real estate restructuring projects in the UK.

Watling Real Estate is backed by Bassi Capital, a private family office with extensive core investments in the real estate sector including publicly listed companies, private limited companies, and joint partnerships.

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