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“They’re not making it any more” Mark Twain famously said of land, but recent actions of Roythornes Solicitors in Spalding, Lincolnshire have led some people to question the truth of those famous words.
The Ordnance Survey, at the request of Roythornes Partner Simeon Disley, has just completed a survey of the coastline of The Wash which has revealed that approximately 3,000 acres of additional land has attached to Lincolnshire and Norfolk in recent years.
Speaking about the news, Simeon who is part of Roythornes’ large agricultural property team said:
“I was registering the ownership of the Outmarsh (the area above the average high tide mark, which is the starting point of land) for a number of adjacent landowners. During this I found out that measurements on which the Ordnance Survey maps for the area were prepared were mainly some 30 to 50 years old”
It is well known locally that the features of The Wash change quickly, so Simeon asked the Ordnance Survey if they would resurvey the coastline of The Wash.
Whilst the Ordnance Survey were very helpful, they requested sufficient evidence that changes had taken place before committing to the re-surveying exercise.
Simeon then spoke to a number of farmers whose land abuts The Wash to collect evidence of this and then presented this to the Ordnance Survey.
Simeon said: “One example was Bryan Bowles of Wrangle who told me that in the Queen’s Silver Jubilee year (1977) he had put a stake into the Outmarsh at the then boundary with the sea and every year since then on average the Outmarsh had increased in height by one inch, producing additional land.”
The Ordnance Survey reviewed the evidence supplied by Roythornes and agreed to re-survey the coastline of The Wash. It took 2 years for the process to be completed.
Simeon then asked Land Agents and Consultants Brown & Co of Spalding to analyse the new maps to assess the extent of the additional accumulated new land. Mark Wheeler of Brown & Co said “an initial estimate indicates there will be over 3,000 acres of additional land on the Lincolnshire and Norfolk coasts in The Wash.”
Mark continued: “For some people this will be a significant land area and could be useful to a business in a number of ways. It is likely the additional land will have some value should it be sold; could be eligible for Single Payment or inclusion within an Environmental Scheme, subject to certain conditions being met. Land might also be available to assist in offsetting the impact of proposed new “greening” measures under CAP Reform.”
And do the words of Mark Twain still hold true?
“My view is that his words are still true” said Simeon. “The new Survey has evidenced that Mother Nature has redistributed existing land from other areas such as the Yorkshire coast down to The Wash rather than the creation of new land. Yorkshire farmers are well known for their generosity so I’m sure they will not begrudge their Lincolnshire and Norfolk counterparts a few acres!”