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Knight Frank head appointed by Rural Solutions

Written by Peter Davison on .

James Del MarJames Del MarRural planning and advisory firm Rural Solutions has attracted one of the country’s foremost estate and rural property advisors to their board.

James Del Mar joins Rural Solutions as executive director at a time when forward-thinking rural businesses are looking hard at the future in light of the current economic climate.

Having worked in rural planning and development for more than 25 years, James joins Rural Solutions from Knight Frank, where he was Head of Rural Consultancy for the past eight years.

James says he decided to join Rural Solutions to become part of an organisation that is solely focused on rural diversification and strategic development.

The 47-year-old has extensive experience of rural property management and consultancy, having specialised in enhancing capital and revenue positions, strategic planning and compulsory purchase issues for most of his career.

He has a strong background in restructuring private estates across the UK, meaning he is ideally placed to enhance Rural Solutions senior management team, executive directors William Fry and Rob Hindle and Chairman Mark Hancock.
James, who lives in Wiltshire, joins the 35-strong team from September and will take the lead on developing a second Rural Solutions professional hub.

He said: “My move to Rural Solutions is in direct response to wanting to be with a dedicated rural property and business advisory team.

“Rural Solutions is the only UK rural professional service provider which focusses exclusively on rural business ownership, operation, development strategy and diversification.

“Their commitment to this area of business provides a level of focus and knowledge unrivalled in the rural sector.”

Whilst at Knight Frank, James had cause to work directly with the Rural Solutions team on a number of projects. He added: “I was always hugely impressed by the professionalism, enthusiasm and knowledge of the Rural Solutions team - they always delivered.

“I completely share Rural Solutions’ positivity about, and commitment to, the future of Rural Britain and look forward to supporting rural landowners in capitalising on the unique conditions which face the rural sector at present.
“I am delighted to be joining a company committed to a forward-thinking approach to helping rural business, with a focus on strategy, development and diversification”.

James is a member of the RICS Rural Professional Group Board and of the National Trust's Commercial Advisory Group. He is a RICS chairman assessor and mentor and, was one of the youngest members to be appointed a Fellow of the Institution.

He was head-hunted to join Knight Frank in 2005 and became Department Head in 2009. He established and led Knight Frank's HS2 team advising over 400 affected land and home owners.

He has also advised The National Trust, London Borough of Enfield, The Guernsey Government, Cancer Research UK, HSBC Private Bank and Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, alongside an extensive number of high profile private clients.

William Fry, managing director of Rural Solutions, said: “James brings a wealth of experience to our estate strategy work and will allow us to help our clients across the UK better shape, not just their approach to development, but also their thinking around business ownership, planning and structure.

“We have worked with James for a number of years and he is well known to many of our clients. Having him join our board is a logical development for the business and will further bolster the Rural Solutions’ offering.

“It is also part of Rural Solutions’ commitment to strengthen its business ownership and development strategy team, while expanding the strategic advisory offering to its clients.

“The opportunities open to rural businesses with a readiness to invest and a willingness to change to meet growing consumer demand are significant. Adding James to the Rural Solutions team is our way of further investing in our capabilities to help our clients meet this incredibly exciting challenge.”

Rural Solutions provides planning and development support and advice to large land and estate owners to help them adapt and develop their estates.

They advise and support clients diversifying from traditional land management, such as agriculture and forestry, to commercial enterprises with a business, leisure, residential or tourism focus and recently launched a white paper, Positive Asset Management in a Changing Rural Economy.

In the new white paper, Rural Solutions articulates its vision for Positive Asset Management to ‘future-proof’ rural land and property assets. The authors urge landowners to plan positively to ensure long-term preservation and success.