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Is East Lothian's Rural Economy 'Better Together'?

Chalmers & Co, chartered surveyors, estate agents and architects, are delighted to be a main sponsor of the Haddington Show. Their marquee is shared with co-sponsors Greaves West & Ayre.

Francis Ogilvy, owner of Chalmers & Co, says that East Lothian has many assets:  

“We have beautiful countryside – fertile and varied from the hills to the sea; many handsome houses, cottages, steadings and even castles; a multi-skilled farming workforce; some of the best golf courses in the world; Edinburgh, a tourism magnet, on our doorstep; and history choc-a-bloc with romances, battles and inventions.                                      

“On the other hand our countryside also faces some threats and uncertainties. Less income support for farmers is forecast (CAP reform having recently been confirmed). We see less freedom and more rules.  Land Reform is looming following the publication of the Land Reform Review Group proposals for ‘the common good’. It is believed that reform is necessary but is suggested that the Scottish Government is best suited to decide what is in ‘the public interest’.

“Inheritance tax and rates reliefs for agricultural and business properties are in question. Tenancies for farms and housing are under the microscope and likely to be subject to change.

“There are also opportunities in the rural economy. We’re encouraged to undertake ‘community engagement’; this means more meetings, but perhaps also more understanding as a consequence, and that’s not a bad thing. We see this trend towards more bottom-up decision-making coming from the Land Reform papers, Communities Bill and local planning proposals.

“Who really makes these decisions is open to question, however, as East Lothian’s rural community we can at least try to take a lead and seek to guide our own future.  Is this something for the farming community, perhaps through a re-invigorated Rural Forum to influence a Vision for our Countryside and influence the new East Lothian Development Plan’s Main Issues Report, now not due till the autumn?

“Those of us working in the rural economy need to collaborate and work together to turn these threats into opportunities: ‘better together’ perhaps?”

Francis Ogilvy continues: “Do we make the most of our rural assets? Tourism is not sufficiently branded for East Lothian except for golf and festivals, yet the county – ‘Scotland’s bread basket’ - is so richly blessed with resources.”

Hugh Cope, Holiday Lettings Manager, at Chalmers Cottages a sister company, says: “Our growing Chalmers Cottages website promotes a portfolio of some of the biggest holiday propertiesacross East Lothian, Midlothian and the Borders.

“From our base on ‘Scotland’s Golf Coast’, guests can book accommodation for golfing holidays, and we can help plan golf itineraries and relaxing weekends away. If you own a holiday property, you can promote it for free on our website,,” adds Hugh who you can meet at Chalmers’ marquee which promises to kick off the holiday season.

Teresa Steele, Chalmers & Co’s Lettings Manager, will also be at the Show: “We’re finding the long term lettings market very buoyant and most rental properties are letting quickly. If you’re a landlord who prefers to manage your own properties, you might be interested to hear about our new ‘Chalmers Letting a la Carte’, a pick-and-choose, low cost lettings service.”

Show visitors are invited to call into Chalmers & Co’s marquee overlooking the main ring for some Brodie’s coffee at Chalmers Cafe, a hog roast at lunchtime (12 - 2 pm), or some strawberries and cream. 


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