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Interim dividend paid

March 2021

In the previous year, given the huge uncertainties surrounding the impact of COVID-19, and in common with very many businesses, the board felt it was prudent not to recommend…

Interim dividend paid
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Interim dividend paid

March 2021

In the previous year, given the huge uncertainties surrounding the impact of COVID-19, and in common with very many businesses, the board felt it was prudent not to recommend the payment of a dividend. A year on, having successfully navigated 2020, and with growing confidence on an end to the worst of the pandemic, we now consider that it is appropriate to recommence dividend payments. Accordingly, we have paid an interim dividend of £0.25p per share to make up for the payment missed last year and this has been paid in the tax year 2020/21, on the 31 March 2021.

Further information on future distributions will be available in the Report and Financial statements for the year ended 31 December 2020 when they are released to shareholders.

PFK Director Steps Down

March 2021 News

John Wilson, who has made a huge contribution to PFK since his appointment four years ago, resigned as a Director of the Company on 19 February 2021. John commented: “It…

PFK Director Steps Down
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PFK Director Steps Down

March 2021 News

John Wilson, who has made a huge contribution to PFK since his appointment four years ago, resigned as a Director of the Company on 19 February 2021.

John commented:

“It is with a heavy heart I leave PFK but I feel it is the right time to do so. I think the Company is in a good position with a strong board which now includes more very capable executive directors than previously. I believe that the Company is in very safe hands and well placed to face the post Covid world.

I’d like to thank all my colleagues and especially the excellent staff who have made me so welcome.”

The Board wish to thank John for his hard work and contribution to the Company throughout his time as a non-executive Director and wish him all the very best for the future.

Company Update

September 2020 News

PFK, the multi-disciplinary professional practice and property business has announced pre-tax profit of £60k in its interim results for the 6 months ended 30th June 2020. The housing…

Company Update
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Company Update

September 2020 News

PFK, the multi-disciplinary professional practice and property business has announced pre-tax profit of £60k in its interim results for the 6 months ended 30th June 2020.

The housing market started the year positively but, of course, the group’s performance was impacted significantly by the truly unprecedented implications of the Covid-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, PFK traded profitably during the first half of the year and is in a strong financial and operational position to deal with any more adverse pandemic effects. The benefits of PFK’s multi-disciplinary practice have also been apparent as Land Agency and Planning were able to operate “normally” with no staff or small numbers of staff furloughed and both traded very well.

The national lockdown on 23rd March saw PFK’s group Estate Agency network close temporarily for 2 months and the housing market come to a standstill overnight. With virtually no transactional business during lockdown, house sales (exchanges) for the half year were significantly below the comparative period in 2019.

There were also a number of board changes as previous Managing Director, Stephen Lancaster, resigned in March and previous Head of Planning, Rachel Lightfoot left in July 2020. Andrew Green was appointed as Managing Director and PFK’s Heads of Finance and Estate Agency also strengthened the board, respectively Joseph Webb and Lynne Lancaster. Chair, John Rowlands, stepped into an executive role for a time and other non-executive directors all stepped in extensively to help the business through this period.

During lockdown PFK furloughed the majority of estate agency workers under Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and immediately transitioned its remaining workforce to full remote working. Whilst already operating digitally, the new methods of working (including virtual viewings, more videos of properties etc) utilise technology to an even greater extent. PFK also rapidly began planning for recovery to ensure a swift and safe return to operations as soon as the housing market restarted ensuring stringent health and safety protocols were in place and all branches and corporate office made Covid-19 secure.

Managing Director, Andrew Green said:

“The majority of our management team have been with us for many years with exposure to all types of markets in the past, but this unexpected public health crisis is incomparable to anything else. However, swift and decisive action and the implementation of cost saving measures has meant that we have so far navigated effectively through the crisis and I think are well positioned for the future.”

Head of Estate Agency, Lynne Lancaster adds:

“We prioritise people at all times be it our colleagues, customers, suppliers ensuring their health, safety and wellbeing minimising impact on them and delivering continuity of service. We are incredibly proud of how our people have dealt with this changing and fast paced situation demonstrating their resilience, professionalism and fortitude in the face of adversity and the quality of our response.”

After lockdown ended, PFK saw a very significant recovery in the housing market and this has continued through the summer. Compared with the same period last year recent trading in July shows new applicant registrations are up with significant interest from out of area buyers. Home owners continue to show desire to re-enter the market with market appraisal activity increasing and new instructions the highest the market has seen in recent years. The Chancellor’s stamp duty land tax holiday has also provided further impetus to the market.

PFK has also reviewed the operating model and has decided to close the physical offices in Whitehaven and Kirkby Stephen which are now digitally serviced from centres in Cockermouth (covering all of West Cumbria) and Penrith (covering Penrith and the Eden Valley) respectively.

In line with national trends footfall into our high street premises has reduced significantly in recent years with customers preferring to access our services digitally. With this in mind PFK are also taking the opportunity to relocate the City centre Carlisle estate agency branch into the Rosehill offices later this year, where access on the edge of the City and near the motorway is easier and there is plentiful car parking for customers.

Land Agency and Planning departments have also traded well during this period with staff operating remotely. David Stout, Head of Land Agency adds:

“We were quickly able to adapt our ways of working to deal with the pandemic and so able continue to look after our clients’ affairs and properties without interruption. It has been a difficult, but also very busy, period for the rural economy which has generally speaking managed to adapt to operate relatively normally.”

Unfortunately, PFK’s Auction Saleroom had undoubtedly suffered as a result of the pandemic in terms of how it operates. In order to concentrate on our core property professional businesses, we have decided to close this non-property business with the result being that the Saleroom has completed its final auction of our customers’ antiques. Sadly, this has led to a number of staff having to be made redundant and we’d like to thank departing colleagues for their input. They will be missed.

Andrew concludes:

“Going into the second half of the year residential property market conditions are much better than we could have hoped for. Additionally, our Land Agency, Surveying and Planning teams are all doing well and, whilst we are mindful of the economic and other risks which the pandemic holds, we are also financially sound, and we think well placed to meet the challenges and take the opportunities which lie ahead. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all our fantastic staff who have seen us through this unprecedented period.”

Rachel Lightfoot

July 2020

Rachel is leaving PFK to pursue other opportunities. We would like to take this opportunity to thank Rachel for her contribution to PFK and to wish her well in her…

Rachel Lightfoot
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Rachel Lightfoot

July 2020

Rachel is leaving PFK to pursue other opportunities. We would like to take this opportunity to thank Rachel for her contribution to PFK and to wish her well in her future career.

AGM Update

June 2020 News

The AGM remains scheduled to take place at 11.00 am on Thursday 25 June 2020 within the Hired Lad, Agricultural Hall, Skirsgill, Penrith, CA11 ODN but unfortunately we have…

AGM Update
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AGM Update

June 2020 News

The AGM remains scheduled to take place at 11.00 am on Thursday 25 June 2020 within the Hired Lad, Agricultural Hall, Skirsgill, Penrith, CA11 ODN but unfortunately we have not reached a point within the Coronavirus crises where we can change the guidance we outlined in our letter to shareholders dated 15 April 2020. Therefore, it remains the case that shareholders will not be permitted to attend this year’s AGM. Any shareholders attempting to gain access to the AGM will be excluded from the meeting on the grounds of public safety.

Shareholders are encouraged to ensure their votes are counted by submitting their proxies in advance. The deadline for receiving proxies is 11am on Tuesday 23 June 2020.

Joseph Webb

Director and Company Secretary

Latest results, Board changes and COVID-19

April 2020 News

PFK has reported to shareholders significant post tax profits of £512,051 for the year ending 31 December 2019, largely due to the disposal of a relatively small part of…

Latest results, Board changes and COVID-19
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Latest results, Board changes and COVID-19

April 2020 News

PFK has reported to shareholders significant post tax profits of £512,051 for the year ending 31 December 2019, largely due to the disposal of a relatively small part of its land at Junction 40.

However, trading was difficult in the majority of the professional businesses operated by the company.

John Rowlands, Chair, adds:

“2019 has been another very difficult and challenging year for the Company. There has been a weakening in the overall UK property market as political and economic uncertainty have impacted confidence across our sectors, in particularly Estate Agency.

One highlight was that, after consideration, we decided to take up an opportunity to sell part of our large strategic site at Junction 40 which placed the company into significant profit, as well as providing significant funds for alternative investments. Another highlight was that we have also made progress regarding our development site at Junction 41, albeit our plans are of course affected, hopefully only temporarily, by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Notwithstanding the significant profits, given the Covid-19 pandemic and related uncertainty, the Board did not feel it was appropriate to declare any dividend at this point in time.”

Board changes are also afoot. Stephen Lancaster is leaving his role as Managing Director to take up a new opportunity, John Rowlands adds:

“Stephen joined PFK around 5 years ago and has played an important role in modernising the Company and enhancing its assets. We would all like to wish him every success in his new role and thank him for his input.

I’m also delighted to announce that Andrew Green, who joined PFK in 2012, and who is a very experienced and well-known property surveyor, has been appointed to our Board as Executive Director. Also, for the time being at least, whilst management options are considered by the board, I have been asked to take the role of Executive Chairman, which I’m happy to do, without any additional remuneration.

I’m also very pleased to announce that Joseph Webb has been promoted and will be joining the Board as Finance Director. Joseph is a Chartered Accountant and joined PFK as Company Accountant in May 2016”

Andrew Green adds: –

“I’m delighted to be joining the Board and think that, despite the Covid-19 pandemic, there are some fantastic opportunities in the market place for PFK. We have excellent professionals and unrivalled local knowledge. From a pure business perspective, we are confident that we will emerge from the lockdown era in a very strong position.”

Joseph Webb commented: –

“Despite the Covid-19 crises, it is an exciting time to be joining the Board. The Company has an extremely strong foundation with an experienced Board of non-executive directors, an entrepreneurial Chair, no debt and money to invest when the right opportunities come along. Significant focus will be placed on the trading operations of the Company, which have performed below expectations in recent years, so that we can emerge from the uncertainties of the current trading environment a stronger and more robust organisation”

PFK’s non-executive directors are: Katie Milbourn, a surveyor and a director of Walby Farm Park; Stephen Dunn, Business Advisor and formerly partner with KPMG; Bernard Wharam, Motor Industry Advisor and Entrepreneur, and John Wilson, Business Advisor, lawyer and Founder of Baines Wilson LLP.

For more information please contact Andrew Green on 01768 862323.

PFK’s response to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

April 2020 News

The Coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdown provisions implemented by the UK government in March 2020 has undoubtedly had a significant impact on our business but we are doing all we…

PFK’s response to Coronavirus (COVID-19)
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PFK’s response to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

April 2020 News

The Coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdown provisions implemented by the UK government in March 2020 has undoubtedly had a significant impact on our business but we are doing all we can to protect not only the Company, but also all of our valued stakeholders.

I, along with the rest of the Board of Directors, wish to express their thanks to all members of PFK staff who have embraced this ever-changing situation with hard-work and determination and a commitment to both protecting the business and developing a plan on how to drive it forward as the future unfolds.

Our 6 branch offices, Sale Room and Professional Services offices in Skirsgill, Penrith and Rosehill, Carlisle were closed to the public in line with government regulations but all departments remain open for enquiries by telephone or email so that we can continue to serve our clients in the most efficient way possible. This method of conducting our business will continue until government advice on the matter changes. We are also in constant communications with our commercial tenants and are supporting them where necessary through this period of uncertainty for their businesses.

Staff who continue to work are following strict health and safety guidelines and are predominately working from home, if possible. Our IT infrastructure allows us to maintain a strong communication link not only between ourselves, but with our clients and other stakeholders. We are also using this period of uncertainty to test new and dynamic ways of working such as online-only auctions from our Sale Room and video valuations and virtual walkthroughs through our Estate Agency branches. These new ideas help to protect income streams in the short-term but also provide us with invaluable information about how our business will inevitably change as we begin to exit from this crisis.

The Company has been pro-active in accessing the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and have furloughed those staff who are unable to work during the various office closures. In addition to this, we have applied for assistance in the form of Business Rates relief for the 2020/2021 period and grants through the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grand Fund (RHLGF).

I want to also take this opportunity to wish all of our stakeholders well and reassure them that I, along with the rest of the Board of Directors, are doing everything we can to maintain the strength of the business and its continued success in to the future.

John Rowlands, Executive Chairman

Planning application for first phase of E41 submitted

February 2020 News

PFK have recently made a planning application for the first phase of infrastructure to support the new business park proposed for Penrith which has been named E41. E41 was granted…

Planning application for first phase of E41 submitted
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Planning application for first phase of E41 submitted

February 2020 News

PFK have recently made a planning application for the first phase of infrastructure to support the new business park proposed for Penrith which has been named E41.

E41 was granted outline planning permission in June 2018 for a major distribution logistics facility, large scale industrial or manufacturing operation or a high-tech office development on the 18.65 acre site by Eden District Council and this application marks a significant step towards its realisation.

The planning application seeks permission to install the access and some initial drainage works to facilitate the wider scheme coming forward and ensuring the site is open for business.

The scheme will support Eden District Council in bringing forward a new business opportunity with excellent transport links and will allow existing businesses to expand as well as provided much needed space for new businesses moving into the area.

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