Gloucestershire law firm Willans LLP has boosted its capability with the appointment of specialist rural affairs lawyer, Frank Smith. Frank is a nationally-recognised expert in agricultural, rural and equine matters. He is working closely with colleagues in Willans’ Cheltenham-based commercial and private client services to provide authoritative legal advice to farmers, landowners, those buying prime agricultural property, equestrian businesses and farming partnerships. Frank’s diverse portfolio ranges from the recent purchase of several large areas of prime agricultural land for farming clients, with and without agricultural tenants, and sales and purchases of a number of fine country houses in the region.Frank Smith said: "Despite the general economic downturn, it seems that the lack of supply will continue to underpin rising values and lucrative sales of agricultural land. While the residential market has been volatile in recent times, agricultural property has enjoyed a steady increase in price. The lack of supply and sheer demand means agricultural land values have soared."By the end of 2011, land value in England had risen by 11 per cent on the previous year to an average price of almost £6,000 per acre. Some sales have outstripped the average, with smaller plots of land valued at the £11,000 per acre mark. "Sale of land in Herefordshire last summer hit a record high when an 83.81 acre block sold for £928,000 (£11,072 per acre). Even more remarkable was the sale of a 238-acre farm near Aylesbury, which sold for nearly £1m more than the £3.2m asking price."This is good news for owners wanting to sell, though good quality agricultural land only comes onto the market sporadically. Still, fierce competition is sure to send land values soaring still higher."