Meet Kirsten.  Having graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology – State University of New York, Kirsten took the brave move of relocating to the UK to be with her husband.

Eight years in the retail sector then followed, working for such high profile names as Harvey Nichols.  This time provided invaluable experience for Kirsten and made her realise that her true passion was to have her own boutique, specialising in the Bridal sector.

A few months ago, our commercial department was contacted by Kirsten’s husband and a viewing was arranged on a shop which we were marketing, 357 Bury Road.  In short time, Kirsten knew it was the one!

“It was perfect” says Kirsten, “the location on such a busy main road meant that we would have a high profile position to help us build awareness of the business”.

A few weeks later, and plenty of time spent in between coming up with designs and carrying out the refit, and the shop was ready – 7th Avenue Bridal had a home.  Kirsten is over the moon with the end result.  “It is better than I could have expected!  The split level layout means that we can really separate the showroom and fitting area and provide that real VIP feeling when ladies are trying on their dresses”.

The boutique will carry collections from four different designers and now has available the new 2017 dresses, starting from very reasonable prices!

Kirsten is now busy building awareness of the business by as many different means as possible.  “We are hosting a networking event for businesses on 20th December and have invited a whole host of different related businesses along!”.  This will be followed up in the New Year with events for the public so that people can call in and see exactly what is on offer.

And the name?  "It's where my university was located and is also referred to as "Fashion Avenue" in New York.  Also my husband and I initially met in that area of New York City during my first year in university!" Kirsten told us.

We wish Kirsten all the very best in her new venture and were happy to play a very small part in enabling her to get things off the ground.

If you want to speak to Kirsten about what 7th Avenue Bridal can do for you, give her a call on 01204 371177 or visit the web site



I have to hold my hands up now.....we have been so busy with the conversion itself plus work and everything else that goes on in daily life that I have fallen behind with my updates.  I could jump right up to date and tell you where we are at right now, but I think that would be wrong and would miss some critical bits and pieces so I will pick up where I left off instead and please forgive me that I am now going back twelve months or so!!!

And we begin! Demolition and Clearance of Site

Finally!  It’s now August and we can physically start!  Exciting times since we have been researching and completing relevant paperwork since March. The good thing is the weather is warm and sunny and even in its dilapidated state it’s a thing of beauty!  The ground workers have been on site clearing the site and digging the foundations! To our relief they hit clay very early on. Phew!

Concrete Foundations

In they go!  Lovely thick grey foundations!  The breezeblocks also arrived on site.  In the space of a week things seem to be happening really quickly and we are buzzing!

Brick Foundations

The bricks have been laid on the foundations today.  Dare I say it .. it looks a bit small!  I’m reassured by my Dad and my partner it’s big and will look bigger as the walls start to go up.  Mmmm......not too sure?  A huge pile of orange sand has appeared for the concrete slabs.

Slab preparation

The slabs are being prepared for the arrival of the concrete.  Today I’m liking the look of it – feeling better than yesterday!

Concrete Slab

The middle section has been poured today – can’t wait to write our names in it!  The rest get poured tomorrow.

Internal Blockwork

Too excited for words today as the internal walls have appeared!  Now I can start to see the layout.  Is it too early to think about where my sofa is going to go!!!

Scaffolding & External Brickwork

September - scaffolding has gone up on the front elevation thanks to Roy at Rarecrest Scaffolding - 01942 812004.   The builders can start on the elevations of the barn that require further work and the internal walls are getting there!

Nights are getting darker – October

Feeling a bit sorry for myself today as the nights are getting darker and I won’t be able to visit the barn after work much more.  Got there at 6.30pm and it’s come on so much!  Feeling very proud of my fella who has got the physical build to this stage (not sure how he has put up with my impatience!).  See you at the weekend White Willow!

Joists! Steel! Ecstatic!

When there is a buzz of activity, we feel so much better!

The joists have gone in- the steel for the mezzanine floor is in– had my first view out of our bedroom window!  Awesome!!  I can see Winter Hill and Rivington Pike! The roof is being stripped ready for the new one – just one week and so much has happened!  Big push now to get it watertight for Christmas!


People get described in many different ways – “nice”, “caring”, “thoughtful” – and occasionally, you come across someone who is, in addition to all of the above, “a force of nature”.  This is an idiom which is defined online as “a person who is a very strong personality or character - full of energy, unstoppable, unchallengeable, unforgettable. In short, a person to be reckoned with”.

So imagine what it would be like if four “forces of nature” combined………….

Back in late 2015, we were instructed to let a commercial property on Chorley Old Road in Bolton for a Landlord who had been very happy with our services on a previous occasion.  Soon after commencing marketing, we were approached by Ruth, who wanted to arrange a viewing on the property with a view to opening a new start business.  She was looking for a shop to rent in the Bolton area with her three friends, Amy, Laura and Celestine.

The four “Bolton Gals” (“Bolton born and bred and proud of it” said Laura) have been friends for many years.  Although differing in age (but not by much!), they all started working in the hair industry at or around the age of sixteen and have progressed from trainees up to fully fledged stylists.  They have been bridesmaids for each other and have lost count of “who is who” in the God Parents stakes!

“We’ve worked together for years” explained Ruth, “but always for somebody else.  We felt the time had come for us to have a go on our own!”

Having viewed the shop, which was properly kitted out as a kitchen and bathroom showroom (so NOTHING like a hair salon!), the ladies instantly knew it was right for them.

“It was just made for us” said Celestine.  “Although it was a kitchen/bathroom showroom, between us, we had the vision to see what it would be like as our own business with our stamp on it”.

And what a stamp!!  The girls gave themselves (and their partners!!!!) two weeks from signing the lease to be up and running….and they did it!  From a showroom to a veritable visual delight!!  Force of nature?  It was a massive ask but with their combined efforts, the new salon opened on 22nd April.

“And there wasn’t a cross word!” comments Amy, “we just all pulled together and got things done – with a bit of help from our partners and families of course!!”

The salon has been a roaring success so far.  All of their clients moved over with the girls, who offer a full range of hairdressing services from colours to cuts, specialised treatments to wedding hair and even gents styling using Matrix products! 

All in all, quite some feat – remember what we said at the start of this story?  Force of nature!  To start with a blank canvas and have everything you need in place in two weeks is an achievement in anybody’s book!!

Of the service provided by Greenwood James Commercial, the girls said “We can't thank Mark enough for all his advice and help during our journey to opening our new salon!!!! You made the process so much easier.  A big thank you from all the Head Quarters team x”

The shop is open from Tuesday to Saturday so give them a call on 01204 771800 and let one of the four forces of nature take care of your locks!  Or look them up on Facebook :

If you have a commercial property to let or sell in the Bolton area or beyond, give our team a call on 01204 396357.

(pictured above left to right are Celestine, Laura, "our Claire", Ruth and Amy)


Our commercial department was recently contacted by a local charity which supports carers by providing care to those in need of support whilst the carer goes out to work or gets a well deserved break.  They were looking for a retail premises to rent to sell items donated by local people in the Bolton area and Greenwood James Commercial quickly arranged a viewing of a shop which they were marketing, 810 Bury Road in Breightmet.

The shop had recently undergone a full refurbishment by the owners, who had worked in the premises themselves for many years, and was in "walk in" condition, ready for someone to put their own stamp on the building.

By a strange twist of fate, the charity was very close to the heart of one of our team as they provide daily support to a relative who has severe and complex needs.  It was doubly rewarding therefore to be able to help and find them the right spot for their new venture.

After the necessary fit-out works, the shop in support of Bolton Carers was recently officially opened by Cllr Lynda Byrne, the Mayor of Bolton.

Councillor Byrne cut the ribbon that formally opened the shop on Bury Road in Breightmet on 1st July.  The shop has been set up by the Bolton Based charity ‘Carers Trust for Greater Manchester Crossroads Care service’.

Paul Parlby, the CEO of the charity, said “We are all excited about our new shop and are grateful that the Mayor was able to formally open the shop and has chosen us to be one of the Mayoral charities for the year”

The shop will not only support the work of the charity but give a high street presence in giving greater awareness of the approximately 30,000 unpaid carers in Bolton.

Donations of goods to sell in the shop are always wanted and anyone wishing to help out in the shop is welcome, either to sort through the treasure that people donate, or by helping in the front of the shop. For further information please telephone 01204 356025 or email

We wish all concerned every luck in their new venture and are sure that the shop will be a massive success.

Pictured are Emma Clark Shop Manager, Paul Parlby Chief Officer of Carers Trust for Greater Manchester, Cllr Lynda Byrne the Mayor of Bolton, Cllr John Byrne the Mayor’s consort.

Carers Trust in Greater Manchester Crossroads Care service is a charity specialising in supporting carers, including young carers, their families and loved ones who require social care support in their own homes, offering a service of tailored visits from 1 hour to overnights to full live-in support.

Carers Trust in Greater Manchester Crossroads Care service provides all aspects of personal care including specialised care, such as assistance with medication, PEG feeds, tracheostomy care and oxygen management. This enables the day-to-day carer to attend hospital appointments, interviews, social events or just simply to take a break.

In addition the charity runs community projects in Bolton for carers and those that they carer for, such as canal trips and their ‘Memories and Melodies’ sessions for people with memory problems and their carers.

For further information contact Peter Firth on 07341 562015 or


Sometimes, things are just somehow meant to be.  Things fall in to place in the most perfect way and all is good.  When this happens, that something just a little bit special is born.  Welcome to Love Darcey Ru - Bridal Boutique and its owners, Janine and Lindsay.

Back in January 2016 , Greenwood James Commercial was approached by Lindsay to help in a search for a suitable commercial shop to rent in the Bolton area for a new venture. 

Now, Janine was sat on a beach at the time searching Rightmove!!  Messages were flying backwards and forwards between the two about properties and locations.  A couple of viewings were arranged on a chilly Monday, with Janine having landed back in the UK after catching the red eye overnight!!  Commitment or what!!!

The properties they saw were ok but there was something missing - the WOW factor just wasn't there and these ladies knew what they wanted!

Cue Unit 2, Gate Fold, Harwood, BL2 3HN!!

The ground floor of the unit is home to a beautiful salon but the first floor was very recently vacant.  It was already pretty special so with their vision, they just knew it was the perfect location for their new venture.

So, to recap, fly home Monday, straight off the plane to view properties, do a deal by Wednesday!  Just meant to be.....

It is the same with Lindsay and Janine.  They have only known each other for what is by any measure a short period of time whilst working in another boutique, but as Janine said "We are like sisters!  Our families have adopted each other and we could not be closer."  Just meant to be.....

We popped up to see them on a sunny Thursday afternoon in May to catch up on how the business was going and take some pictures for this article.  What Claire didn't know was that Janine had suggested to me that they dress her!!  I wish my camera had been at the ready when they told her!  A bigger smile would be harder to find.

The ladies spent a good ten minutes discussing between themselves what they thought would work well on Claire having looked her up and down.  They chose a selection of dresses and accessories and let's just say, they know what they are doing!!  

Being the sole male in a VERY female setting, I just shut up and took it in.  What transpired was like watching a ballet.  Lindsay and Janine moved serenely around Claire, arranging the dress, adding accessories and bouncing ideas off each other - the synergy between them and the calm, dignified and professional approach was quite something to behold.  Just meant to be.....

I think the pictures speak for themselves in terms of evidencing the ladies ability to hit the spot!  

And how is the business going?  "We are only eight weeks in and things could not have gone any better" said Lindsay.  Recent trips to New York and Barcelona have been massively fruitful and Janine cryptically added "Watch this space - there might be some big news coming very soon!!"  I get the feeling that the ladies of Bolton, the North West and beyond are going to be in for quite a treat!!  Just meant to be.....

And what about the name?  "We know that traditional thinking says your name should reflect your business but we wanted to be different" said Janine.  Lindsay clarifies "The name comes from our respective daughters, Darcey and Ruby - it just felt natural and an easy choice for us".

The first floor has undergone significant change and now looks and feels superb!  Everything about it is right and creates a perfect environment for brides to be.  The ladies stock an amazing range of gowns for brides and dresses for bridesmaids and flower girls from designers such as Paloma Blanca and Liv Hart.  There is also a stunning  selection of accessories and veils, some from the famous Kleinfeld shop in New York!

The old saying "the devil is in the detail" springs to mind.  Some dresses arrive with just a code identifying them.  This simply isn't good enough for Lindsay and Janine!!  "We talk about our gowns as our ladies" said Lindsay.  This leads to any gown arriving with a code being given a name.  "We are going to call one Claire after your very own Miss James" said Janine - what an honour!!

All in all, Love Darcey Ru is something you just have to experience and we were so happy to play a very small part in finding the ladies a new home for their venture, which we are 100% confident is going to be a massive success.


In mid-November 2015, we launched our Christmas Art Competition for Children.  We were overwhelmed by the response!!  Many local children submitted entries, encouraged by schools and nurseries in the area.  The artwork took over our usual property displays and made for a lovely look and feel in the office in the run up to Christmas!

The standard of entries was very high and made picking winners extremely difficult but, as with any competition, a decision had to be made and after a long time deliberating, our judging panel selected the victorious pictures.

There were two prizes to be won - one in the Breightmet/Tonge area and one for Little Lever.

In Breightmet/Tonge, our winner was nine year old Harley Irwin, who had his picture submitted by Junglers Child Care.  His picture had lots of colour and was very neat and the judges particularly loved the rainbow over the house and the "SOLD" Greenwood James sign.  Harley chose his winning vouchers from JD.

In the Little Lever area, our winner was nine year old Leon Lichfield.  His masterpiece was submitted by St Teresa's R C Primary School and our judges loved the unique and futuristic look of the house, agreeing that they would love to be in a position to sell a house with a helicopter and landing pad on the roof!!  Leon picked Toys R Us vouchers.

A massive "Thank You" to everyone who got involved and "Well done" to everyone who submitted an entry.  Keep an eye out for future competitions coming your way in 2016!!


In my third blog on the subject of barn conversions, I want to take a quick look at some more of the salient points you will need to consider when kicking off your project.


This is where you first see your dream on paper and it can be quite emotional!!  Do some homework and try to find a really good architect as they are honestly worth their weight in gold!  Our architect sent over three drafts before we agreed on melding two of them together to get what we wanted - oh, and be prepared to compromise!  You can't always get exactly what you want.  We decided that we wanted to oversee the build ourselves using our own contractors and the architect can produce the building regulations they will work from.  How in depth you want them to go with this will inevitable have a direct bearing on cost.  Having found a good, competent builder, he was able to work from the drawings provided.


Such a key point but also so easy to overlook that I nearly forgot to include this!  You cannot get electric/water etc. without an address.  After quite some time spent searching for how to do this (and I mean ages!!), I decided to speak to my guru (Frank Whittaker take a bow yeat again) and it was sorted in 5 minutes!  You will need to speak to ‘Street Name and Numbering’ at the local council and they will set the wheels in motion for you – a tiny bit of paperwork and a fee later - all done!  In my case, welcome to the world of addresses ‘White Willow Barn’! 

Building Control

If you have not had any experience of barn conversion or new build projects before, maybe the words "building" and "control" used together wouldn't worry you too much.  Having worked in the residential and commercial property sector for many years, unfortunately I had heard all sorts of horror stories about building control and was worried about what a first had experience of them would be like.  The answer is  - if you’re doing it right, have no fear.  In fact the Building Control Officers at Bolton Council were very helpful and extremely approachable.  They will come out to site during various stages of the build – remember, each statutory visit will cost! 

The stages are via Bolton Council Building Control: 

Bolton Building Control will require notice to undertake the following inspections:

At the beginning of the work on site, including any site stripping and/or foundations excavations/preparation.

Following the installation of any foundation concrete, damp proof courses/membranes and prior to any conditions beneath the site being covered over by concrete.

Following the installation of, or alterations to, any structural elements and prior to covering up structural work (pre-plaster check).

Before the back-filling of any drainage installation, and the witnessing of any drains tests.

Prior to occupation or at the time of completion.

Additional inspections considered to be of critical importance by the Building Control Officer following a risk assessment will also be carried out. These additional inspections are based on the following:

Structural elements and components, the failure of which would be significant.

All works which constitute unusual designs or methods of working.

Work relating to fire safety.

Additional areas of work necessary for the subsequent issue of a completion certificate.

Yet again I enlisted the help of Frank Whittaker to assist with the submission of the building regs and our architect also got involved.  With a few minor amendments and after a period of approximately six weeks, I had full building regs.  Phew! 

Structural Engineers

I think it's fair to say I found a gem here!  Nigel Toole from Foxx Structural Engineers checked out the structure of the building for us.  It would have been heartbreaking if he had said it’s a no go but obviously better the heartbreak at this stage than further down the line when significant costs had been incurred.  Fortunately, all was fine - subject to a hefty amount of steel beams being installed!  

Planning Permissions

Okay, so now you have a planning permission decision notice in your favour...brilliant!  Now what?

Twenty or so conditions to which you have to adhere.

We found that the easiest way to do this is to make three columns "PRIOR TO COMMENCEMENT", "PRIOR TO OCCUPATION OF THE PROPERTY" and "PERMANENT CONDITIONS".

List each condition under the relevant heading and start by working through those under prior to commencement.  These are usually material samples/specification etc./bat surveys!  Just work your way though methodically and speak to planning if needed - they are really helpful.  Each condition will need discharging and remember, it's better to get as many discharges as possible on one application – one fee!  You will receive a notice when the condition is discharged – it is very important that these are done (and the paperwork stored securely) in case you want to sell in the future.

In case I missed anything!

Even though we are doing the project ourselves, there are so many steps to go through that there is a good chance I may have missed out some relevant information that you may need.  This goes back to one of my earlier points - if you employ the assistance of a good builder and architect they will ensure you do not miss anything.

I'm really looking forward to my next blog as we will have kicked off the build and have some different pictures for you of what's been going on.  If you are considering a conversion project yourself, please remember that I'm more than happy to have a chat with you about my experiences.  I'm not always going to be able to help as each project will have its own challenges and quirks but sometimes, a problem shared.......


In his recent Autumn Statement, Chancellor George Osborne has announced increases in the stamp duty which buy to let Landlords and people buying second homes will have to pay.

From April 2016, there will be a surcharge levied of 3% on each stamp duty band so, for example, if someone was buying at the average buy to let purchase price of £184,000, they would be facing an extra bill of £5,520.00.  The move will generate a further £1bn for the Treasury by 2021 but has sparked angry responses from across the property sector.

Landlords were quick to point out that the move is likely to "choke off" investment in properties purchased for rental purposes.  It is expected that "commercial property investors", so those with more than 15 properties, may be excluded from the changes.

This latest move adds to the already planned reduction in tax relief on mortgage payments and changes to the Capital Gains Tax rules in April 2019, meaning that CGT will need to be paid within 30 days of selling a property rather than at the end of a tax year, to strike a triple blow to the sector.

Part of Mr Osborne's summer Budget was to announce that Landlords would only receive the basic rate of tax relief, currently 20%, on any mortgage payments, a change being phased in from 2017.

Everyones situation is likely to be unique so we would ecnourage Landlords to get in touch with us now for a free discussion about hwo the changes may affect you and how we may be able to help.


Joining The Barn Owner's Club.  It's going to cost - get used to it!!

Following on from my first blog, my second article considers some of the cost elements involved in getting your self build/conversion project off the ground and who can help you, both in terms of funding and advice.

We were very fortunate - we were lucky enough to find a barn with all the planning permissions in place, so I am missing some of the fine detail with regard to the timescales involved in submitting a full application with the local authority and the costs involved.

Our project comes under the remit of Bolton Council who have a useful page on their web site relating to planning applications with lots of forms to download and a list of fees and most councils now have very good online portals which can help you get a feel for what is involved and what the fees are likely to be.  It can seem a little overwhelming when you first go on, but stick with it and if you struggle, just ring them!!  They are very helpful BUT see the next paragraph first!!  The Bolton Planning page can be found here

If you are not as lucky as we were and find a barn where planning is required, I would highly recommend getting a Town Planning expert involved as there are many strict planning laws and limitations.  My recommendation is Frank Whittaker - Town Planning Consultants who can be reached on 01204 303168. Frank is an absolute treasure and a mine of information with regard to the planning process and believe me, you WILL need his expertise!!  Even though our barn already had planning permission, we still reguarly need his help!  He has been a saint putting up with my constant stream of questions and an expert in ‘handholding’ during the process. 


Sourcing a lender that would lend on conversions wasn't completely straightforward as many do not like them!  Whilst confidence is returning to the lending market, there are still a lot of lenders who are not comfortable with this type of project and will baulk when approached.  The good news is that more and more niche lenders are looking to say yes to projects such as barn conversions/holiday lodges.  Being from an estate agency background, I checked the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML handbook) to see who would fit my criteria.  My advice - speak with a mortgage broker who can do the leg work for you. My recommendation would be Darren Hall who can be reached on 07973 539665.  Darren was a mine of information and help.


My next step was to research what the mortgage lender would accept as a home construction warranty/insurance package.  There are a number of different schemes on the market, probably the most well known being the NHBC.  Of course a builder who is NHBC accredited is a good starting point but we found them to be more expensive when quoting for the build.  Building warranty companies can provide information – in particular Mark West was competitive and very helpful and can be reached on 07541 816924.  In the end we chose to use Nigel Toole of Foxx Structural Engineers (contact number 01204 362300 web site to provide us with a Professional Consultants Certificate (PCC) and to oversee the build at the relevant stages.


Barn conversions will come at a cost both financially and emotionally. Be warned!

The budget - well it’s fair to say this changes frequently!  Some items can surprise you and come in under budget but the converse is also true and something which on the face of it seems like a simple thing which you can easily estimate and complete can prove time consuming and complicated when work commences and can take you way over your anticipated budget.  It’s a juggling act and I think it is probably a good idea to build at least another 10% onto your final budget to allow for any issues you may encounter along the way.  We've watched lots of Grand Design type programmes and they very rarely seem to come in UNDER budget!!!

I found a really good website that helped me to put together a budget and a programme of works -  - I had to tweak it to suit our build but it is still a very good starting point!


Christmas Art Competition

Have you seen the Red Rose Directory this month?  Well we are calling all children to pick up their pens, pencils, crayons and paint brushes and to start getting creative!!!

We want a PORTRAIT design (ideally A4) on the theme "MY HOUSE AND GREENWOOD JAMES" so why not have a look around our web site for some ideas to help.

The small print : competition open to all children 11 and under by the closing date, which is 15th December 2015.  Designs MUST BE portrait and be delivered to our offices on Bury Road by 15th December 2015.  The winner will be notified by 21st December and their design will be published in the Red Rose Directory at a future date to be agreed.  The winner will receive £75.00 of vouchers of their choosing - what a great start to Xmas 2015 that will be for someone!!!

So come on kids, get creative and start getting your design down on paper today!!

And good luck from Suzanne, Claire and all of the team.



Barn Conversion – The Barn Owners Club!

My blog on building the barn conversion covers what we have done and intend to do during the build.  By no means are we experts!  Every barn will be different...that’s the beauty of it!  Having found very little information on the internet for this type of development, I thought a smattering of our own experiences would help others in their quest to join ‘The Barn Owners Club’! 

What I want to do with this blog, in the form of periodic news updates on our web site, is to try and help people see what is possible, to pass on some useful advice and to help others avoid some of the pitfalls we have already come across and no doubt many more along the way!!  As I've already said, we're not experts but that's the thing - you don't have to be!

Planning permissions...Klargester systems...herringbone drainage!!!  Six months ago I would have been a quivering wreck but now, bring it on!!!  There are experts you can draw upon along the way when you need them and I will name names of the people who have helped us, invaluably, so far.  

Sure, you could sign up a company to do it all for you but you know what?  That's not what this is all about - I've invested hours of my free time researching, planning, watching bats!!!!  Yes bats!!!!!  The feeling you get when you see it all coming together however simply cannot be bought - I already love my barn and feel it's a part of me and always will be because my blood, sweat and tears will be in the bones of the place!

Why do it? Crazy? Probably!

A barn offers massive potential to create the home you want.  In my humble opinion, the building should still retain some of the original barn characteristics such as exposed trusses/odd windows/exposed stone/brickwork – if not, why bother?  Go for a new build house!  The dream barn in the middle of a field sounds idyllic, but don’t forget a barn once housed animals not humans and you need to seriously think about how are you going to get heat/water/drainage to it.  It may be unlikely you will have gas and drainage to utilise.  Up for consideration are renewable energies and septic tanks - enjoy reading about that!  Mind boggling!!!  

Even with all the obstacles you will come across, once you fall in love with the barn it’s there to stay … my advice, go for it! 


Danny started working in the automotive industry at the tender age of 16!  He served his apprenticeship at a company in Heywood and some ten years later, after sharing premises with a variety of other people and businesses, Danny took the brave decision to branch out on his own.

He saw an industrial unit with yard advertised by Greenwood James Commercial on Blackrod Industrial Estate in Bolton and arranged a viewing with Mark.  It only took a matter of minutes for Danny to see the potential in the set up of the unit and how it would fit his business needs perfectly.

Danny comments "I've wanted to work for myself for a long time.  I'm time served so even though I'm still relatively young, I have a lot of experience in all things bodywork related so I can do everything that's needed myself.  I thought why work for somebody else and make lots of money for them when I could do it for me?"

Having come to this decision, a search of the internet and a drive around his target areas spotlighted Blackrod Industrial Estate and Unit 8 as the perfect home for his business DB Body Repair.

Unit 8 comprises of a good sized workshop plus a yard and external area made from corrugated metal sheeting which has a handy sliding door.  "This is perfect for me" said Danny "I can work on cars inside the workshop and then whilst I waiting for them to finish, I can transfer outside to the 'spray booth' as I have christened it and carry out a full refurb on a set of alloy wheels so I'm not wasting any time".

Things couldn't have gone better since moving to the new unit and Danny is now having to bring in help to cope with the increase in work he has seen since finding such ideal premises.  He now does a mix of private and insurance work in the following areas:

  • Dents
  • Scratches
  • Scrapes
  • Rust
  • Colour coding
  • New parts
  • Full re-sprays
  • Alloy wheel refurbishment
  • Full polish and wax
  • Scratch removal

"I really can't believe how things have gone since we moved in a month ago - it's like everything was just lined up waiting for me to find the unit and things have just fallen into place" said Danny.  Look him up on his Facebook pages "DB Body Repair Bolton" and "VAG Alloys Bodyrepair - Alloy Refurb Manchester - Bolton" to see more about Danny and his business.  It's obvious when you meet Danny that he is a grafter and has a good head on his shoulders!

From a commercial agency point of view, it's great to feel part of a success story, even one so new and even if only in a tiny way.  Claire James said "I love to see a new commercial tenant doing well and their business thriving.  I think some commercial agents probably see a tenant moving into one of their units as just that, another transaction completed, but I like to think we are different.  We do try hard to match people with the ideal premises and in the right area so they have a good chance of making a go of things - after all, if they fail and vacate, we have to explain that to the Landlord and that's not in anyone's best interests!!".

For more information about the services offered by Greenwood James Commercial, get in touch with Mark or Claire now.  We have clients actively looking for commercial premises to buy or rent in the Bolton, Bury and North West areas from shops to warehouses to industrial units.

Oh, and Danny has asked us to point out "the sign is just temporary so people can find me until my new artwork is done and printed - I don't want people judging me by this one!!!".


Our commercial property department was recently given instructions to let an office in Leigh on behalf of a commercial landlord based in Altrincham.  The office was situated in a larger, period building which has been lovingly refurbished to preserve many of the original features and then split into office suites of varying sizes.

In less than two weeks from our original instruction, the office had been photographed and measured, advertised on the various internet portals, viewings arranged and carried out and one of the viewers had decided the property was just what they were looking for, had paid their money over and signed a new lease!

The Landlord said "You guys are flying!  We love how proactive you are in comparison with other commercial agents we have used and we will definitely give you other properties as and when they become available".

Since Greenwood James Commercial was launched in August 2013, we have gone from strength to strength and have been involved in the sale and letting of a wide variety of commercial properties including offices, shops, industrial units, warehouses and land in Bolton and Bury and further afield across the North West Region.

We pride ourselves on our customer service and a common trend in the client testimonials we receive is how proactive we are as an agency and how good our communication and service levels are.

If you have premises to let or sell, why not get in touch with us now to discuss how we can help.


Greenwood James Commercial was launched in response to strong demand from existing Greenwood James clients who had mixed property portfolios and were, in equal measure, both delighted with the service provided by us on their residential properties but at the same time, disenchanted with their existing commercial agent.

Whilst significantly different in certain aspects to residential sales and lettings, many of the core disciplines relating to any sales role remain the same so whilst a steep learning curve has been presented in areas such as commercial property law (leases and the like), we have received massively positive feedback from our commercial property clients for our refreshing approach to marketing, our entuhusiasm and our attitude to them and their commercial properties.

One commercial landlord, who has been involved in letting various industrial units and warehouses for many years, recently commented to us that he loved dealing with Greenwood James because "it's obvious that you really care about what you do and about getting the best outcome for all involved in the process".  This comment came after he had almost decided to quite the commercial property sector after experiences with other commercial agents.

It's not just landlords who have spotted the difference in the service provided by Greenwood James Commercial.  In an unprompted testimonial provided by a commercial tenant who recently rented a shop in Bolton through the firm, it was clear what they thought about our standards.  "We have rented in the past and couldn't believe how easy things were made for us this time using Greenwood James" they said.  The key differences were highlighted as being our communication with both the landlord and the tenant and our desire to conclude the transaction as quickly and efficiently as possible for all concerned.

From what was effectively a standing start, we now manage a significant number of commercial properties across Bolton, Bury and further afield in the North West which are a mix of retail outlets and shops, offices and industrial/warehouse/storage units.

If you have commercial property to let or sell or are looking to sell a business, get in touch with us now to discuss our range of services to help you maximise your investment with the minimum of fuss.  We look forward to hearing from you.


SAFEagent Greenwood James is urging all landlords and tenants to be gas safe as well as choosing their letting agent wisely during the annual Gas Safety Week (14 - 20 September).  

Gas Safety Week is a national safety campaign to raise awareness of gas safety in the UK's 23 million gas fuelled homes. It is co-ordinated by Gas Safe Register with support from the gas industry including retailers, manufacturers, consumer bodies and the public. 

With 20 deaths and 1,000 gas-related injuries in the last three years, it’s vital that people make sure their gas appliances are safety checked every year by a registered engineer. Anyone working on gas appliances while not being Gas Safe registered, is working illegally. 

Follow these three simple top tips to stay gas safe:

  • Get all of your gas appliances safety checked once a year by a registered engineer and sign up to a free reminder service at
  • Make sure your engineer is legal and safe, by making sure they are registered with Gas Safe Register, the UK’s official gas authority. You can check by calling 0800 408 5500 or visiting
  • Check for warning signs your appliances aren’t working correctly, such as a lazy yellow flame instead of a crisp blue one, black marks on or around the appliance and too much condensation in the room. 

SAFEagent is an easily identifiable logo signposting letting agents who are part of a Client Money Protection Scheme.  This means that landlord and tenant funds will be safe and protected, if an agent misappropriates or uses clients’ funds fraudulently. 

Suzanne Greenwood says: “The importance of maintaining gas appliances should not be underestimated: the consequences can be fatal.  We are committed to ensuring that all of our properties are gas safe and we are proud to support Gas Safety Week.”

About SAFEagent

SAFEagent – Safe Agent Fully Endorsed – is a reliable mark denoting firms that protect landlords and tenants money through Client Money Protection schemes.  Set up ‘by the industry, for the industry’ and recognised by the Government, it is supported by Citizens Advice Bureaux, The Property Ombudsman, Ombudsman  Services:Property, My Deposits, TDS and DPS. 

All agents registered with SAFEagent are part of a Client Money Protection Scheme which reimburses consumers in the event of misappropriation of clients’ funds. There are several schemes in the sector operated by NALS, ARLA, NAEA, RICS and UKALA to which agents voluntarily belong. The scope of these schemes varies and consumers should contact their agent for full details of the scheme of which they are covered under.

To find a SAFEagent in your area visit




When we were approached by one of our longstanding clients to help them to try and let their sandwich shop in BL3, we jumped at the opportunity.  The property had not been on the market for very long when we were approached by dynamic duo Alison and Julie.

The girls have been friends for ten years and are very close.  Previously, Alison was a child care worker and kitchen assistant and Julie was involved in caring for the elderly as a senior carer, completing risk assessments and organising care plans for her clients.

So why the change?

"I have wanted to run my own business for a long time" said Alison. 

"And I wasn't about to let her do it on her own!!"  Julie added!

Having spotted the shop to let close to Bolton Town Centre on the Greenwood James Commerical web site, a viewing was arranged and the girls decided to give it a go!!

After a short period of closure to carry out some reorganisation and decorating in the shop, the doors opened and the couple have never looked back! 

As keen music fans, customers will be able to work out that Bon Jovi and Elvis are the firm favourites - but who likes who?  You'll have to pop in and work it out!!

Offering home cooked food, their plans are to expand the business by opening for longer hours, offering outside catering, providing some seating in the shop and to offer deliveries.  We can speak from first hand experience when we say the girls know what they are doing!  Mark Groves needed a caterer for his son Jack's end of year leavers party at VERY short notice and Julie and Alison stepped in to fill the breach!  The provided an absolutely magnificent buffet at a very fair price and everyone at the party said how amazing the food was.

Great food is without doubt critical to the success of their business but they've got that covered - you also get cheeky banter when you pop in so the atmosphere matches the food!! 

Call in to see for yourself - the girls are at 91 Lever Street in Bolton or you can call them on 01204 869814 or 07500 773919.  Oh, and they go by Al and Jules by the way!!!

Good luck ladies - we're sure you will make a roaring success of your new venture.

Greenwood James offers a full range of commercial property services including sales, lettings and management in the Bury and Bolton area and beyond.  Contact us now on 01204 396357 for more information or email with your requirement.


In the first of our stories on commercial property tenants which Greenwood James Commercial has helped to find new commercial premises for their businesses, we meet John and Rachel, who viewed a number of units on Leigh Trading Estate, and indeed wider afield, before settling on Unit A6 as the ideal venue for their new venture.

Rachel has been involved with horses and animals generally for a long time and is very experienced in the sector.  John has worked in a number of different avenues and, following redundancy announcements in his last firm, the couple decided it was time to go it alone and set up on their own.

They will be offering two distinct arms to the business - the first is The Feed Shack, providing a wide variety of animal feed and care products, and the second is The Pet Laundry, which will offer cleaning services for horse rugs etc.

"It's been a busy few weeks getting everything set up and good to go for our launch event on Saturday 11th July" said Rachel "but well worth it and we are really excited about the future".  For John, the new venture really is a departure from his previous exploits.  "I have spent quite a lot of time learning about the various feeds on offer and getting to know which feed suits which animals best - as well as fitting out the shop, programming the till etc. etc. - the list goes on and we have both worked really hard to get everything ready".

Rachel was very happy with the service provided to them as prospective tenants and said "Well what can I say other than a HUGE big "Thank you Mark" for all the help, advice and time he spent with us to get the perfect unit for our new business - nothing was too much trouble and John and myself were truly overwhelmed by the support received. We would highly recommend you. Thank you once again"

Greenwood James are really happy to have helped them to find the ideal location for the business and wish them all the very best in their future.  Take a look at their Facebook page HERE and why not pop down on opening day to give them some support!

Greenwood James offer a full range of commercial property services across the North West including sales, lettings, management and business transfers.  Get in touch now to experience a different level of service.



The Land Registry has reported a return to growth in the property market in April 2015 following the dip of 0.8% seen in March.  This has prompted a number of sources to predict a likely surge in property prices over the remainder of the year.

The increase in April took the average property price in England and Wales to £179,817.00 but the effect still left the annual rate of growth at a 14 month low of just 5.1%.

Growth was strongest in certain areas with Yorkshire and The Humber seeing increases of 2.7% in April leading to an average house price of £123,471.00.  London came in second place with 2.3% and the North West close behind in third place at 2.1% and an average house price of £113,301.00.

The general feeling is that with the uncertainty of the general election now behind, the housing market will prosper throughout the remainder of the year.

At Greenwood James, we are seeing excellent levels of activity both in residential and commercial transactions.  If you are looking to sell your home or commercial property, please get in touch with us now on 01204 396357 to discuss our services further or fill in the form on our CONTACT US page and we will get back in touch with you as soon as possible.



June 1st to 5th is the 4th annual initiative which will see over 3,000 professional lettings agents unite across the UK to drive the importance of choosing a lettings and management agent who is part of a Client Money Protection Scheme (CMP).

This annual event has received backing from both agents, consumer bodies (such as Citizens Advice Bureau, The Property Ombudsman, TDS and DPS) and the Government as tenant and landlord financial protection remains in the spotlight.

There is still a general feeling that the message is not always getting through and people need to be aware that consumers' finances are still very much at risk if people choose an agent who is not part of a CMP scheme.

John Midgley, Chair of the SAFEagent Steering Group said "There are still too many people who are not aware of the potential pitfalls of choosing an agent who doesn't have CMP".

Consumers need to be aware that should an agent who is not part of a CMP scheme abscond, there is very little chance of getting their money back.

The recommendation is for all tenants, landlords and consumer to go online and check to find an agent in their area and to look for the easily identifiable SAFEagent mark which denotes agents who subscribe to a Client Money Protection scheme.

Greenwood James is a fully registered member of SAFEagent meaning that landlords, tenants and consumers can rest easy knowing that their money is protected.  Contact us now if you would like more information about our lettings and management services on 01204 396357 or by completing our contact form HERE.


Having successfully supported Mission Christmas 2013, the decision to get involved again in 2014 was an easy one for Team Greenwood James!  The generosity of our clients, staff and the local Breightmet community saw a big boot full of toys (including a brand new bike from one client!) delivered to the ARCO warehouse in Trafford Park on the cut off date in December 2013 so we wanted to once again make it easy for people who wanted to get involved by donating a gift and dropping it off at our offices.

It's an unbelievable fact that in 2014, there were still 1 in 3 children living in poverty in Greater Manchester and many of those would not get a present on Christmas day if it wasn't for appeals like Mission Christmas.  Greenwood James are proud to be involved in such initiatives.


A chance comment by one of the team (take a bow Tiffany!) in the early part of our Breakthrough Breast Cance Bake Off event led to Mark from our commercial property arm trawling through the internet to try and find one of his contacts from a former life, Andy Hargreaves, otherwise known as Big H.  Andy had been involved in radio for years and Tiffany had suggested we pool resources and see if we could get any publicity for our bake off to try and maximise the amount we raised.

A quick text later and Mark had caught up with Big H, who is now at Bolton FM, and arranged for Claire to go live on the drive time show to give our day a final push.  During her live interview with Big H, a challenge was thrown down and we ended up going back live on air again for the Friday Pub Quiz.  The adrenalin was flowing during the tense stand off between Andy and Team Greenwood James as some rather disparaging comments about estate agents had set the scene at the start of the challenge!

Needless to say, not only did we win, we were the first team every to get 10/10!!

And our prize...........a signed bright yellow Bolton FM coffee cup!  It has pride of place in our office and is priceless!


Following on from the Breakthrough Breast Cancer Bake Off event, we had quite a lot of cakes which had been donated by local company, Park Cakes, which were going begging.  We had a quick think and also a chat with Big H from Bolton FM and between us, came up with the idea that kids love cake!!

One phone call later, we had found the cakes a very willing and eager home in the form of Bolton Lads & Girls Club!

Mark, from our Commercial Property arm, jumped in his car and whisked the cakes down to the club on Spa Road and is pictured above handing the cakes over to two of the club staff - Andrew Stocks, the club chef  and Leon Crosby, Junior Club Leader.


Our commercial property department was contacted in 2014 by a very familiar name in Bolton, a charity that does some absolutely amazing work in very difficult circumstances so we were very happy to help them in their search for their new charity shop premises.

The need for hospice care in Bolton was first identified in 1984 and it took a further eight years for Bolton Hospice to open its doors in March 1992.  Since then the Hospice has grown beyond all recognition.  The care and support they provide is invaluable but to do this does not come cheap.  It costs £400.00 an hour to run Bolton Hospice and they have to raise the first £300.00 of every hour of every day!

Breightmet had been identified as a location in which the Hospice would like to have a shop and we were delighted to be able to help arrange for them to take up a lease on a property a short distance from our own offices.  Team Greenwood James swung into action to help with generating stock for the shop before opening day and Suzanne and Claire are pictured above handing over the rather large quantity of bags which we stockpiled in our kitchen to two of the volunteers who help to run the shop.


Greenwood James found its' home in Breightmet and our success is built, in a large part, on the support which the community has given us since we opened back in 2007.  We feel that it's only right therefore that when an opportunity for us to give something back comes up, we grasp it with both hands.

Bolton County Under 8's team, The Sharks, comprises predominantly of kids from the Breightmet area so when we were contacted by one of the Mum's (Melanie Hennighan, who coincidentally works for Russell & Russell in Bolton, one of the law firms we work closely with on conveyancing transactions) to see if we could help out with new kit and equipment costs, we jumped at the chance!!

Coach Robert Tattersall kindly provided us with some more information about Bolton County:

"We started out in 2012 at St Catherines Academy, we trained together for 10 months with a view to starting the next season at Under 7's, culminating in the Woodbank tournament as the first competitive games played as an age group in June 2013.

In Sept 2013, the first two sides (Terriers and Eagles) started playing games in the Bolton and Bury Junior Football League.  Due to our reputation of being a community club and doing our best for children of all abilities we had picked up a number of new players by Christmas and so after the Winter break we added another team (Wildcats) which allowed to us to provide more game time for all children.  At this time, and due to it being half way through the season, we self funded to allow the team to happen and used left over kit from the first two teams.

The 2013 season was a huge success, ending with all 3 teams playing each other on the last day of the season and all teams ending with one win and smiling faces.  The age group continued to train through the summer and through word of mouth we continued to expand.  The need for a fourth team was soon realised.

Due to costs of sustaining 4 teams and the need for new kit for the two new teams and coaches/training equipment, sponsorship was again searched for.  Luckily this was soon received (Russell and Russell / Greenwood James) allowing the investment required for the 4 teams to go forward to the 2014 season and allowing 28 children to continue to enjoy football with no pressure to win and pure enjoyment.

2014 season has now started again at Bolton Arena and the four teams are doing very well and everybody is happy!"

After excitedly waiting to see the results for a couple of weeks after the deal was done, we got the opportunity to pop up to their unveiling at Bolton Arena early one Saturday morning and the boys can be seen here proudly sporting their dapper new kit!  We even got a shirt sent to us for our office, which we have had framed to take pride of place!!


On Friday 10th October we hosted a Bake Off event in our offices on Bury Road in support of Breakthrough Breast Cancer.  This cause is one close to our hearts as many of our team know someone who has been affected by this terrible illness and, sadly, have even lost someone to it.

Things kicked off early with cakes arriving thick and fast and a team of scaffolders calling in "early doors" for a spot of breakfast (cakes???!!).

We set ourselves what we considered to be an ambitious target of £500.00 on the day.  We could not, in our wildest dreams, have expected such a fantastic response and such generosity from clients, professional contacts, friends, family and the local community.

The day was a massive success and we smashed our target, raising £1,800.00 in total.  We would like to thank everyone who got involved and helped to make the day such an outstanding success and such a great occasion.