The managing director of a major Cumbrian estate agency is stepping down after five years at the helm.

Stephen Lancaster is leaving PFK, headquartered in Penrith, to pursue a new opportunity, the company said.

Chair John Rowlands said: “Stephen 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."

The firm announced the move to its shareholders and also revealed that it had made post-tax profits of £512,051 for the year ending December 31, largely due to the disposal of a small part of its land at Junction 40.

But, it added, trading was difficult in the majority of the professional businesses operated by the company.

Mr Rowlands said: “It 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 particular 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."

Due to Covid-19 and the related uncertainty, the board said it did not feel it was appropriate to declare a dividend for shareholders at the moment.

It was also announced that Andrew Green, who joined PFK in 2012 has been appointed to the board as executive director and Joseph Webb has been promoted to finance director.

Mr Rowlands will become executive chairman.