Estate owners and managers came together for a seminar to hear from rural planning experts on potential benefits of producing Whole Estate Plans (WEP).The seminar, organised by Rural Solutions and CLA North, follows the success of the Wiston Estate whose recent WEP was developed in partnership with South Downs National Park Authority. The first to be formally endorsed as a material consideration in determining future planning applications.
Held at Newby Hall in Ripon the event outlined how the development of a WEP can have a positive outcome on the future viability and sustainability of a large country estate
Whole estate planning sets out the vision for the future of the estate and how building and land assets can be put to best use for a sustainable future.
Those attending heard from our executive director and rural expert, Rob Hindle on the rationale for WEP and Nick Heasman from the South Downs National Park Authority – the eighth largest planning authority in the UK.
Rob said: “Whole Estate Plans can help an estate’s management team and its trustees futureproof their land and assets by identifying strategic and viable opportunities, whether these are business, leisure, residential, tourism or ecological projects.
“It’s an agreed approach that will inform, influence and drive the future management of the whole estate to its optimum potential.”
Dorothy Fairburn, CLA Director for the North of England, said: “The principles behind Whole Estate Plans are useful for any business – having a vision, being clear about objectives, identifying resources and the time frame, and sharing this with relevant shareholders including family and workforce.
“Whole Estate Plans are also a useful way to promote the great work that estates do, on a landscape scale, for heritage, wildlife and local housing to a wider audience.”
Nick Heasman, Countryside and Policy Manager from South Downs National Park Authority, said: “The plan in its simplest form also helps to develop better working relationships between estates and their National Park Authority.
“We believe this sets a great example for others to follow. By working together and understanding each other’s priorities you can make major progress by producing sustainable solutions for the benefit of all parties.”
Wiston Estate management team worked with Rural Solutions, who provide planning and development support and advice to landowners to help them adapt and develop their estates, on its WEP.
The plan considers major challenges that the estate will have to face in the future including: climate change, rural business adaptation, pressure of development, changes to subsidies following Brexit, pressure from visitors and planning for succession. It is designed to help guide and support funding bids, future neighbourhood plan production, agri-environment, forestry and clean-water schemes amongst other things.