Shaping places - multiple rural estates
We work with estates across the country, in a range of ownership and governance structures to help owners, principals, trustees and senior management teams determine the right long-term strategies to enable sustainable futures for these special places.
Balancing the numerous roles that estates play poses opportunities and challenges. These range from navigating family succession, optimising income generation, maximising the value of land and property, protection of heritage and natural assets to altruistic interests or contributing to macro issues such as climate change. Creating clear long-term strategies and action plans to deliver them aids decision making, prioritisation of investment and resources, helps to communicate the estate’s vision and the benefits to be gained by the community and other stakeholders.
Estate strategies and masterplans can take different forms and be for a range of purposes. In all instances, our approach is to start with “Why?”
What is the objective, at estate level, for the individual stakeholders (and where appropriate, their successors) and what are the options for achieving these objectives?
Looking at an estate as an integrated whole and considering what the vision is and how to achieve it first requires an understanding of the estate as an ‘ecosystem’ – its land and property assets, their condition and use, the enterprises and activities that take place there, and the role and interaction with the local community as employer, neighbour, landlord and provider of green space. All of these, and the interaction between them provide the baseline from which to determine the opportunities available to the estate, and the potential limitations acting upon it – perhaps from heritage or landscape designations, planning policy or the market dynamics of the local area.
That baseline, coupled with aims and ambitions can shape a clear and achievable vision. This often requires bold thinking, looking over a time horizon that can span generations and bringing a range of stakeholders on board to understand and support the overall ambition. More often than not, estate scale strategies require some development of rural land and property. This can range from light touch development aimed at keeping property assets in good condition for present and successive generations, to more traditional ‘diversification’ projects aimed at generating new income streams, to large-scale strategic developments such as allocation of land for housing development.
In some cases, Whole Estate Plans can be used to set out a long-term development masterplan. The aim is engagement with planning authorities to influence policy to recognise the role of estates in rural communities and placemaking, and the wider context for development proposals brought forward by them. Whether used to influence policy or not, these plans set out a clear plan for the estate principal and management team to deliver against or enable a specific aim such as a strategic land allocation or enabling development outcome.
We have helped deliver strategic planning exercises with estates across the country from Treasure House estates including Chatsworth and Castle Howard, well-known visitor destinations such as Bolton Abbey in the Yorkshire Dales, and Wentworth Woodhouse. Other strategic estate plans that we have contributed to include those of the Great Tew Estate, Barlavington, Glynde, Harewood, Sansaw, Levens Hall, Holker Hall and multiple privately owned estates.
20 year rural estate land management strategy
A strategic transition to whole estate, holistic land-management guided by regenerative agriculture principles.