Wiston: a precedent for the estate and planning sectors

The first whole estate plan of its kind

West Sussex

The Exterior of Chalk Restaurant @ Wiston Estate, photo by Wiston Estate

Under the care of the same family since 1743, this expansive estate of over 6,000 acres is home to over 100 households, 11 farms and 22 businesses. The estate is steward to a wide range of both heritage and environmental assets. It is home to 38 listed buildings, including the stunning Grade 1 Wiston House, and provides habitats for an array of priority species from water voles to white hellebore across swathes of undisturbed land.

In 2006, the family established a winery at the estate which has since doubled in size and has become a dynamic focal point for the local community, as well as adding to the diverse economic benefits that the estate provides.

The estate came to Rural Solutions when they were invited by the South Downs National Park to produce a whole estate plan (the first of its kind) for inclusion within the now adopted Local Plan.

The winery at Wiston Estate
The winery @ Wiston Estate


To secure support from the local planning authority through collaboration with the National Park by articulating the long-term vision and management plans of the estate and demonstrating the deliverable benefits to the wider community.


Rural Solutions worked closely with the National Park and the estate to understand their history, objectives and future plans based on a four part approach:

  • A holistic estate vision
  • An asset audit including physical, socio-economic and environmental assets
  • An ecosystem services analysis which considered the contribution of built and natural capital to the estate and the National Park’s visions
  • An action plan which collated individual projects to demonstrate how they link together to deliver the overall visions and outcomes outlined in the WEP

Considerable time was spent with the National Park team designing and evolving the plan-making process, which led to a remarkably high level of shared understanding of the estate, its challenges, opportunities, and the contribution it makes, and can make to the National Park’s special qualities and to the Authorities’ wider objectives. The plan is grounded in sustainability and stewardship and will play a key part in enabling the projects which the estate seeks to bring forward to enhance environmental quality, improve access and deliver significant social and economic benefits.

The first major project, the development of a new business park and winery visitor centre on a former farmyard site within the National Park was granted planning consent early in 2019 and the new Vineyard shop and associated restaurant, Chalk opened in December 2021.

Interior of Chalk Restaurant, image supplied by Wiston Estate


The Wiston whole estate plan was the first estate strategy to be formally accepted as a material planning consideration following endorsement via the statutory Local Planning Authority committee process.

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Looking down to Chatsworth House and the countryside behind from a hill above.