Staffordshire Farms Supporting Sustainability

Photovoltaic panels on Duchy farms
Photovoltaic panels on Duchy farms

With the support of the Duchy of Lancaster, tenant farmers across Staffordshire are embracing new and sustainable energy sources. Green biomass systems and the generation of electricity from photovoltaic (PV) panels are just two of the measures introduced on Duchy farms in 2015.

Two of the larger farms on the Needwood Estate – Coton Hall and Lower Castle Hayes Farms – have PV panels installed on the roofs of farm building and are generating almost a 100KW of electricity, returning any surplus to the National Grid. By the end of the year, a further two farms will also have similar systems installed.

The Duchy of Lancaster is committed to encouraging the introduction of new and sustainable energy across all its land and property holdings. Earlier this year, it invested in a cutting edge biomass plant to provide heating and hot water to another Staffordshire farm tenant and rural business, Bennett Equine in Tutbury.

Commenting on the willingness of tenants to embrace these new technologies, Head of Rural Christopher Sparrow said: “The increased use of green energy sources is very important to the future of efficient agricultural operations. These investments enhance the commercial viability of our farms whilst also contributing to our commitment towards carbon management. We are very proud of the proactive approach taken by many of our tenants to the challenges of farming today. The introduction of new and green technologies is, we feel, a positive move forward.”

The Duchy of Lancaster’s Staffordshire Survey includes a mix of arable, dairy, sheep and beef farms as well as residential and commercial property and 500 hectares of ancient woodland, largely centred on the historic Needwood Estate.

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New Letting At Savoy Street

The Duchy of Lancaster has re-let part of its commercial premises in Savoy Street to international recruitment consultants Saxton Bampfylde Hever (SBH) for a 10-year term.

The first floor office accommodation was previously let to London Commodity Brokers (LCB). The new 10-year lease with Saxton Bampfylde Hever Ltd (SBH) starts with immediate effect and the new tenants are expected to move in next month, following an internal fit-out.

Commenting on the new tenancy, the Duchy’s Head of Urban Mike Andrews said: “The Duchy of Lancaster is committed to the continuous improvement of its Savoy Estate and has recently refurbished the entrance hall and communal areas of the building. This deal, agreed before the existing tenant vacated the premises, reflects the strong letting market in the Midtown area of the city which continues to be a highly sought-after office location.”

Savoy Street is located beside The Strand, overlooking the River Thames and within walking distance to Covent Garden, Waterloo, and Embankment stations.

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Investing for the future in Cheshire

The Duchy of Lancaster is to invest £300,000 in its residential properties across the Cheshire Survey. Specialist contractors Ian Williams Ltd and Midlands-based building company Think Contracts have been appointed to carry out a programme of internal and external repair works over the summer months.

The Duchy owns some 75 residential properties across the Cheshire Survey, over 90 per cent of which are on the historic Crewe estate, a 3000-acre area of land to the south of the town bounded to the east by the M6 motorway.

Commenting on the works, Head of Project Management Graeme Chalk, said: “The Duchy is keen to ensure all of its residential properties are maintained to a high quality in accordance with our standard specification. We have carried out an indepth review of all internal and external works required to achieve this and are committed to making the necessary investment to ensure that all of our properties – whether tenanted, for sale or to let – are attractive living spaces.”

The Duchy of Lancaster is a private estate owned by Her Majesty the Queen as Duke of Lancaster. The rural estate, which includes land in Cheshire, Staffordshire, Lancashire, Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, covers almost 18,500 hectares across England and Wales. Lands and property assets in Cheshire include a dozen agricultural holdings and 16 commercial lettings in addition to a broad range of residential properties, ranging from historic country cottages to large period farmhouses with adjoining land.

For information on the full range of Duchy properties currently available for sale or to let, please contact our Managing Agents, Savills Smiths Gore on 01543 251221.

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Duchy invites views on proposed new homes for Harrogate

The Duchy of Lancaster is inviting the people of Harrogate to a public exhibition at The Sun Pavilion on Friday 19th June 2015 to view proposals for a new development scheme at Cornwall Road.

The proposals include green recreational space, community walkways and cycle paths, sports pitches and extensive landscaping around a diverse number of property designs created to reflect the existing Duchy estate. Local stakeholder groups and members of the public have been invited to view the initial proposals and provide feedback prior to any application being submitted to the local authority.

Duchy Chief Executive Nathan Thompson said: “We are very much looking forward to sharing our thinking with the people of Harrogate and to listening to what they have to say. The Duchy has been a landowner in Harrogate for over 600 years and we want to consult as widely as possible so that our plans can reflect and address any local concerns.”

The exhibition will be open from 11.00 am to 9.00 pm on Friday 19th June at The Sun Pavilion in Valley Gardens. Alternatively, plans can be viewed and commented on via a dedicated website:

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Her Majesty The Queen Visits Duchy of Lancaster

Earlier this month, we were delighted to welcome Her Majesty The Queen to Lancashire as part of the celebrations to commemorate the 750th anniversary of the creation of the Duchy of Lancaster. Her Majesty’s visit began with a ceremonial welcome at Lancaster Castle and included a tour of Duchy farms across the Myerscough estate.

Welcomed by thousands of well-wishers, Her Majesty arrived by in Lancaster Royal Train and was received by the Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire. The approach to the historic John of Gaunt gate was lined by local air, sea and army cadets and members of the Duke of Lancaster’s own Yeomanry were in attendance.

On Her arrival at the Castle, Her Majesty was officially welcomed by the Chairman of the Duchy of Lancaster Council and presented with the keys of the Castle by its Constable, the first Lady Constable in the Castle’s long history. Duchy Chancellor The Rt Hon. Oliver Letwin MP was also part of the welcoming party on the platform. Eight-year old Nancy Weedy, a pupil at Dallas Road Primary School and chorister at Lancaster Priory, presented Her Majesty with a posy of red Lancaster roses.

In the Upper Courtyard, the Duke of Lancaster met members of the Duchy Council. Brownies from 5th Lancaster Bowerham and cubs from 35th Lancaster, Skerton formed a guard of honour into the Chapel Courtyard, where actors from local company Demi-Paradise performed an extract from Shakespeare’s Richard II.

Invited guests then took part in a reception in ‘A’ wing, an area of the Castle closed to the public as part of Her Majesty’s Prison Lancaster until 2013.

Her Majesty The Queen then travelled to one of the Duchy of Lancaster’s rural estates at Myerscough. At Lodge Farm, agricultural students demonstrated their skills as farriers, sheep-shearers and cattle handlers.

After a luncheon at Light Ash in Bilsborrow, the Royal Party then visited Lee Farm. In a barn beautifully dressed by floristry students from the College, Her Majesty met around 100 Duchy tenants from across her Lancashire estates.

Duchy Chief Executive Nathan Thompson would like thank everyone who took part in the day’s events: “This visit was made hugely successful by the hard work and involvement of lots of local people keen to play their part and show their huge affection for The Queen. On behalf of the Duchy Council, I would like to thank them all, particularly those who waited in the rain to ensure the warmest of welcomes as the Royal Party approached and departed from Lancashire.”


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