Supporting Growth In Dairy Farming

Cheshire farmlandThe Duchy of Lancaster has agreed to allow one of its tenant farmers in Cheshire to almost double the size of his land-holding from the Duchy.  The agreement forms part of an existing strategy to encourage efficient agricultural units.

Dairy farmer David Peacock is to take on the lease from September this year of approximately 150 additional acres adjacent to his existing farm near Barthomley in Cheshire. The additional land will allow David and his family to expand the herd and grow sufficient arable crops and forage to remain self-sufficient.

Commenting on the deal, Duchy Head of Rural Christopher Sparrow said: “The Duchy is committed to encouraging tenants to develop and expand their businesses. We are also very supportive of any steps taken to ensure self-sufficiency and environmental sustainability. We are of the view that larger farms are more commercially viable over the longer term and this is exactly the sort of expansion that we would like to see. David has been a Duchy tenant for 35 years and we look forward to working with the family for many years to come.”

The Duchy of Lancaster’s rural lands and properties are divided into five Rural Surveys across the country: Cheshire, Lancashire, Staffordshire, Yorkshire and Southern. For further information, please visit our website: www.duchyoflancaster.co.uk.

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Duchy Acquires Industrial Estate In Greater Manchester

The Duchy of Lancaster has acquired Wardley Industrial Estate in Greater Manchester in a deal worth £5,175,000. The site, which is located on the A580 the main link road between Liverpool and Manchester, extends to 6.81 acres (2.75 hectares) and includes a purpose-built distribution warehouse of around 105,450 square feet.

The warehouse is located in the Borough of Salford, five miles to the North West of Manchester City Centre. It sits alongside three trade-counter units, providing a total GIA of 130,792 sq ft and is fully let to Clipper Logistics Plc, Design 2 Fit Ltd and Armordor Ltd.

Commenting on this latest acquisition, the Duchy’s Head of Urban Mike Andrews said: “This deal builds on our recent acquisitions of similar commercial properties in both Blackburn and Liverpool. The high demand for conveniently located, purpose-built warehouses continues across the country, driven by the flexible accommodation they offer. We are pleased to add this to our growing portfolio and will continue to invest in high quality industrial/warehouse properties wherever we believe that our active management can deliver significant value.”

Knight Frank acted on behalf of the Duchy and DTZ acted for Aberdeen Asset Management.

“The strategic location and asset management angles make this an exciting acquisition for our client,” added Steve Carrick, Head of North West Capital Markets at Knight Frank.

This is the third consecutive industrial/warehouse acquisition by the Duchy of Lancaster since the start of the year.

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Hive of Activity

Bee-keeping
12-year old Daniel Peach helps settle the bees into their new home

Following the launch of the Duchy’s new Beekeeping Grant last year, a number of families across the country have taken up the challenge and are now actively keeping bees.

For many this is a real family affair, providing a great opportunity for the younger generation to learn about bee keeping and the importance of bees to the ecosystem. Claire and Steve Peach in Staffordshire, for example, look after their bees with their 12-year old son Daniel and have enjoyed taking the opportunity to learn something new together.

Cloughton resident Christine Fishburn originally applied for a grant because her grandson Joseph who lives with her was interested in learning how to keep bees. With the help and support of Christine’s neighbour Andy, 14-year old Joseph now has two busy, healthy hives on the go, as well as two more nucleuses for which they are actively looking for queens. They have already extracted over 20lbs of natural honey from their hives which they have been selling to local residents.

The Duchy of Lancaster Beekeeping Grant, which has been over-subscribed since its launch last year, is intended to support and encourage the learning of traditional skills, while also ensuring the long-term survival of the indigenous UK bee population. In the last 12 months it has provided funding as a contribution towards the cost of training, start-up equipment and bees with which to start honey production.

Commenting on the initiative, Duchy Chief Executive Nathan Thompson said: “As a major owner of agricultural land, the Duchy takes great care to ensure environmental sustainability across the estates. This might mean investing in green energy sources, supporting the diversification of our tenants’ businesses or encouraging the passing on of traditional skills to successive generations. This has been a great initiative in terms of engaging youngsters and teaching them how to look after a creature which is vital to the long-term survival of the ecosystem.”

Although the Grant scheme is now closed, interested tenants are free to contact the Duchy via their local agent to express their interest.

 

 

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Duchy of Lancaster Streamlines Rural Surveys

The holdings of the Duchy of Lancaster have traditionally been administered in six separate units, known as Surveys. These have included five Rural Surveys (Lancashire, Yorkshire, Crewe and South, Needwood and Eastern) covering approximately 18,433 hectares of land across England and Wales and one Urban Survey made up of a number of retail and business properties owned by the Duchy.

This year, the Rural Surveys have been restructured to more accurately reflect their geographic footprints and socio-economic profiles. The new Surveys are: Cheshire, Lancashire, Staffordshire, Yorkshire and Southern. The Southern Survey includes land and property assets south of Staffordshire, extending from South Wales in the West to Lincolnshire in the East.

Realigned Rural Surveys
Realigned Rural Surveys

Commenting on the restructuring, Duchy CEO Nathan Thompson said: “The object of this exercise is to allow us to group those assets serving specific regional or socio-economic markets together. This in turn helps us to focus our resources on the specific needs of each of the communities we serve. As custodians of a very diverse portfolio of land and property assets across a wide area, we have to ensure that we are managing our responsibilities to these communities at all times, while also protecting the long-term commercial interests of the organization as a whole.”

The Urban Survey, which includes commercial assets in valuable locations such as central London, Manchester, Liverpool, Harrogate and other major cities, remains as before.

The Duchy’s investment portfolio, overall strategy and asset allocation is reviewed on a regular basis to ensure that the balance of holdings remains in the long-term interests of the whole estate.

For more detail on the new Surveys, please visit our website: www.duchyoflancaster.co.uk.

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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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