Duchy Brings Estate Management In-House

The Duchy of Lancaster has brought the management of all Rural Surveys in house with effect from 1st October 2018.

As part of this change, the Duchy has restructured its rural estate management teams. Two Regional Surveyors of Lands will lead on the Rural Surveys working out of the Duchy’s London HQ and recently established Lancaster Castle office. Each Regional Surveyor is supported by at least one Estates Surveyor charged with ensuring direct and regular contact with tenants. The team is led by Christopher Sparrow, as the Duchy’s Head of Rural.

Commenting on the move Duchy CEO Nathan Thompson said: “We have brought greater focus to the management of our rural portfolio with the introduction of new in-house teams across all Surveys. This is a tremendously exciting time for the Duchy and we are extremely positive about the future. The move will improve levels of communication and help in our ongoing drive to ensure first-class presentation of our assets.”

In the new structure Andrew Johnson is Regional Surveyor of Lands in the North and Jon Sellick Regional Surveyor of Lands in the South. The day-to-day management of the estates on each Survey will be undertaken by Naomi Browne in Staffordshire, Laura Airton in Lancashire and Rebecca Oddy in Yorkshire. Naomi Browne and Laura Airton will also look after farms and residential properties in Cheshire whilst the Southern Survey will continue to be managed by Jon Sellick.
Each of the teams is supported by the Duchy’s senior team, rural accountants and financial analysts, project managers and administrative staff.

Duchy Head of Rural Christopher Sparrow added: “We are increasingly looking at Duchy-wide initiatives on bio-diversity, environmental management and standards of presentation on our farms and rural residential properties. Bringing the estate management function back in hand allows us to deliver more consistent standards across our portfolio. I look forward to working with the new teams in the months ahead as we continue to improve the levels of service we offer to our tenants whilst building closer relationships with other key stakeholders across our estates.”

There are five Rural Surveys within the Duchy: Cheshire, Lancashire, Southern, Staffordshire and Yorkshire. The Cheshire and Staffordshire Surveys are centred around the core Crewe and Needwood Estates, whereas Lancashire and Yorkshire each includes four separate Estates and Southern combines land holdings and property assets in Derbyshire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire and South Wales.

For further information on the various estates which make up the Rural Surveys please visit our website: www.duchyoflancaster.co.uk.

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New Special School To Be Built At Higham Ferrers

The Duchy of Lancaster has agreed to release 2.2 hectares of land for the building of a new free school at Rushden on its historic Higham Ferrers estate.

Built by the Department for Education and to be run by Friars Academy Trust, this specially designed secondary school will offer places to 145 students with special education needs. Places will be offered to 11 to 19 year olds with moderate to severe learning difficulties, including students with autism and those with an education health and care plan naming the school. Admissions will be coordinated via Northampton County Council’s Education, Health and Care team. 

Due for completion in 2020, the project includes the construction of a new single-storey school building on a greenfield site to the east of the A6 previously used for grazing. The site also borders the eastern boundary of Moulton College and the project plans include the redevelopment of the surrounding area, including an increased provision of sports facilities for community use.

Suzzanne Ijewsky, Executive Headteacher of Friars Academy commented: “I am delighted that a site has now been secured for this much-needed school which will help meet the rising demand for additional special school places in Northamptonshire.  Friars East Free School will mirror the outstanding curriculum, pastoral support and extra-curricular opportunities offered at Friars Academy, enabling our children and young people to maximise their potential.”

Duchy Head of Rural Christopher Sparrow added: “We already have strong links with neighbouring Moulton College and are very pleased to be able to facilitate this important new facility for the area. The school environment has a really important role to play in education and it is critical that the buildings and grounds are designed to cater for the specific needs of these students. We look forward to watching the new building take shape in the months ahead.”

Construction is expected to start on site in late summer 2019.

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Ripley’s Farm Let To Young Yorkshire Farming Family

Following a rigorous selection process, the Duchy of Lancaster has awarded the tenancy of Ripley’s Farm on the Cloughton Estate in Yorkshire to Adam and Claire Turnbull, formerly of Grange Farm in Sinnington. The Turnbull family will take over from Ian and Suzanne Burnett, Duchy tenants at Ripley’s Farm for three generations and whose care and stewardship of the holding has been exemplary over that period.

Part of the Duchy’s Cloughton Estate, Ripley’s Farm covers 255 hectares of mixed arable and grazing land in a commanding position overlooking Scarborough Castle and the Yorkshire Coast. The steading includes a substantial 6-bedroomed farmhouse and a number of good quality farm buildings, with plenty of space for Adam and Claire to grow their young family and expand their farming business.

The steading is situated approximately two miles to the north west of Burniston village and five miles from Scarborough benefitting from excellent transport and communication links.

Commenting on the letting, the Duchy’s Head of Rural Christopher Sparrow said: “It is unusual for us to be able to offer such a large, well equipped farm to the open market and the response has been extremely positive. We received applications from a number of excellent candidates and congratulate Adam and Claire on securing the tenancy. We wish them both every happiness in their new home and hope that they too will be part of the Duchy family of tenants for generations to come.”

Adam previously worked on the family dairy farm for 12 years and has been a partner in the business since 2013. His wife Claire is a qualified dental nurse and has recently opened a new milliner’s shop in Malton in partnership with Adam’s mother. The couple also have a young son Oliver who is almost 2 years old.

“We were looking for a family home with plenty of space and scope for growth,” says Adam “and Ripley’s Farm is perfect. We already have lots of ideas for building up the business and are really excited about the potential for the future. We love the house and the location and we are looking forward to writing our own family history here as part of the local community in the months and years ahead.”

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Lancaster Castle: the View from the Stronghold

The Duchy of Lancaster has entered into a partnership with Lancaster University’s History Department to deliver a free open learning course based on the history of the region as seen through the prism of Lancaster Castle. Available to online learners across the world, the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) is the first of its kind to be launched by the Department and is expected to attract up to 10,000 students.

The title of this innovative new course is ‘Lancaster Castle and Northern English History: the View from the Stronghold’. It explores the broader trends in regional history across two millennia, from the Romans to the 21st century, through the legacy of historic buildings and artefacts on site at the Castle.

The MOOC will be run by the Regional Heritage Centre (RHC) based in the History Department, with the assistance of a team of MOOC specialists from Lancaster University’s Information Systems Services. The aim of the course is to provide participants with a better understanding of the significance played by the Castle in key events, the ability to relate famous events and individuals to deeper social and political developments across the region and provide an overview of a broad sweep of the nation’s history.

Commenting on the initiative, Debbie Garritty Head of Communications for the Duchy said: “Lancaster Castle is a historic building of major international importance and interest. We are very pleased that the University is making its rich and complex history available to a wider audience and will be following the MOOC with interest in the months ahead.”

Director of the RHC Dr Fiona Edmonds added: “Lancaster Castle is an outstanding historical site, not only because it is so visually impressive, but also because its history is multi-layered. This course enables us to showcase the fascinating past of north-west England for a global audience”.

The online course, which is open to learners of all ages and abilities, starts on Monday 29th October and registration is now open. To register please visit: www.futurelearn.com/courses/lancaster-castle/.

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Inspiring Others To Look To The Land

An inspirational farmer on the Duchy’s Whitewell Estate in Lancashire is taking the countryside into classrooms across the UK.

John Alpe was first introduced to the ‘educational access’ initiative under the Countryside Stewardship Scheme in 2000. He now gives around a dozen talks to schools, colleges and groups across the UK each year as well as hosting groups of overseas students at New Laund Farm, a 185-acre steading which sits in a commanding position overlooking the whole of the Whitewell estate, including the River Hodder and the historic Inn at Whitewell.

John believes that those who would not normally have access to farms and open countryside benefit hugely from a clearer understanding of what constitutes farming life. He actively encourages footpaths and open access across his holding and welcomes ramblers and walkers. He has even learned to say the words “Hello” and “Welcome to our farm” in several different languages to put overseas visitors at their ease. In 2012 he installed a wheelchair-friendly access route for ‘Trampers’ (a type of 4-wheeled drive electric buggy) so that disabled groups could visit and enjoy the spectacular scenery across Whitewell and the Trough of Bowland.

Commenting on the range of educational activities John has been involved in over the years, Duchy Head of Rural Christopher Sparrow said: “John’s experience of farming and his enthusiasm for this way of life is an absolute inspiration. We are indebted to John for investing so much time and effort promoting life on the land and for demonstrating so clearly the benefits that a career in farming can offer to many who may never have considered it as a possible option before.”

In addition to his ‘teaching’ role, John manages three farms on the Whitwell Estate and runs a herd of 80 dairy cows and a flock of around 1,000 sheep. A keen advocate of organic farming, which avoids the use of pesticides, artificial fertilisers and unnecessary antibiotics, he supplies milk to the Organic Milk Suppliers Cooperative.

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