A community project to transform a neglected and overgrown half acre site on the Duchy’s Cheshire Survey into an attractive and sustainable public space is taking shape, thanks in part to an award from the Duchy of Lancaster Benevolent Fund.
Located in front of St. Michael’s Church in the conservation hamlet of Crewe Green, the site abuts the Church wall and lych-gate but access has not been possible for several years and until recently the ground was covered with leaf mould, ground elder, brambles and unwanted debris. Now the entire area has been cleared, the original path restored and enhanced to permit disabled access and the historic oak tree in the centre of the space revealed to be enjoyed by future generations.
Working with the Parish Council and the Church Warden local resident Lynn Halliburton has rallied other local businesses and partner organisations to support the cause. “I really do believe that this space could become a restful and low maintenance garden for all members of the community. We want to encourage residents to take ownership of the garden and add to its development. There has already been talk of creating a sensory garden and we are organising a community bulb planting day later in the year.”
Duchy Head of Rural Christopher Sparrow has congratulated the Parish Council on the impressive progress made to date: “Community spaces are a vital part of village life and we are keen to support the Parish Council where we can on projects of this nature. The Benevolent Fund was set up to support community initiatives which enrich the lives of residents across the County Palatine and this project undoubtedly falls into that category. The approach to Crewe Green is a key thread through the Duchy estate and this new community space will definitely enhance its aspect and provide this historic Church with the setting it deserves.”
The hamlet of Crewe Green forms part of the Duchy of Lancaster’s Crewe estate which extends to 1,402 hectares to the east of the town centre. St Michaels Church and the adjoining vicarage were both built in 1857 for the 3rd Lord Crewe to a design by the renowned architect Sir George Gilbert Scott. The Grade II listed Church is recorded in the National Heritage List for England and the hamlet of Crewe Green contains 22 other Grade I and Grade II listed buildings, many of which remain in the ownership of the Duchy.
Aldi is to build a new store on the North West corner of the Crewe estate in Cheshire.
At a meeting of the Cheshire East Strategic Planning Board last month Councillors voted to approve the application and permit the development on a 1.5-hectare site off University Way. The decision overturns a previous recommendation for refusal on the grounds that the site was allocated for employment in the Local Plan.
Councillors argued that the employment opportunities offered by the new store, together with overwhelming public support for the scheme justified a change in policy to allow permission to be granted.
Commenting on the decision Duchy Head of Project Management Graeme Chalk said: “This is a high quality scheme which enhances this area of the town and offers over 50 new jobs for local people. It will also bring an empty site into productive use and avoids the potential of Aldi leaving Crewe altogether. We believe that it will assist in the ongoing regeneration of this area of the town and look forward to working with Aldi as they deliver the new store in the months ahead.”
The new Aldi stores will replace the retailer’s existing shop on the Grand Junction Retail Park which closes in March 2020.
The Duchy of Lancaster’s Crewe estate extends to 1,402 hectares to the east of the town centre and is centred on the historic properties of Crewe Hall and Crewe Hall Farm where the Duchy has created a thriving office location in converted agricultural buildings. It also includes farms and residential properties in villages such as Weston and Crewe Green.
The Duchy of Lancaster has today published its financial results for the year ended 31st March 2019.
During the year:
• Net surplus increased by 7.6 % to £21.7m
• Net asset value increased by 2.8% to £548.6m.
Nathan Thompson, CEO and Clerk of the Duchy Council, said: “We continue to develop a robust and sustainable business aimed at delivering attractive long-term returns while protecting the capital value of the Duchy inheritance. A focus on quality and sustainability supported by our decision to bring the management of our Surveys in house has served us well in the year, further improving our tenant relationships, reducing our voids and increasing our overall efficiency.
“Over the last 12 months the Duchy purchased £2.3m of land and property and invested £6.8m in repairs and improvements. Our strategic land business is a growing area of focus as we seek to respond to urgent housing need across the country.
“Once again I would like to offer my personal thanks to our tenants and to all members of the Duchy team for helping to make this another positive year of growth.”
The Duchy of Lancaster is a historic portfolio of land and assets held in trust for the reigning Sovereign. It provides the Monarch with a source of income that is independent of Government and the public purse. The Duchy is self-financing and does not receive any public funds in connection with its activities.
To view/download a copy of the Annual Report and Accounts for the year ended 31st March 2019, please visit the Financial Reporting page on our website (www.duchyoflancaster.co.uk).
The Reverend Canon Thomas Woodhouse has been appointed Chaplain of the Queen’s Chapel of the Savoy by Her Majesty The Queen in Right of Her Duchy of Lancaster. He will take up his new post from 1st October 2019.
Since 2014 Thomas has been Team Rector of Dorchester and The Winterbournes. Prior to that he served in a number suburban and rural parishes in the Diocese of Gloucester, including several years as Vicar of Royal Wootton Bassett.
Thomas believes strongly in the power of partnership: “The focus of my ministry is to work with others to renew our worshipping communities. I believe in growing people’s confidence and empowering them to reach out into the community and make a difference. I am looking forward to using my experience and enthusiasm to help grow the relationship between the worshipping community of the Chapel and their neighbours across the City of London and beyond.”
The Queen’s Chapel of the Savoy is a ‘free’ chapel or ‘peculiar’ which has belonged to the Duchy of Lancaster since it was built in 1512. Located at the heart of the historic ‘manor of the Savoy’ it is today the last surviving building of a hospital founded by Henry VII for the poor, needy and homeless. It became a Chapel Royal by Royal Command in 2016.
Commenting on Thomas’s appointment Duchy CEO Nathan Thompson said: “We look forward to welcoming Thomas and his family into the Duchy family when he takes up his new post. We take enormous pride in the history and heritage of the Savoy estate and the Chapel is without doubt the jewel in the crown. It has stood here offering support and sustenance to those in need since the sixteenth century and we count ourselves extremely privileged to be able to enjoy it over 500 years later. I know that Thomas will do his very best to actively engage with both the congregation and all members of the community at the earliest opportunity.”
For further information about The Queen’s Chapel of the Savoy and details of forthcoming services please visit the website www.royalchapelsavoy.org.
The Duchy has appointed a new senior PA/Rural Administrator to support the Rural Teams based at Lancaster Castle.
Prior to joining the Duchy Maria Roskell spent two and a half years in a similar position on another private landed estate in Lancashire. She is a highly experienced PA/Administrator with a good understanding of rural estate management and the importance of communication in ensuring positive tenant relations.
Born and brought up near the Duchy’s Myerscough Estate in the heart of the Lancashire Survey, Maria is married with two children. A keen traveller and sailor, she and her family live in Forton on the outskirts of Lancaster.
Commenting on her appointment, Duchy Head of Rural Christopher Sparrow said: “We are delighted to welcome Maria to the Duchy. We have developed an excellent team at Lancaster Castle and are keen to ensure that they get the first-class support that they need. Maria’s particular skillset and experience adds to the talent pool we now have in Lancaster, helping us to continue to grow and to improve.”
Maria herself is enjoying the new role: “The Duchy of Lancaster covers an incredibly broad range of lands and properties here in the North. The tenants are hugely loyal and many stay on the Surveys for several generations so it is very important that we provide them with a professional and responsive service. My role is to support the Rural Surveyors responsible for each of the estates so that they can do just that.”
The Duchy of Lancaster has decentralised many of its core functions since it opened its new office suite at the Castle at the end of 2016, moving rural estate management, building surveying and many of the accounting functions from London to Lancaster. The Northern office now looks after three of the Duchy’s five Rural Surveys, namely Lancashire, Yorkshire and Cheshire.