Duchy Grants Lease For Tidal Power Project

The Duchy of Lancaster has granted a lease over part of the Lancashire foreshore to facilitate the development of a new flood protection and tidal barrage scheme over the Wyre estuary.

Marine power specialists Atlantis Resources Limited are the lead developers on the project which is designed to produce up to 300GWh of affordable green energy per year for local commercial and domestic use.  Over the next 3 years, Atlantis will work with the Duchy, Wyre and Lancashire Councils, local stakeholders and investors to gain the necessary permissions before starting installation work on site.  Tenders are expected to be issued early next year and the new facility is expected to be fully operational by 2023.

Commenting on the agreement Duchy Head of Project Management Graeme Chalk said: “The Duchy believes in encouraging sustainability, including the use of green energy and renewables. We are pleased to be able to facilitate the development of this project which we hope will not only offer low cost energy for local businesses and residents but will add new employment opportunities and economic benefits to the wider community.”

CEO of Atlantis Resources Tim Cornelius believes that this project could set the benchmark for similar projects across the UK: “This low cost barrage over the Wyre could be a pathfinder project for other tidal power schemes under consideration, including those on Merseyside, in Cardiff and over the Solway. The development, construction and operation of tidal barrages could stimulate local economies across the country, establishing improved infrastructure and creating job and supply chain opportunities. It also helps to bring a better balance to the UK’s renewable portfolio which is currently heavily weighted in favour of offshore wind.”

The Foreshore Survey which runs between the midpoint of the River Mersey in the south to Barrow in Furness in the north forms part of the Duchy of Lancaster’s ancient inheritance.  Extensive interests were sold during the 19th century, including the River Mersey Docks and land along the famous Blackpool Promenade. Today, the Foreshore Survey includes almost 100 individual lettings for moorings, pipe bridges and outfall structures, wild fowling licences, sheep and cattle grazing on coastal marshes, sub-sea pipelines and fibre-optic cables.

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Duchy Appoints New Team in the North

Following the announcement that the Duchy of Lancaster wished to strengthen the management of its rural estates, we are pleased to announce a number of key appointments in the North.

From 1st November 2017, Rural Surveyor and Land Agent Andrew Johnson took up a new post as Rural Surveyor North with overall responsibility for the Duchy’s Lancashire and Yorkshire Surveys. Andrew was born in Lancashire and raised on the family smallholding, which now runs a small herd of Beef Shorthorn cattle. For the past six years he has been an associate at Savills’ Clitheroe office where he managed a range of client estates and properties including the Duchy’s Lancashire Survey.

The Northern team has been further strengthened by three other new recruits, Assistant Rural Surveyor Leyla Green, Rural Accountant Ralph Whitehead and Office Administrator/PA Emma Clarke.

Chartered Surveyor and RICS valuer Leyla Green joins the Duchy team after four years at The Brown Rural Partnership in Cheshire where she worked on the renovation of a number of traditional rural buildings as well as managing compulsory purchase schemes for a variety of clients.

Lancastrian accountant Ralph Whitehead has been Group Finance Manager of Cityblock since February 2015 working as Head of Finance for a family-run student property company. He previously worked at Centrica and GSK before taking on the role of Rural Accountant for the Duchy of Lancaster.

To complete the team, Emma Clarke has been appointed as the Office Administrator/PA for the Duchy’s Northern office. The new recruits will join Project Manager Ian Bartlett and Head of Communications Debbie Garritty in the purpose-built Duchy office suite at Lancaster Castle which opened in September 2016.

Commenting on the appointments, Duchy CEO Nathan Thompson said: “The Duchy has always maintained that while its head may be in London, its heart is in Lancaster. The development of a new office suite within Lancaster Castle is a clear statement of intent and by recruiting a team who will be based here we are further demonstrating our commitment to the Castle, the city and to the county.

“We believe that this transfer of some regional functions to a base outside of London should help us to improve our support, communication and visibility with our tenants and give us a better understanding of any local issues and concerns. I would like to welcome all members of the team to the Duchy family and look forward to working with them in their new roles.”

The Duchy of Lancaster is also consolidating the management of its rural estates in Cheshire and Staffordshire bringing both Surveys together under a single lead surveyor. Paul Hutchinson, a director of Savills York office, was previously the managing agent responsible for the Duchy’s Yorkshire Survey. Paul will now lead on Cheshire and Staffordshire, supported by Property Managers Jessica Cartwright and Naomi Browne.

All rural teams will work closely with the Duchy’s Head of Rural Christopher Sparrow and other members of the senior management team.

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Works Underway On Major Conservation Project

Preparatory work for the next phase of the refurbishment and restoration of Lancaster Castle started on site last month and the demolition of the former Prison Visitors building is well underway.

Scaffolding is now being erected to allow for the removal of stone to the Castle’s rear curtain wall so that this can be lowered to its original height. Once completed, this work will restore historic sightlines, reinforcing the link between the Castle and the Priory.

The removal of the Prison Visitors building will reveal the historic Kitchen Courtyard, the Male Felons and Kings Evidence Towers as well as the former Prison Hospital building and allow these heritage buildings to be brought back into use.

Commenting on the progress of the works to date, Duchy Head of Project Management Graeme Chalk said: “This is a really exciting opportunity to create a much greater public open space and reveal many of buildings which have been hidden from view for generations. We have a team of dedicated and skilled craftsmen who will deliver this next phase with minimal disruption to local residents and visitors.”

During the works, the shop and tour guide ticket desk have been moved to the ground floor of A-Wing. Here visitors can also view a standing exhibition of prison life in a number of the cells while they are waiting to start the tour.

“We know that some visitors will be disappointed that there is no permanent café facility at the Castle for the moment,” added Mr Chalk, “but we hope that this temporary inconvenience will be worth the wait when the new shop, café/restaurant and conference suite is opened in 2019.”

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Green Hotel Goes For Gold

A building which forms part of the Duchy of Lancaster’s historic Harrogate estate has been awarded a Gold Award by sustainability body Green Tourism. The Cairn Hotel on Ripon Road is the first hotel in Harrogate to have achieved this – the highest standard of excellence achievable.

Green Tourism works with accommodation providers and visitor attractions across the country, encouraging sustainability, energy and water efficiency, efficient waste management, environmental biodiversity and ethical business practices.

The citation for this year’s Award calls the Cairn Hotel ‘inspirational’ and ‘outstanding’ and states that the hotel has been rewarded for:

• Achieving the highest standards of sustainability with a strong, broad ethos and excellent practices throughout
• Using the latest technologies, from LED lighting to efficient boilers and renewables
• Efficient control of resource use and demonstrating effective monitoring with targets for savings
• Green procurement, including sustainable fish/meat sources, a range of ethical products and working with local suppliers to provide fresh, local and often organic items
• Changes in working practices, bringing significant benefits to the business, community and supply chain.

Built on land which has been part of the ancient Duchy inheritance since 1372, the original building was converted into a hotel in the late nineteenth century when visits to Harrogate’s famous spa waters were at their most popular. It was then privately run as an independent concern until 1996 when it became part of the Strathmore Group. The Duchy of Lancaster has retained the freehold throughout.

The Strathmore Group has recently started a programme of repair works designed to protect and preserve the fabric of the building while improving its energy performance.
Commenting on the Award, Duchy Head of Urban Mike Andrews said: “It is particularly impressive for a historic building which is 127 years old to have been awarded the Gold standard. I would like to congratulate everyone involved on this really excellent achievement.”

Green Tourism is recognised by UK national and regional government as a crucial part of its drive towards sustainable tourism. The organisation is independently validated by the International Centre for Responsible Tourism (ICRT) on behalf of VisitEngland, VisitWales and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and is endorsed by both VisitScotland and Failte Ireland.

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Pontefract FC’s Latest Signing

Pontefract Collieries Football Club (PCFC) has signed a new 25-year lease on their current premises at Beechnut Lane on the Duchy of Lancaster’s Pontefract Estate in West Yorkshire.  PCFC has been a tenant of the Duchy since the Club first moved here from its former home in Ackworth Road.  

Situated near the site of the old Prince of Wales colliery, the football ground is fully floodlit and holds approximately 1,200 spectators.  The main stand is equipped with a terrace, cover and seating, with seats recovered from the former Manchester City ground at Maine Road prior to its demolition in 2004.

Commenting on the new lease, Duchy Head of Rural Christopher Sparrow said: “This is an important community sports facility and the current owners, management team and fans have invested time, money and effort in its upkeep. We believe strongly in the power of local sports clubs as a way of inspiring young people and bringing fans of all ages together as a single community. We are therefore very pleased to have reached agreement with the Club for another 25-year lease at Beechnut Lane.”

There has been a football club at Pontefract since the 1890s when a side composed mainly as soldiers competed in the West Yorkshire League as Pontefract Garrison. Although by the late 1920s the Pontefract Borough Club had reached the heights of the Yorkshire League, the Club failed to finish the 1929-30 season. Then in 1935 a club called Tanshelf Gems acquired a ground on Ackworth Road and renamed itself Pontefract United.

The Pontefract Collieries side was formed at the end of the Second World War and a fierce rivalry ensued, with both teams playing in the West Yorkshire League. In 1960 the old Collieries Club became extinct and a couple of years later United merged with a local youth side and adopted the name for themselves.

Today, Pontefract Collieries Football Club is a founder member of the Northern Counties East League (NCEL) and currently plays in its Premier Division.

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