Lettings Agents Appointed In Lancashire and Yorkshire

The Duchy of Lancaster has appointed two firms of independent local estate agents to let and review applications for tenancies at its residential properties in Lancashire and Yorkshire.

Armistead Barnett in Lancashire and Harris Shields in Yorkshire will assist the Duchy’s in-house rural team with the marketing of available properties and will assist in the pre-selection of applicants put forward to the Duchy for consideration as tenants.

Commenting on the new appointments, the Duchy’s Rural Surveyor of Lands for the North Andrew Johnson said: “The Duchy is very keen to ensure that we get the right tenant in the right property and to do that we need to look at as many interested applicants as possible. By appointing a local estate agency on each of the Surveys we gain access to up-to-date market knowledge and additional resources on the ground. This will help us to get through the pre-selection process and find the best match for our properties more quickly and will hopefully provide the would-be tenants with greater flexibility around viewing dates and times.”

The Duchy has been investing significantly in its residential portfolio in recent years and has established its own design guide and quality specification which is being rolled out across the estates as properties become vacant. In the last 24 months, the Duchy has completed around a dozen refurbishment projects in the North and a total of almost 60 nationwide.

Duchy Head of Rural Christopher Sparrow added: “The market has responded really warmly to the Duchy design guide and wherever we have a property under refurbishment we receive enquiries and expressions of interest very early on. These properties offer people a rare chance to live in a period property within a rural location – but one that has all the style, comfort and convenience of a modern family home.”

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Foxholes Refurbishment Showcases Duchy Standard

The Duchy of Lancaster has brought a Staffordshire cottage back to life transforming it into a modern family home which was let prior to completion.

Foxholes Cottage on the Needwood Estate became vacant in December 2016 when a long-standing tenancy came to an end. After taking the property back, the Duchy team came up with a scheme that would update the property in line with the Duchy design guide and quality specification. The net result is a superbly appointed family home standing in 2.64 acres and with stabling for 3 horses.

The refurbishment project, which included an upgrade of the outbuildings adjacent to the house itself took 6 months to complete and included the installation of a new kitchen and bathroom. A purpose-built glass portico was designed to maximise natural light and French doors were installed to the front of the property to allow tenants to take full advantage of the view of both the garden and the surrounding open countryside.

Such was the level of interest in this project that several would-be tenants came forward while the refurbishment works were underway. As soon as the project was completed, a 3-year lease was agreed with local residents Mr and Mrs Skipper who became aware of the property while keeping their horses at a neighbouring Duchy livery yard.

Commenting on the move, Mrs Skipper said: “The cottage is in a lovely location and the quality of the renovation works is superb. We fell in love with the property while the refurbishment works were underway as my horse was previously stabled at the neighbouring Foxholes Farm. We are delighted to have secured the tenancy and are looking forward to being part of the Duchy’s Needwood estate.”

Duchy Head of Rural Christopher Sparrow added: “The Duchy has been systematically bringing its residential properties up to a common quality standard across the estates. Whenever these historic properties return to us, we give careful consideration as to how best to improve the quality of accommodation on offer to new and existing tenants. Foxholes Cottage is a clear example of a historic property that has been creatively refurbished and improved to reflect contemporary family living.”

Foxholes Cottage is one of 60 residential properties on the Duchy’s 3,000-hectare Needwood estate, which also includes ancient woodland, 50 farm tenancies and a similar number of commercial and miscellaneous lettings. The commercial interests across the estate range from specialist equestrian centres and liveries to a biomass wood chip producer, live/work units, a private airfield and shooting and fishing licenses.

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New Homes Underway In Cloughton

Mulgrave Properties has started work on a new-build scheme which will deliver much-needed quality housing on the Duchy’s Cloughton estate in Yorkshire.

The 3.5-acre site was previously occupied by Town Farm before the Duchy in partnership with long-standing farming tenant Joe Green and his family agreed to relocate the business to a new purpose-built steading on Field Lane. Since that time, design proposals have been developed by Mulgrave Estates and submitted as part of a formal planning application which was approved by Scarborough Borough Council in 2017. The scheme will now be delivered as part of a joint venture partnership with the Duchy of Lancaster.

The approved scheme, which is expected to take until Spring 2020 to complete, will provide local homebuyers with a choice of one-, two- and three-bedroomed homes. All 24 properties will be built to the highest quality standard and have been sympathetically designed to reflect the local vernacular.

Phase 1, which began in December, will include the careful demolition of the redundant farm buildings, groundworks and site preparation. Construction of the new properties themselves is expected to start in summer 2018.

Commenting on the scheme, Duchy Head of Project Management Graeme Chalk said: “This is the second joint venture partnership the Duchy has entered into with a leading property developer after we agreed a similar model with Linden Homes in Harrogate last year. As a historic landowner and responsible landlord, we take great care to ensure that any development on Duchy estates is appropriate in terms of scale and architectural style. We also recognise that there is a pressing need for new high quality homes in many areas of the country and we are keen to play our part in delivering these wherever appropriate.”

Mulgrave Properties is the residential property development arm of the 350-year old Mulgrave Estate. As a developer, Mulgrave specialises in building high quality, design-led residential developments that complement and enhance their local surroundings. For Town Farm, Malton–based architects Bramhall Blenkharn and planning consultants Yew Tree Associates also worked on the design proposals and preparation of the formal planning application.

The Cloughton estate forms part of the ancient inheritance and came into the Duchy of Lancaster in 1267. Today, it is made up of 1,000 hectares of arable land, as well as 40 residential properties.  Cloughton itself is a small coastal village four miles north of Scarborough on the Duchy of Lancaster’s Yorkshire Survey.

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Duchy Gets Go-Ahead For Large Refurbishment Project on Strand

The Duchy of Lancaster has obtained planning permission from Westminster City Council for the £multi-million refurbishment of Norman House at 105-109 Strand in the heart of the Savoy estate.

The decision comes as a result of a detailed planning application developed by a multi-disciplinary team and submitted in August 2017. The development project includes a major refurbishment of the existing 1920s building as well as the addition of two new storeys which will improve rooflines at the front and rear.

This will be the largest single refurbishment project ever undertaken by the Duchy. Once completed, the new scheme will provide a landmark retail, restaurant and office space expected to be worth over £60 million in value.

Commenting on the approval, Duchy Head of Urban Mike Andrews said: “The improvement of the Duchy’s holdings and public realm on the Strand has been identified as a key priority for the Duchy of Lancaster. We are delighted with the support we have received from Westminster City Council and believe that the finished scheme will not only enhance the streetscape, but will attract new businesses, shoppers and visitors to this part of the City.

“The scheme is designed to appeal to high quality retailers, restauranteurs and corporates who are looking for modern, open spaces which are both flexible and functional.  The refurbished Norman House will deliver these spaces, while retaining the charm and appeal of the building’s original architecture.”

The project team responsible for the redevelopment proposals includes architectural firm ORMS who were first appointed to look at the future potential of the building back in June 2016. Other members include planning consultants Gerald Eve LLP, project management company Quartz, structural engineers Heyne Tillett Steel, mechanical and electrical engineering firm Hoare Lea and cost consultants Exigere.

Work is expected to start on site in 2019, with completion due in 2020.

Norman House forms part of the Savoy estate, an area of land which has belonged to the Duchy of Lancaster since the 13th century. While the front of the existing building faces the Strand, the rear of the building overlooks the listed Queen’s Chapel of the Savoy and the famous Savoy Steps. Great care has been taken in developing the design proposals to ensure that this view is preserved and enhanced and that linkages are improved between the front and rear.

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New Rural Surveyor Joins The Team

In 2015 the Duchy of Lancaster realigned its Rural Surveys and brought the management of its Southern Survey in-house under its new Head of Rural, Christopher Sparrow. Three years on, the Survey has expanded by 50 per cent following a series of strategic acquisitions and reviews. This has prompted the need to recruit a new Rural Surveyor to fulfil the role of Property Manager for the South as well as leading on some exciting Duchy-wide rural initiatives.

Jonathan Sellick MRICS FAAV joins the Duchy from estate management company Burhill Developments and was previously with Strutt & Parker as part of its Land Management team. Prior to that, Jonathan spent four and half years with Smiths Gore in Winchester managing estates for a number of institutional clients. A graduate of Birmingham University, Jonathan completed his MSc in Rural Estate Management at The Royal Agricultural College in 2008.

Commenting on his appointment, Duchy Head of Rural Christopher Sparrow said: “Jonathan joins us at an exciting time, with further potential growth identified in Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire and a varied portfolio of tenants and estates to manage. The Duchy has recently brought the management of two other Surveys in-house – Lancashire and Yorkshire – and is developing a model which will ensure consistency of approach across all of our estates.”

There are five Rural Surveys within the Duchy: Cheshire, Lancashire, Southern, Staffordshire and Yorkshire. The Southern Survey incorporates land and property assets in South Wales, Northamptonshire, Lincolnshire and Derbyshire. It also includes the original gift of lands which began the ancient Duchy of Lancaster inheritance, the de Montfort estate of Higham Ferrers given to Edmund Crouchback by his father Henry III in 1265.


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