A Future Set In Stone

Two construction skills students in receipt of a Duchy of Lancaster bursary are heading for distinctions in their Finals next year. Peter Maynard and Tom Roscoe are both studying stonemasonry at Moulton College in Northamptonshire and have spent the last year applying their knowledge to practical training roles within the workplace.

These placements have included major restoration projects at Exeter Cathedral and the Roman site at Chester Farm in Wellingborough. Peter also represented the College at the National Skillbuild challenge in London where more than 80 students, trainees and apprenticeships demonstrated their skills in a wide range of disciplines including cabinet-making, dry stonewalling, carpentry, roofing, tiling and stonemasonry. Both have received distinctions in their studies throughout the year and are now preparing submissions for the Wellingborough Zoo project, with Peter producing a carving and Tom a sculpture for public display next year.

Commenting on the difference the bursary has made to the last year, Peter said: “Funding from the Duchy of Lancaster has helped me to make the most of my Level 2 diploma course. It helped me to take advantage of placement opportunities which have given me a great insight into restoration projects and to broaden my skillset to include specialist areas such as stone carving.”

Tom added: “Being a mature student, I’m all too aware of the value of the opportunities that come with studying stonemasonry at Moulton College. This award has helped to create a positive environment so that I can concentrate on progressing to become the best stonemason I can be, giving me a strong foundation for future employment in the industry.”

Congratulating Peter and Tom on an excellent year of academic and practical achievements, Duchy Head of Project Management Graeme Chalk said: “The Duchy bursary was created to encourage the development of traditional skills and craftsmanship so we are very pleased to hear of the excellent progress made by Peter and Tom over the last 12 months. The translation of learning into practical hands-on experience is vital for students following vocational courses and it is encouraging to see that both Peter and Tom have been able to take full advantage of the opportunities provided by the College.”

In addition to the construction skills bursary launched last year, the Duchy of Lancaster supports agricultural students at Myerscough and Harper Adams Colleges and invests over £25,000 each year in academic awards and grants.

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Active Woodland Management At Needwood

The Duchy of Lancaster is to partner with Natural England and the Forestry Commission to protect and improve 500 hectares of woodland on its Needwood Estate in Staffordshire.

Over the next five years the Duchy will implement a woodland improvement plan approved under the national Countryside Stewardship scheme. Particular areas of focus will include the restoration of ancient woodland sites to mainly native broadleaf species, thinning of stands, deadwood management, SSSI protection, bracken control, ride management and active squirrel and deer management. The five-year agreement is part of the Duchy’s longer term woodland management plan for the next 20 years.

Commenting on the partnership agreement, Duchy Head of Rural Christopher Sparrow said: “We are delighted to be working closely with Natural England and the Forestry Commission to deliver our plans for this woodland sited within the original ancient Royal Needwood Forest. There are over 500 hectares of this historic woodland and we are keen to preserve, protect and enhance it for future generations, opening areas up to the public wherever we can.”

The original 3,500-hectare Royal Forest at Needwood was gifted to Edmund Crouchback by Henry III in 1266 and became part of the historic Duchy of Lancaster inheritance when Henry IV came to the throne in 1399. Its extensive stocks of wolf, wild boar and fallow deer made it a Royal favourite until the enclosure of common lands in the early 19th century which resulted in significant deforestation.

In recent times, the Duchy of Lancaster has taken steps to protect the remaining 500 hectares of woodland, replanting native species and mixing new planting with mature woodland.

Today, the Duchy’s 2,995-hectare Needwood estate comprises some 50 farm tenancies, 59 residential properties and 51 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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Duchy Grants Lease For Tidal Power Project

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

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 in Merseyside,  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.  

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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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