Grown in Britain: Responsible Woodland Management

In a further demonstration of our commitment to environmental sustainability, the Duchy of Lancaster is backing the Grown in Britain (GiB) campaign with all of its rural woodlands accredited under the scheme.

Some 2,818 acres of Duchy-owned woodland in Cheshire, Lancashire, Staffordshire and Yorkshire have been certified by GiB, a non-for-profit organisation which aims to protect and promote British woods and forests. The Government-backed scheme seeks to ensure a sustainable future for UK forests and woodlands, protecting their natural environments and wildlife habitats whilst providing local employment and supporting the rural economy.

Much of the Duchy’s historic woodland originated from the Royal hunting parks of the past, including that at Needwood Forest and the Forest of Bowland. Today, some 1,815 remaining acres are actively maintained as part of the Duchy’s ongoing rural estate management.

Commenting on the Grown in Britain initiative Duchy Head of Rural Christopher Sparrow said: “Our indigenous species mean that we can produce timber which is of an extremely high standard, durable and strong. If we are serious about protecting our natural landscape and wildlife habitats we need to actively manage our woodland so that they not only survive but continue to thrive. Certification schemes such as these are key in recognising both the quality of the timber and the standard of environmental management in our woodlands.”

This is the latest in a series of environmental management initiatives introduced by the Duchy over the last 24 months. In 2016 it commissioned a detailed bio-diversity audit across all its rural estates and last year hosted a series of tenant workshops on responsible soil management. Under the current licensing agreement, the Duchy has signed up to Grown in Britain for the next 5 years.

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Encouraging Sporting Excellence

The Duchy of Lancaster continues to support the provision of sports facilities and infrastructure on its historic Higham Ferrers estate with an agreement in principle to the letting of 11 acres to football club AFC Rushden & Diamonds. This follows agreement for an extended lease term and additional land for existing tenants Higham Town FC and the granting of a new lease to the Northamptonshire FA.

The 30-hectare site in question is adjacent to the B645 Chelveston Road in Rushden and already includes the Moulton College campus. In October this year, the Duchy also agreed to release 5.5 acres for the building of a new free school for students with special educational needs.

Commenting on the agreement, Duchy Head of Rural Christopher Sparrow said: “The Duchy is very keen to support local residents by supporting the development of sports and educational infrastructure. This is a large parcel of land and we are working closely with our existing tenants Moulton College and Higham Town FC to ensure that we can accommodate their plans for future growth. We welcome this approach from AFC Rushden & Diamonds which should complement the existing provision of community based football with a more performance focused offering and create a hub for sporting and educational excellence on site.”

AFC Rushden & Diamonds was formed by supporters as a ‘phoenix club’ in 2011. Run by supporters, its ethos is “one fan, one vote, one community, one club” and it has been searching for a permanent home since its inception. The proposed lease provides for an initial 30-year term with scope for future expansion.

Chairman of AFC Rushden & Diamonds Ralph Burditt said: “This is a wonderful opportunity for the Club. Matters have reached this stage following years of hard work in searching for a permanent home for AFC R&D. It is something upon which we have been focused from day one and allows us to plot a roadmap for the next stage of the Club’s development. We are very excited about the next few years and working with other key stakeholders in the local area to provide a football facility that East Northants can be proud of.”

The Higham Ferrers estate extends across 818 hectares centred on Higham Ferrers and Wollaston in Northamptonshire. Part of the ancient inheritance, it has belonged to the Duchy of Lancaster since the 13th century.

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New Homes Approved For Newborough

The Duchy of Lancaster has secured planning permission for the conversion of existing agricultural buildings at Newborough Hall Farm in Staffordshire into a private residential development of four new family homes. The original listed farmhouse will also be fully refurbished as part of the scheme.

The design proposals focus on the use of traditional materials and vernacular architectural styling to create four individual dwellings with large open living space and substantial gardens to the rear. Supported by Historic England and local Conservation Officers, the development project provides for much-needed housing in one of Staffordshire’s most sought-after villages.

Commenting on the decision, Duchy Head of Project Management Graeme Chalk said: “The Duchy is mindful of the need to bring redundant barns and agricultural buildings back into use wherever possible. Newborough Hall Farm is a very attractive heritage building set in approximately 7.36 acres just off Hollybush Road. We wanted to ensure that any development here was sympathetic to the surrounding local environment, completed to the highest design standard and responded to local market need.

“Newborough is very popular with families and we believe that the proposed scheme will only add to its appeal. We are very pleased that the planning authority has responded so positively to our plans and look forward to taking this forward in due course.”

Newborough Hall Farm is one of 12 historic listed buildings on the Duchy’s Staffordshire Survey which is centred on the Needwood Estate and surrounding ancient woodland. The Needwood Estate has been part of the Duchy of Lancaster since its inception.

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We Will Remember Them

The Duchy of Lancaster was proud to support the City of Lancaster’s commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of the Armistice on 11th November 2018.

The day began at 6.00 am with a lone piper playing ‘The Battle’s O’er’ outside the John O’Gaunt gate. This was witnessed by the Vicar of Lancaster the Reverend Chris Newlands, County President of the Royal British Legion Lieutenant Colonel Richard Beatson DL, the Chief Executive of Lancaster City Council Mrs Susan Parsonage, the Mayor of Lancaster Councillor Andrew Kay and the Dean of Lancaster Cathedral as well as the Reverend Andreas Jensen from the Priory’s sister church in Goslar, Germany. Around 50 local residents and members of the local community also turned up to watch and to mark the start of the city’s remembrance services.

Later that evening a special Remembrance Service was held at the Priory Church in the presence of faith and secular leaders of the community and led by the Reverend Chris Newlands. The Lord-Lieutenant of Lancashire Lord Shuttleworth and his wife and former High Sheriff Lady Ann Shuttleworth were in attendance together with the Roman Catholic and Anglican Bishops of Lancaster.

At the conclusion of the service, the Last Post was played. Lord Shuttleworth then read the ‘Tribute to the Millions’ before the Lord-Lieutenant’s Cadet Oliver Pallister lit the beacon of remembrance at the Priory, relaying the flame to a second beacon on the top of the Castle’s mediaeval keep.

Constable of the Castle Mrs Pam Barker laid a wreath at the ‘There But Not There’ Tommie silhouette which carried a memorial stone specially carved by stone carver Alan Ward at his Lancaster Castle workshop.

The commemorative Tommie figure, wreath and memorial stone will remain on display at Lancaster Castle for the remainder of the year.

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New 5-Year Lease For After Adoption

A leading independent adoption agency has signed a new five-year lease on 3,440 square ft of space at the Duchy of Lancaster’s New Oxford House in Birmingham.

After Adoption originally took up office space on the first floor of New Oxford House in 2013, expanding into additional space on the fifth floor a year later. The new lease allows the organisation to combine its office and meeting rooms on the same floor, improving efficiency and providing sufficient room for further growth.

Commenting on the move, Duchy Head of Urban Mike Andrews said: “We are delighted to have been able to accommodate After Adoption in a bigger single space. By taking on the whole of the first floor, the organisation will now have access to multi-functional rooms, providing much greater flexibility and efficiency.

“New Oxford House is an attractive Art Deco building in a prime location right in the heart of Birmingham’s business district. We are currently refurbishing it floor by floor to provide prestige office suites for growing businesses and with its exceptional communication and transport links to the rest of the country we expect these to prove very popular.”

After Adoption works throughout England and Wales to help all those affected by adoption, from placing children with adoptive parents to supporting birth families and reuniting families. Over the past twenty years, it has pioneered work with birth mothers in prison, search and reunion services and new initiatives for adopted young people.

For information on office space available in this iconic building post-refurbishment, please contact KWB Property Management on 0121 233 2330.

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