We work with estate owners to help them open up opportunities and celebrate and secure valuable heritage assets for future generations.
A Strategic Overview
Often, the process of working together starts by reviewing the built assets across the estate. The purpose of this is to understand where key development opportunities may exist. Unlocking this potential can generate the funds needed to create further value elsewhere.
Working with one estate, we identified potential development land. Following discussions with the local planning authority has allowed the site to be marketed and sold with a significant uplift in value.
Often, we can use Class Q of the Permitted Development Order to secure permission to convert underused barns into high-value residential developments. This allows buildings that bring little or no financial return to the estate to be sold, providing funding for unique one-off capital projects.
Investing and Realising Value
Once funds become available it is possible to consider investment opportunities across the estate. This may involve upgrading existing buildings or converting unusual or listed buildings to deliver high-value accommodation that will generate higher levels of sustainable revenue. Our approach is to develop appropriate, sensitive designs that will secure the necessary planning consents required to deliver valuable properties.
Working with an estate on the Herefordshire-Worcestershire border, we worked to transform a courtyard of derelict buildings dating from the 16th century into a productive and sustainable enterprise centred around a beautiful, contemporary restaurant.
This was followed by a subsequent phase that delivered rooms where the restaurant’s guests could stay overnight, a key requirement that emerged following the restaurant’s opening.
Another key project was the development of a gamekeeper’s cottage on the estate. By providing a high quality dwellinghouse, the estate was able to attract and retain a skilled individual to develop the shoot on the estate, provide animal husbandry and enhance security. At the same time, the dwelling added to the estate’s overall building portfolio, delivering another capital asset
We have also worked with estates to develop exceptional dwellinghouses located in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Often, new dwellings are required as new generations take over the estate. By converting existing dwellings or developing new ones, we can help unlock multi-generational living as these key transitions take place.
Energy Generation and Optimisation Across Estates
As the country as a whole works towards meeting its 2050 net carbon zero targets, it is critical for estates to consider the energy efficiency of their building portfolio to ensure a sustainable future. Our Sustainability Creed gives a helpful framework in this regard and provides us with a tool to review how buildings can be made more energy efficient in an effective and realistic manner.
We can look at the energy use of existing buildings on the site to consider how sensitive upgrades can reduce that use. We would expect an upgraded building to use between a quarter and a fifth of the energy used by a typical building on the estate, helping to deliver the transformational change required as well as ensuring homes meet the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards required by law.
We also help to consider how energy is managed across an entire estate. This includes looking at where there may be opportunities to generate power using photovoltaic arrays or micro-generation projects using water. We can then look at ways to multiply that energy using air, ground or water heat pump technologies. Finally, we look at how best to store energy, whether using battery or heat store technologies.
Working with Communion
Our process provides a complete service that delivers high-value results in keeping with an estate’s heritage and future.
Stage Zero of our process gives the opportunity to carry out the strategic review of the estate.
Stage One takes individual projects from idea to the point where a design is in place that answers the requirements, there’s a good understanding of the investment and timescales involved and the necessary consents to undertake the work have been secured.
Stage Two delivers detailed designs of the proposed works and puts them out to tender with reputable building contractors. By the end of this stage, there is an agreement in place with a building contractor to deliver the project for an agreed price over an agreed period.
Stage Three sees us delivering the project as well as managing the process to ensure that day-to-day site activities run smoothly and projects are delivered to the highest standards with all the legal requirements in place in order to deliver a high value asset for the long term.