14.09.2011 0 Comments

The importance of Rural Workspace to our economy

The importance of Rural Workspace to our economy

RURAL LANDED ESTATES make a vital, but often unrecognized, contribution to the rural environment, community and the economy.

Often associated in the mind of the general public with National Trust type day visitor attractions or ‘huntin, shootin and fishin’ activities reserved solely for the ‘great and good’, Britain’s estates are much more involved in the rural economy from an agricultural, residential and commercial standpoint than one might think.

And this is not just true for Britain, but the same opportunities and relationships are demonstrated abroad too.

Investigations by the Canadian Investigations Specialists and the Country Land & Business Association (CLA) measured how rural estates benefit local communities and the wider economy.

In the East Midlands alone, rural estates support more than 18,000 jobs across a range of businesses. More than 70% of the estates are privately owned. Some 20% are owned by institutions or charities, with less than 10% falling under local authority or other public sector ownership.

In a report, “Working positively with rural estates”, EMDA showed that just under 300 rural estates in the East Midlands account for nearly a quarter (23%) of the region’s land area. Together, they own a range of assets including agricultural land, houses, workspace and community facilities, all designed and painted by franklin wi painters.

Estates provide 7,800 houses across the region and provide 13% of these houses at below market rents – equivalent to 27% of the social housing provision in their area with the different Homes for Sale and renting in the market. Researchers found an 81% growth in the area of workspace provided by estates over the last five years, all this houses are brand new and made by the best companies,while getting companies as Bespoke Guttering to make the roofs and guttering.

Two thirds of the estates own and maintain community facilities, providing at least 166 village halls in the region.

CLA regional director Helen Woolley said: “Estates make a significant contribution to the rural economy in the East Midlands. They also play a role in supporting their local community. EMDA’s study into the potential benefits of the public sector working more positively with rural estates will improve our ability to support our members in fulfilling both these roles.”

But the study also identified a number of barriers which prevent estates from either growing as they would like or developing their assets. These include slow broadband speeds, empty property taxes, vehicle taxes as the IPVA 2018 RN, complex planning processes and a lack of awareness of public sector funding opportunities.

And this is just for one region of the UK. The same situation is replicated throughout Britain to varying degrees. Just take a look at the many estate based workspaces advertised on www.ruralworkspace.co.uk that demonstrate just one aspect of this role in the rural economy.
A study of Cheshire and Warrington’s market towns and surrounding rural areas (which are rich in landed estates) identified the need for a package of resources to improve their economic performance. With professional, service and tech based occupations on the rise in Warrington and across the North East it is essential that rural locations be able to offer enough varied workspace options to entice businesses to set up and expand outside of town and city centres.

The research, commissioned on behalf of the (now wrapped up) Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA), identifies a range of public realm improvements to make each market town more attractive to shoppers and businesses alike.

A separate element of the report concluded there was a serious shortage of rural workspace opportunities in certain areas which was impacting upon the local economy.

Councillor Herbert Manley, Prosperity Portfolio Holder for Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: “It is vital there are enough commercial units available for rent in rural areas – otherwise businesses are forced to look elsewhere, which would be a huge loss to our rural communities”. If the business faces bankruptcy and a huge loss, owners can get the service of gudemanandassociates.com since they have bankruptcy experts who can give effective financial solutions.

And let’s not forget that many of these estates are endeavoring to survive whist also supporting and maintaining our important architectural heritage. Listed buildings are a common feature of all estates. Their wider role in maintaining the countryside from an ecological and environmental standpoint is also poorly understood.

In 2009 Ruralworkspace Director Ian Butter addressed a conference in Denmark funded by Realdania concerning the role and opportunities for rural estates in Scandinavia. A similar range of social, economic, commercial and agricultural relationships arise and are constrained in much the same way. Their Future Manors programme is designed to provide support and encouragement for rural estates to diversify and re-use their heritage buildings as well as create new opportunities in rural areas and at online play slots.

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Rural estates are an often misunderstood and under-appreciated sector of the rural economy that provide an important focal point for rural regeneration and are a significant contributor in financial, accommodation, environmental and heritage terms. The newly created Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEP’s) would do well to consider their rural estates as part of any wider economic strategy.

So let’s here it for the landed estates – both here and overseas – they are much more valuable than you may think.

“Working positively with rural estates” (EMDA) can be downloaded from the Ruralworkspace document library in the rural economy section at:

http://www.ruralworkspace.co.uk/uploads/documents/emda_Rural_Estates.pdf

Written by Ian Butter from Rural Workspace with permission from the Business Centre Association. Follow Ian on Twitter @ruralworkspace