Entrance to Estate Office, Blenheim

Blenheim Estate Office Wins Oxford Preservation Trust Award

The Blenheim Estate Office has been recognised in the Oxford Preservation Trust Awards 2019.

The single-storey office received an OPT plaque in the Small Projects category for the annual awards celebrating the best in building conservation and preservation as well as exemplary new architecture.

The Estate Office, which opened in Woodstock last year, is situated within the World Heritage Site.

It features traditional materials combining ashlar cladding to the front elevation, with contemporary design, including floor-to-ceiling glass panels to the rear, providing views across the UNESCO World Heritage Site under a shallow pitch zinc roof.

“The Awards attracted a strong list of projects this year. The Blenheim Estate Office was up there with the best, and we were delighted to award it a plaque recognising the way in which the architects and team have created a rather beautiful, and very usable building which can sit happily within this World Heritage landscape,” said Debbie Dance, OPT Director.

In addition to its historic setting, the new building also respects the use of local materials used in the construction of Blenheim Palace including; limestone ashlar blocks and lime mortar to blend into its historic surroundings.

It was one of Oxford-based architect Andrew Spurring’s last projects and is a fitting legacy to his award-winning work.

“We are very pleased to have received this recognition from the Oxford Preservation Trust which has a long and illustrious record protecting and supporting the city’s buildings and its green spaces,” said Roger File, Director of Blenheim Estate.

“The Estate Office makes use of traditional materials and building techniques combined with the latest technological advances to create something which both sits comfortably within its historic surroundings and minimises its impact on the environment.

“It is a fine example of what great modern design can achieve and is a credit to the architect Andrew Spurring’s memory.” he added.

Despite its traditional build, the office incorporates state-of-the-art heating and lighting features to minimise energy consumption in line with Blenheim’s goal to become a net generator of green energy by 2027.

A heat exchanger unit provides both ventilation and heating for the entire building through vents in the floor and the temperature and CO2 levels are controlled automatically.

All lighting is LED, energy efficient and features motion sensors. The car park also features cycle racks for bikes as well as four electric car charging points.


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Aerial view River of Life - small

Carter Jonas Appointed by the Earth Trust for River of Life II

Carter Jonas, the national property consultancy, has been appointed by the Earth Trust to provide planning expertise for the delivery of the environmental charity’s River of Life II project, which will create new wetland habitats along the River Thames and River Thame.

River of Life II will involve creating new wetland areas to improve the natural landscape and promote biodiversity. These physical works require planning permission and Carter Jonas will be responsible for preparing the Supporting Planning Statements, checking and submitting the necessary planning application documents and engaging with South Oxfordshire District Council.

The Earth Trust has partnered with local landowners Church Farm Partnership and The Hurst Water Meadow Trust with new water ecosystems proposed at three locations in South Oxfordshire – Long Wittenham, Little Wittenham and Dorchester-on-Thames. The new habitats will include 16 ponds and seven backwater channels plus wet woodland, which will connect to the River Thames to provide
a refuge for fish.

River of Life II will incorporate the Earth Trust’s Clifton Meadow on the south bank of the River Thames, Church Farm north of Days Lock and Overy Mead on the banks of the River Thame. The proposed wetlands are in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, so will be sympathetic to their surrounds while creating much needed habitat for insects, birds, fish and other wildlife. Little Wittenham Wood is home to one of the United Kingdom’s most significant populations of great crested newts and has been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest and Special Area of Conservation. Several new ponds will be created in the wood to strengthen the population and provide a safe haven for other amphibians affected by climate change.

Huw Mellor, a Partner, at Carter Jonas, said: “It is unusual for a planning consultant to work on a project where the end result is not a physical structure. River of Life II is an important project at a time when the environment is high in the public conscience. If we are successful, the wetland habitat created will look like it has always been a permanent part of the landscape in ten years’ time. I worked closely with the Earth Trust in the past, so I look forward to helping the organisation advance this ambitious project.”

Jayne Manley, Chief Executive, Earth Trust, said: “Land next to rivers and streams can provide healthy life support systems for all life through biodiverse, functioning, natural freshwater ecosystems. To do this, land needs to be able to slow down and filter water and this can be done through the addition of wetland features such as ponds and water channels that are within the floodplain, some of which are connected to the river. The creation of these features alongside mosaics of other natural habitats such as woodland improve the quality of the landscape.”

River of Life II follows the success of the Earth Trust’s first River of Life project near Shillingford in
South Oxfordshire.

For further information, please contact: Philippa Murray Head of PR, Carter Jonas: philippa.murray@carterjonas.co.uk

Carter Jonas

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Oxfordshire Voice at Howbery Park

Standard Operating Procedures?

Can the Oxfordshire Voice Forum provide a standard of accreditation or champion key aspirational best practice for all businesses in Oxfordshire?

The OV Forum at Howbery Park was a highly interactive affair with absolutely every member contributing to an excellent discussion. Our two excellent speakers Grant Hayward and Chris Harvey led a constructive and robust discussion particularly in terms of the key business areas and companies that we can use as role models for better business growth, development and management.

Identifying individual leaders and those businesses which embrace and embed best practice as integral to their business development was concluded to be a key objective. Sharing ideas and almost evangelising these exemplars through OV could enable all businesses to overcome barriers in their businesses.

A mapping system to highlight the business areas where other businesses could improve and grow was seen to be an excellent route to integrate individual business change into the framework of growth and change that OV and partners were developing.

A “Manifesto” of managing change

Oxfordshire Voice is not simply about Oxfordshire as an entity at the largest scale. It is also a central focus for all businesses to engage with for sustainable and consistent growth which will benefit us all at all scales.
If we can engender change at all levels and collaborate effectively we all benefit and the Oxfordshire brand at the highest level benefits at regional, national and international levels.

Our “Common Cause” as business as a force for good is already a growing movement across the world. Our challenges are not unique although Oxford has specific barriers that can only be tackled with truly integrated thinking.

Mapping out our priorities, particularly ones that all businesses, irrespective of their resources can attain is a core element. This could lead to a shared toolkit of knowledge and best practice. Case studies of Oxfordshire business that are already on this path can be highly publicised and the toolkit enables other business to benefit from this growth.

Although the discussion was very wide ranging the focus must be on what is achievable and fits into the strategic plans at all scales. Accreditation and compliance is a challenge in all our individual sectors but our manifesto cuts across sectors to enable a shared educational and promotional process to benefit us all.

Aligning Priorities – creating change

Mapping out best business practice ideas.
How does better business practice align with a better Oxfordshire at all levels?
Creating a toolkit of resources for shared knowledge and support from key experts.
Developing a panel of experts who exemplify how their businesses are either already executing best practice or are on the road to achieving it.

The latest OV Forum was a stimulating and positive event to enable us all to be better leaders and managers, develop key priorities to move our businesses forwards and generate awareness of how we all play a role in understanding, communicating and overcoming the challenges we face at every scale.

“Oxfordshire Voice is further developing into an excellent platform to generate real change to enable us to play a role in changing Oxfordshire for the better. A better Oxfordshire for everyone irrespective of their role, age or background……it is a privilege to be involved”

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Blenheim’s Economic Impact Passes £100m Milestone

A newlyreleased report undertaken by Oxford Brookes Business School on behalf of Blenheim has revealed that Blenheim is contributing more than £100m annually to the economy.

The figure is a major milestone for the Oxfordshire UNESCO World Heritage Site and represents a 15% increase compared to the previous year.

According to the report Blenheim’s total GVA (Gross Value Added) economic impact was £100.5m. The estate also supported 2,159 jobs, a 12% annual rise.

Commenting on the new report Blenheim CEO Dominic Hare said: “I am delighted our GVA total economic impact did indeed surge in year two by 15% to £100.5 million, with jobs supported rising by 12% to 2,159. This is an outstanding achievement, given that we have only recently embarked on this journey.”

In total, the impact of visitors’ spending outside of Blenheim rose to over £47m, up 14% in the year and over 22% from the start position.

People directly employed by Blenheim also rose 17% to 391 and its direct economic contribution to the local community was £13.8m an increase of 5% on 2017/18.

The estate is now sourcing 44% of all its supplies from within a 20mile radius and is looking at ways to further increase this figure in the coming months and years.

This is the third report undertaken by Oxford Brookes Business School as part of a 10year plan of action by Blenheim to achieve 10 ambitious targets.

These include tripling the Estate’s contribution to the local economy, housing 300 families in high quality affordable housing, completing a £40m restoration programme and becoming a net generator of green energy within a decade.

The plan also includes the training of 100 apprentices, returning key historical artefacts which have been lost from the old collection over generations and a doubling of Blenheim’s total charitable contribution the local community – a goal which has already been achieved just three years in.

“I’m delighted to report that our charitable contributions have not just hit their target of £2.2million, but indeed hit £3.5million in the year,” said Dominic.

“This was in part due to a one-off donation for the Starlight Foundation following Lord Blandford’s heroic charity row across the Atlantic but, even without this, we hit our intended target and plan to set out a more challenging goal in future,” he added.

Property development is a key element to Blenheim’s 10-year plan. Together with its partners, Blenheim invested just over £9m (+75%) in building new houses in several local developments during 2018/19.

For more information visit www.blenheimestate.com

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mark charter - Carter jonas

Carter Jonas Reacts to the Prime Minister’s Visit to Wales

Carter Jonas, the national property consultancy, has reacted to the Prime Minister’s visit to Wales today to meet with rural communities and discuss the impact of Brexit on agriculture. The company’s rural division advises farmers and landowners across England and Wales.

Mark Charter, partner, Carter Jonas, said: “It is significant that Boris Johnson has made early visits to both Wales and Scotland, as he is tackling the two most contentious areas facing him from an agricultural context head on. A no deal Brexit will have far reaching consequences for the farming industry, but certain sectors will be more affected than others.

“The lamb industry, which is predominantly located in Wales, will be greatly impacted and he needs to outline a substantial plan that will provide essential support to farmers immediately. Trade deals will be essential to overcome tariffs, but we need to have robust alternative plans in place if Brexit thwarts the lamb industry. It may all work itself out in five years, but that is a long time and there could be a catastrophic impact in the short term to these rural communities.

“With Boris Johnson taking an active interest in rural affairs, we would now like to see a cohesive strategy for these communities which will in turn provide a welcome economic boost. Initiatives on rural broadband, road and transport links, affordable housing, diversification and tourism need to be unified. We work across both England and Wales, and can see the variation between different farming areas. For example, landowners in the homes counties have more opportunities currently than a farmer of a small sheep farm in the Welsh valleys so we need to make sure support is universal.”

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