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Blenheim Estate launches new approach to property development

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Blenheim Estate launches Blenheim Strategic Partners - a new approach to property development
Blenheim Estate launches new approach to property development. Image: Blenheim Estate and nearby communities

Building on its own successes, Blenheim Estate has launched Blenheim Strategic Partners, a new approach to property development that offers a unique package of expertise in land promotion, master planning and development to landowners throughout the country.

Blenheim Strategic Partners is the official formation of a long-term collaboration between Blenheim Estate and Vanderbilt Strategic Ltd, bringing together the expertise of Blenheim Estate’s Property Director Roger File and founder of Vanderbilt, Edward Spencer-Churchill, together with leading planner Nigel McGurk as Head of Planning and Pye Homes as the development partner.

The model offered by Blenheim Strategic Partners enables landowners to retain a long-term involvement in developing their land. Rather than selling land to a developer, these landowners can benefit from ‘patient capital’ – the higher land values achieved as developments reach completion.

Furthermore, through the experienced team, success to date of Blenheim Estate Homes and principles developed in line with The Prince’s Foundation and Landowner Legacy, this new offering includes the concept of a legacy – designing new communities in line with the standards put in place over generations.

Priorities of these principles include sustainable community development and intrinsic environmental standards. At Park View, half of the properties will be affordable housing with rents at 40% below market rates. At Church Farm, each of the 240 homes will have a ground source heat pump, and the properties at Hill Rise and Banbury Road will be built to Passivhaus standards.

Park View, Woodstock
Park View, Woodstock

These first schemes have influenced the work of the Building Better Building Beautiful Commission and have won awards, including WhatHouse? Best Partnership Scheme and Estates Gazette’s Public/Private Partnership.

Dominic Hare, CEO of Blenheim Strategic Partners, said: “Blenheim has over 300 years of experience in land development, stewardship and investment and an inherent understanding of legacy. From the creation of Blenheim Palace and gardens to the new communities that we have developed locally, the estate has provided insight and inspiration.

“Blenheim Strategic Partners offers an understanding of value beyond the financial: longevity, social value and a respect for land, people and place. It also offers a strong financial basis and access to funding, from both private individuals and the wider Blenheim finance group.”

Roger File, Property Director of Blenheim Strategic Partners, explains: “Over 30% of the UK’s landmass is owned by long term landowners. Typically such families or organisations will have a vested interest in the future of their estate while also requiring a financial return.

“By entering into a collaborative partnership with Blenheim Strategic Partners, landowners can facilitate new, environmentally-sensitive and sociably responsible communities which are inspired by their unique setting and have community health and wellbeing at their heart.”

Artists impression of Church Farm, Radley
Artists impression of Church Farm, Radley

Hugh Petter, Director of ADAM Architecture, who has worked in partnership with Blenheim, comments: “Blenheim is, without a doubt, a leader in its field. Its work with ADAM Architecture at Park View was recognised as an exemplar development in the Knight Frank report Cost and Value produced for the Government’s Building Better Building Beautiful Commission.

“Blenheim Strategic Partners understands the value of good architecture that respects local character and the importance of investment in place-making to create a vibrant new community. It will pioneer sustainable design and environmental innovation and is led by a strong and engaged team who are a pleasure to work with.”

Charlie Dugdale, Partner of Knight Frank (London), comments: ‘Knight Frank has worked with Blenheim Estate Homes since its inception because we recognised its strikingly different approach. Where others were driven by short-term profits, Blenheim realised that long-term value would be realised by adopting a principles-based philosophy inspired by legacy and understanding its place in a circular economy.

“Further, we recognised that the partnership between Blenheim Estate and Pye Homes offered landowners an approach to legacy, which is unique – a partner that would meet their expectations from the start to the finish of the development cycle.

“Blenheim Estate Homes’ schemes are thoughtfully planned and developed to deliver real benefits, including high standards of sustainability, longevity and a focus on community development. The significant benefit to landowners is longer-term involvement in the land promotion and sale process which inevitably results in higher profits.”

Blenheim Strategic Partners is currently working with landowners nationally, including in Hampshire, Berkshire, Worcestershire, Buckinghamshire and Northamptonshire, and looks forward to seeing the benefits of its model elsewhere.

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