Somerset Life looks at the work of the Crown Estate in Somerset.
A brief insight into the work of The Crown Estate, which owns the Dunster Estate in Somerset
THE CROWN ESTATE
The Crown Estate is a statutory corporation, which manages what are historically the hereditary possessions of the Sovereign "in right of the Crown". Over the centuries, the monarchs of Britain accumulated an incredibly diverse portfolio of cityscapes, ancient forests, farms, parkland, moors, coastline, mines and communities. In the reign of George III, almost all the hereditary revenues were surrendered to Parliament in return for a fixed civil list payment. Today, The Crown Estate manages the portfolio with a duty to maintain and enhance capital value according to three principles: stewardship, commercialism and integrity.
On behalf of the nation, The Crown Estate manages a highly diverse �6 billion property portfolio across the UK. Our objectives, which are laid down by Parliament under The Crown Estate Act 1961, include enhancing the value of the estate and the revenue it produces. Every year we pay all of our surplus revenue to the Treasury for the benefit of all UK taxpayers: in 2008/09 this was �226.5 million. The Crown Estate is above all commercial organisation with a strong sense of stewardship and a commitment to manage our assets sustainably. Our integrity is measured in the relationships we build, how we manage our estates, the long term approach we take to our investments and the support we give to communities. The Crown Estate"�s property comprises four estates: urban, marine, rural and Windsor. Our urban estate includes around 1.3 million square metres (14 million square feet) of office and retail space throughout the UK along with over 2500 residential units. We also own large parts of London"�s St James"�s and all of Regent Street where we are implementing a �750 million regeneration programme to create an international retail and business destination. Our marine estate consists of over half the foreshore and the seabed out to the 12 nautical mile territorial limit. The Crown Estate has the right to explore and utilise the resources of the UK continental shelf (excluding oil, gas and coal), including the right to license offshore renewable energy. The Windsor estate includes Windsor Great Park, Ascot Racecourse, as well as forests and commercial and residential properties. It also includes The Royal Landscape, 405 hectares (100 acres) of landscaped gardens, lakes and woodland, incorporating The Savill Garden, The Valley Gardens and Virginia Water Lake. The rural estate runs to over 146,000 hectares which in itself is a microcosm of Britain"�s countryside. It includes 780 agricultural tenancies working across the spectrum of farming from beef cattle in the north of Scotland through rich croplands in east Yorkshire to forestry in the West Country and 770 residential properties.