Private Estate: Public Place

From village halls to primary schools, many private estates supply local amenities for the community.

Most village halls have a noticeboard for events going on there: Brownie and Cub gatherings, Pilates classes, exhibitions for local artists. They serve a huge cross-section of the local community and a recent survey from Savills shows that many of these halls are provided by the local rural estate.

"About 46 per cent of estates have a village hall,” says Sophie Barrett of Savills Rural. “For many estates it’s ingrained that they should be at the heart of the local community, but they also have to be commercially minded: if you supply good facilities, it makes an area more desirable and your properties more rentable."

That’s not to say that all the village halls will be historic ones. Sophie points out there are also cases where an estate will have contributed to a new village hall as part of the development plan for building new housing.

As well as halls, estates also provide shops, pubs, schools and sports fields. “Sports fields are very common, with over 70 per cent of estates providing one,” says Sophie. “But you’d expect that, as estates often own the land around villages.”

Rents might be charged for these facilities but they vary. With playing fields, it’s often a peppercorn rent, but where the estate needs to provide insurance and maintenance for a building, it might charge a more commercial rate to cover these costs. One area that’s changing, however, is schools. “In many schools now, the rent comes out of the school budget rather than the local authority budget,” Sophie explains. “So there are estates that are not increasing their rents in line with commercial premises to enable the school to have more to spend on local children’s education.”

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Key contacts

Sophie Barrett

Sophie Barrett

Director MRICS, FAAV
Estate Management

Savills Oxford

+44 (0) 1865 269 162

+44 (0) 1865 269 162


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