Estate Benchmarking – 2015

Estate Benchmarking Survey 2015
The Permitted Development Route

23 November 2015, by Sophie Barrett

With diversification vital to a rural estate, we look at the benefits of Permitted Development.

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Our survey results demonstrate that those estates which have a range of assets continue to be resilient while farm incomes have been exposed to volatility. Given the importance of diversification, within the 2015 survey we explored the opportunity that changes to General Permitted Development Rights represent for rural estates.


When introduced within the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Amendment and Consequential Provisions) (England) Order 2014, there was an expectation that a number of conversion projects on rural estates, which had not previously been viable, would qualify. Interestingly, only 6% of estates participating in the Survey have utilised the Permitted Development (PD) route to date.

"Rural estates are in a strong position to weather the current pressures on farm incomes"

Sophie Barrett, Savills Research

Permitted Development

The main factor limiting the use of the Rights by estates is designations (mentioned by 30% of respondents) – any suitable buildings are either listed, in a Conservation Area or an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Furthermore, 26% of respondents stated that lack of suitable buildings prevented utilising the Rights.

Of those that made applications, 50% have been successful via the PD route. It appears that some Councils are more receptive to applications than others. Also some estates have chosen to complete full planning applications for buildings, which could qualify under PD seeing little financial benefit for doing so (mentioned by 7% of participating estates).

Significant benefits

However, there are significant benefits of following the PD route. These include no requirement to prove that the building is capable of conversion without major rebuilding and it also removes, in most cases, any potential affordable housing requirement.

In addition, the increased development and housebuilding activity may create substantial capital performance for some.

Another area of significance to the future viability of rural estates is the lack of high speed broadband. We believe that it is probably the most important single factor to unlock future rental growth. Estates are innovative and several are finding ways to overcome this obstacle without waiting for the Government’s promise – see Broadband Case Study for details.

Rural estates, which have a range of property assets, are in a strong position to weather the current pressures on farm incomes while maximising the opportunities to generate income from non-agricultural assets and enterprises.

Articles from Estate Benchmarking Survey 2015

Diversity Delivers Steady Performance

Estate incomes have seen steady growth, while farm incomes have been exposed to market volatility.

Combined Income Equals 75% Of Gross Income

Three-quarters of estate area is let and broadly split between AHA and FBTs.

Spreading The Income Risk

23 November 2015

Spreading The Income Risk

Commercial and leisure incomes can make an important contribution across the estate.

Expenditure Proportion Remains Constant

The annual cost of running a rural estate is £95 per acre, equal to 43% of gross income.

Rural Estates Represent A Good Investment

Rural estates continue to perform well compared with other asset classes.

A Positive Prospect

23 November 2015

A Positive Prospect

Rural estates are in a strong position to weather current pressures on farm incomes.


Key contacts

Ian Bailey

Ian Bailey

Rural Research

Margaret Street

+44 (0) 207 299 3099


Sophie Tidy

Sophie Tidy

Director MRICS, FAAV
Estate Management


+44 (0) 1865 269 162


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