The master plan, set over a 15-year horizon, was developed to frame the council’s investment decisions as it strives to reduce the estate’s reliance on core council funding.
During the first phase of work, Fourth Street prepared a detailed market analysis including an assessment of the visitor and financial performance of the estate and its business, the local population and visitor dynamics (focusing on leisure and tourism markets) and an analysis of the local and regional competitive context.
This work, coupled with detailed site analyses, was used to inform a long list of potential development options across the estate covering improvements to the Mansion and Gardens, Home Farm, the Stableyard, visitor facilities across the estate, the Old Hall, the Parkland and the showground and event areas – with a key consideration being how the estate could respond to the changing needs of the RHS Show.
The work was guided by a steering group made up of local councillors and members of the executive team and informed by a range of key stakeholders including the National Trust as the land owner.
The proposals were prioritised and programmed based on an assessment of cost, revenue implications and risk.