The Duchy of Lancaster, one of the Queen's estates, reported reduced income and profit but increased value in the year ended 31 March 2012.
Net operating income was down by 8.6% to £12.7m. The net surplus was down by 3.1% to £12.9m. But net asset value increased by 5.8% to £405.3m
Paul Clarke, chief executive and clerk of the Duchy Council, said: "Net surplus fell by just over 3% but this was in light of a very significant fall in rental income in the year, arising from the decision to refurbish the office space within Wellington House on the Savoy Estate. However there has been encouraging and consistent income growth from the other asset classes within the Duchy.
"Capital has performed well, with an increase in net asset value of 5.8% to £405.3m which is the first time that the Duchy has passed through the £400m barrier. The continued recovery from 2009 has been shared across all parts of the portfolio but again with particularly strong contributions from both the agricultural and commercial portfolios."
The Duchy of Lancaster is a private landed estate which provides the Sovereign of the day with a source of income independent from Government and the public purse. The Duchy is self financing and does not rely upon public funds in connection with its activities.
Lands and properties are administered in five separate units known as surveys, including the:
- Lancashire survey
- Yorkshire survey
- Crewe and South survey including Northamptonshire and Lincolnshire
- Needwood Survey in Staffordshire
- Urban survey, the commercial portfolio comprising an urban estate on the site of the old Savoy Palace, near the Strand, London, as well as individual and groups of properties throughout England.
The Lancashire Survey consists of five agricultural estates located between Preston and Lancaster, covering a total area of 11,500 acres.
In total, the Crewe Survey consists of 4,900 acres, including woodland at Crewe and Marbury in Cheshire and other smaller holdings in Cheshire, Derbyshire and Leicestershire.
Funding levels have been maintained for the Duchy's two main charities, the Benevolent Fund and the Jubilee Trust, and trustees have been able to make grants at the same levels as in earlier years. In addition, the Duke of Lancaster Housing Trust is continuing to support the rural economy and its first affordable housing project in Dunsop Bridge, Lancashire, comprising of 12 new houses, is nearing completion.
Clarke added: "As anticipated, 2012 has not been an easy year for occupiers or the Duchy but notwithstanding this, the results for the year have shown the resilience of the Duchy portfolio in adverse financial markets and the benefits to be gained from the continued drive to improve the quality of the assets within the portfolio. With the refurbishment of Wellington House, the purchase of a new agricultural estate in Lincolnshire and the consolidation of our ownership on the Tower Bridge Business Park, we believe that we are placing ourselves in a stronger position with these prime assets while continuing to work on new schemes and initiatives within the existing portfolio."
Founded in the 13th century, the Duchy of Lancaster is a private portfolio of land, property and assets held for the Sovereign in His or Her role as Duke of Lancaster. Today, The Duchy of Lancaster is custodian of 44,400 acres hectares across England and Wales, including key urban developments, historic buildings, high-quality farm land and areas of great natural beauty.