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British stately homes face ruin if they do not take ethics seriously, finds survey

The coronavirus pandemic has forced many landed estates to diversify their income streams. Photo by: Frédérick Tubiermont/Unsplash

The UK is known globally for its landed gentry, aristocracy, and historic country estates, whether it’s Buckingham Palace or Downton Abbey.

But life may be getting more difficult for British aristocrats. According to a new landmark survey, owners of landed estates are coming under increasing pressure to improve the environmental and social credentials of their country piles.

The new survey, the result of polling more than 2,000 people, found that visitors, tourists and international business partners were much more likely to want to visit a stately home or partner with a landed estate if they knew it had strong ethical credentials.

The results come at a critical time for many landed estates. Coronavirus has starved many country estates of important hire revenue, pushing many stately homes to try to diversify their income streams through new projects.

“At a time when many landed estates are facing financial decimation, these results show that ethical credentials are absolutely key to drawing the interest of visitors and other commercial partners,” says Jordan Greenaway, a Partner at specialist communications agency Transmission Private, which commissioned the poll.

The research shows that the community impact and sustainability of a landed estate is more important to visitors, and potential commercial partners, than the history or architecture of the estate.

Thirty-eight percent of respondents said a stately home’s commitment to the local community would make a difference to whether they visited, hired, or did business with the estate. Another 35% said that an estate’s commitment to the environment would make a difference.

This compared with just 16% of people who said the estate featuring on the TV or film would be important, 30% who said the estate’s historic age was important and, surprisingly, just a minuscule 9% who said that royal connections would be a draw.

“This result will be of particular interest to estates that might not have an extensive history nor architectural grandeur. They can trump prominent landed estates if they put in place a strategy to showcase their ethical credentials,” added Luke Thompson, a Partner at Transmission Private.

The survey was carried out by Transmission Private, a specialist communications agency that advises many of the UK’s most prominent landed estates and stately homes.

This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or the management of EconoTimes

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