Roy Evans, Head of Corporate Operations at The Crown Estate, explains how Local Management Agreements enable communities to take control of land.
Local Management Agreements (LMAs) are a new concept and there are a handful now up and running in Scotland where we have been piloting the concept. But they promise much for the future of coastal and rural communities right around the UK. Key to their appeal for local communities is that an LMA provides the assurance that local not-for-profit organisations can take on the planning and management of their own assets.
For us at The Crown Estate, it demonstrates how our responsibility to be a good steward of our assets should not curtail local ambitions. So far our LMAs have all related to coastal assets but it is an option also open to rural communities where we have interests.
At the core of an LMA is the co-operation between ourselves and the local group. The Crown Estate is one of the country’s largest landowners and we are responsible for managing the seabed and much of the foreshore. This includes licensing and leasing aquaculture site, locations for moorings, marinas and coastal development.
In these areas our experience and expertise can be enviable. It is a vital part of our commitment to a Local Management Agreement that we pass on the benefits of our knowledge to our local LMA partners.
We know, through feedback from our stakeholders (which includes tenants, local authorities, politicians and many more) that we needed to create a formal mechanism to allow coastal and rural communities a direct role in managing assets while retaining our statutory responsibilities.
The result of this process was the creation of LMAs as a mechanism for The Crown Estate to work with local organisations and communities for mutual benefit.
For the LMAs already agreed the proposed developments relate to marine leisure facilities to enhance tourism and commercial potential. Under these agreements community project teams will now be able to develop full business proposals and progress fundraising, backed by our experienced team at The Crown Estate.
Under an LMA we are effectively allowing a local partner to manage part of The Crown Estate’s portfolio. If the applicant demonstrates that the proposal can become a reality, the LMA gives applicants certainty that they can obtain a right to manage The Crown Estate’s land.
An LMA business proposition needs to be commercially viable, but must also achieve one or more of the following:
- Bring benefit to local communities;
- Allow community groups to enjoy improved facilities;
- Aid the economic development of the locality, or;
- Protect the natural habitat and wildlife.
We envisage that more LMAs will be signed across the UK including projects such as improving harbour facilities, creating local amenities, improving local management of moorings, giving opportunities to create or expand local business interests or managing nature conservation areas. Provided the criteria are met, The Crown Estate will consider any application and several are already going through the assessment process.
The agreements are limited to not-for-profit organisations. These include: local authorities and harbour trusts; local community councils; local community development trusts; mooring associations; NGOs with a habitat management remit, statutory nature conservation bodies and other appropriately constituted community bodies or trusts.
LMAs are just one of the newest ways in which The Crown Estate enables and encourages tenants and communities to manage land and foreshore across the rural and coastal estates. They are set to become a crucial part of our approach to rural and coastal management.
It is important to The Crown Estate to work closely with local interests, recognising how vital it is to support often isolated communities with the means to ensure their economic survival. Our advice for groups is to make an early approach, have a concise idea of what is planned and level of support for it, and to know what the development should achieve.
Considering an LMA?
The Crown Estate is keen to hear from not-for-profit organisations who may be interested in a Local Management Agreement. For an information brochure visit www.thecrownestate.co.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The Crown Estate encourages anyone thinking to set up an LMA to first contact it to discuss proposals, before making a formal application.