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WEP Framework

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WHOLE ESTATE PLANS: the Framework Document

The Not for Profit Landowners Group (Scotland), September, 1999


bulletSummary of the Whole Estate Plan Framework
bulletWhole Estate Plans
bulletWhat is Required of a Whole Estate Plan
bulletNotes on the Whole Estate Plan Framework
bulletWhole Estate Plans and Community Land Acquisition
bulletThe Strengths and Weaknesses of the Whole Estate Plan Framework
bulletParticipatory tools for Use in the Whole Estate Plan Process

Summary of the Whole Estate Plan Framework


A Whole Estate Plan (WEP), is a management tool for communities owning or managing land. The WEP should be produced by communities for the management of their existing land-holding or for an area that they aspire to own. It is intended to be a working tool which allows a community to draw together the three elements of sustainable land management - environmental, social, and economic. Any WEP document must be primarily for the use and understanding of the community.

A WEP is suited to the full range of diverse properties under social ownership - from a small community property to a large estate.

A WEP may also function as a reference document which will allow a community to demonstrate clearly to external organisations:

bulletwhat it is trying to do
bullethow it is going about it, and
bullethow well it is progressing.

A WEP will address most funders’ needs, even if not written with that specific purpose in mind. It provides an explicit statement of the community’s rationale and objectives, and so can answer questions which potential funders may have about the community’s skills and sticking power. It can also play a role in the vitally important business of encouraging a community in the initial stages - by involving and enthusing the community. It will also encourage a community to address some of the harder issues and not rely on sentiment.

The NfP Landowning Group views the preparation of a WEP by a community property association or by a national conservation organisation as fitting into the community planning framework. It is an essential element in an effective local sustainable development process.


If a WEP is to be useful to a range of readers, it makes sense to think in terms of a document with at least two main parts:

bulleta relatively short, very accessible, statement of strategy
bulleta longer section devoted to more detailed operational planning which will look at some aspects of management in great detail.

The length of any WEP document should not exceed 20-30 pages overall.

In the outline below sections 1 to 6 constitute the strategy; sections 7 to 9 the operational planning.

The plan should be for five years and the operational sections should be reviewed annually.

The plan should be in ten sections with the following structure:

Sections 1-6: Strategy

1 Executive summary

(written last)

bulletstructured to relate to sections of the document but with flow (not bullet points)
bulletincludes key action points
2 Introduction
bulletwho is writing the plan and why
3 Description
bulletpeople, environment, business - woven together
bulletkey factors of interest only
4 Vision
bulletspecific to the place and circumstances
bulletsuggest: long-term (100 years), mid-term (20-30 years),
bulletand immediate (1-5 years)
5 Issue analysis
bulletissues of key interest to the community and external stakeholders
bulletanalysed issue by issue (environmental, social, business)
bulletinclude organisational structure and management
bulletincorporate a wide range of views (consensus) analysis feeds into both 5 and 6 below
bulletrisks, including the risk of not taking action
  Objectives (strategic)
bullet‘SMART’ (Specific, Measurable, Appropriate, Relevant, Timely)

Sections 7-9: Operational Planning (to be reviewed annually)

7 Tasks, Targets and Measurement: targets for years 1-5
bulletannual work plans
bulletcapital (physical) & human resources & requirements
bulletorganisational structure and management


bulletpotential action 1, potential action 2, etc.

measurement (records)

bulletChecklist and progress charts
8 Financial Resources
bulletcash flow
9 Monitoring and Evaluation  


  Appraisals: Environmental, Social and Economic Concise summaries (3-4 pages)
  Inventories, Other Facts and Details  
  Secondary Sources for reference  
  Annual Work Plan Framework