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Practical guidance to support rural businesses with diversification policies

Gemma Campbell

More inclusive and diverse ownership and management of land and buildings can bring a range of benefits to landowners and communities, strengthening local economies and supporting more sustainable places. For landowners, diversifying land holdings can contribute to a more diversified asset base, generate funds to reinvest elsewhere, improve public profiles and relationships with the community, and provide opportunities for collaboration and innovation. In turn, having access to land and buildings can enable communities and businesses to provide local housing, create or expand businesses, run community facilities, provide space for recreation or greenspace, and deliver other facilities and services that benefit local people.

Rural businesses play an important role in supporting diversification of land ownership and tenure. Many landowners and land managers already do so by selling or leasing land and buildings, creating opportunities that support local businesses, and by working with communities on the use and management of assets. There are others who would like to do more but aren’t always sure of how to respond to requests or share their information about their priorities and decision-making processes. To help those who would like to put clear policies for disposals and diversification in place, we have published guidance which was developed with valuable input from land managers with experience across a wide range of rural businesses.

Our voluntary guidance is designed to give practical advice for landowners and land managers who wish to encourage and support enterprise and community development that is in line with their business objectives. It sets out how rural businesses can develop a policy for how they respond to approaches from members of their local communities, community bodies, individuals, or businesses who would like to purchase or take on management of property or land assets held by the business. By taking a proactive approach and developing and sharing their own policies for decision-making, businesses can reinforce trusting relationships with their communities, better manage risks to their own organisations, manage expectations around decisions and timeframes, and identify opportunities for innovation.

We are keen for rural businesses to make use of this guidance and demonstrate leadership in good practice. The Good Practice Team is happy to chat to anyone who has developed their own policy on disposals or diversification, or to anyone who wishes to use the guidance to help them develop a new policy. Get in touch at

Diversification Guidance