Between 2016 and 2019, Colonel Rtd David Bennett established a strategic UK defence hub at the Port of Duqm in Oman. He spearheaded the phased delivery of this complex multi-disciplinary project linking governmental departments, Port and Airport authorities, security agencies and commercial companies.
In 2020, David swapped Duqm for Rowland Castle and began managing an estate of over 2000 acres in West Sussex. He is responsible for the day to management of 26 staff and a budget of £1.2M. With a team of 4 senior managers orchestrating and coordinating commercial, residential and farm tenancies; property and grounds management; chattels conservation; building and development projects; public engagement and an events programme.
The AOS team had the pleasure of visiting David at his new place of work - the beauitful Stansted Park estate. Stansted Park has been visited by numerous monarchs throughout the years, Henry II in 1177, Richard I of England in 1194, and John, King of England in 1214 and 1215. Edward VI visited in 1552 and in 1591 Queen Elizabeth the I visited a house, built by John, Lord Lumley on the site. Today, visitors to the park can enjoy the forest, parkland, arboretum, maze, bookshop, farm shop, tearoom, garden centre, light railway, chapel, and the beauitful house itself.
Thank you to the team at Stansted Park and David Bennett especially for giving such a warm welcome. We would higly recommend a visit to Stansted Park to all our members. A walk in the beautiful gardens and lunch or afternoon tea in the greenhouse cafe make for a truly wonderful day out. If you are still not venturing too far afield, watch out for our upcoming podcast with David, where we discuss the UK's defence hub at Duqm and his fond memories of Oman.
AOS: Ali, thank you so much for answering some questions with us today. Could you start by telling us a bit about yourself.
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