Council challenged on 'duty of care' to tenant farmers

herefordshire farm_31510The NFU has strongly urged Herefordshire Council to honour its duty of care to tenant farmers affected by the decision to sell off the county farms estate.

The first notice was served on Friday (January 29th), just two months after the local authority’s Cabinet agreed to the sale, a decision that affected 45 farming families.

NFU Deputy President Minette Batters said: “We are deeply concerned for those farmers who have been given notice to quit their businesses so soon after the initial announcement.

“It should now be a priority for the local council to provide those issued with these notices clear and transparent information about the expected timescales involved. They have acknowledged they have a duty of care to treat their tenants fairly. They need to do this with respect and with an understanding of the complete lifestyle change that this decision will mean for many of them.

 “We urge the council to give further assurances regarding tenant welfare; to do more to help their tenants through this process and express an understanding of the profound impact of receiving these notices just two months after the initial decision was made.”

 NFU tenant group chairman Graham Clay said: “I would like to know whether the Cabinet’s policy is to just allow the tenancies to expire and leave the tenants to navigate their own way, or do they intend to provide support in the form of meeting with tenants to establish their priorities? Are they going to provide mentoring advice and support for the individuals and families affected and is there a timetable for the sell off?”

In order to assist affected members, the NFU will provide tenants with first response advice. We encourage them all to seek independent agent support in their negotiations with the authority. Once we hear from the council as to the level of support they are proposing, we will consider what else needs to be put in place.  

Last edited on: 02:02:2016

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  • Posted by: JanetPosted on: 02/02/2016 20:26:03

    Comment: The NFU need to campaign for a fairer deal when people lose their rented land. Our farm used to stretch to 250 acres but over the last three years we have lost 100 of the 120 acres that were rented because the landowners managed to get planning permission for housing (all green belt land). We were only given the statutory compensation under the AHA 1986 because each field was owned by different landowners who got planning permission on the whole field. This has had a devastating effect on our family farm especially as our 17 year old son is keen to carry on farming.
  • Posted by: Tina DutsonPosted on: 03/02/2016 07:15:49

    Comment: I doubt any support will be offered it has not happened in Worcestershire - The family 'Council' farm which has been part of my life for over 54 years will be no longer in the next 12 months or so - and believe me it is heart renching for many reasons
  • Posted by: Ian Tyler-BondPosted on: 03/02/2016 07:36:50

    Comment: What a disgrace. Herefordshire has been a big farming community for centuries. These poor farming families will now not only loose their homes but their livelihoods too. Once these farms are sold and the council wastes the proceeds then what are they going to use as income? As ever a council who can see no further than the end of their noses. I bet not one of these idiotic decision makers has a member of their family about to loose EVERYTHING!!
  • Posted by: clifford munnsPosted on: 03/02/2016 14:48:08

    Comment: is this council selling the silver so they can give themselves more money to waste on other stupid idears
  • Posted by: Mary McQuistonPosted on: 09/02/2016 21:36:57

    Comment: As a current FBT tenant on the Herefordshire Estate we are awaiting our termination notice, most of our neighbours have now had them served. There are eleven families in our area and eighteen families in total on FBTs currently. What a sad day for future young aspiring farmers who would like to farm in Herefordshire this county was built on the back of agriculture. In just over a year we are going to lose our home and our livelihood through no fault of our own. We dared to aspire to farm in our own right. This is modern day land clearance by Hereford Council and no one can help us. The council have no duty of care to FBT tenants, seven members of Hereford council have changed my families life.

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