News
11th Apr

2016

TFA Media Release No. 22 – Herefordshire Council Must Keep its Word to Farm Tenants

Herefordshire Council Must Keep its Word to Farm Tenants

The Tenant Farmers Association is calling on Herefordshire Council to rescind Notices to Quit served on fifteen farm families.

In December last year Herefordshire Council decided to dispose of all forty-five of its County farms and its Cabinet meets on Thursday (14 April) to decide its disposal plan.

TFA Chief Executive George Dunn said “The TFA was bitterly disappointed that the Council decided to sell its estate, despite the Council’s own internal advice to the contrary.  However, what is unforgivable is the way in which it has broken the promises made to tenant farmers on its estate about how they should expect to be treated.  Those assurances were given by Council Leader, Councillor Anthony Johnson.”

“At the Cabinet meeting on 03 December, Councillor Johnson told tenants that they would not be kicked out of their homes and businesses but this is exactly what is happening to tenants on Farm Business Tenancies.   All tenants with a tenancy expiry date in 2017 or earlier have now received Notices to Quit their farms.  Councillor Johnson went on to say that the estate’s tenants would be advantaged by a change of ownership for the estate.  I cannot see how tenants who have been served Notices to Quit have been anything but disadvantaged by the decision to sell.  The Council has reneged on Councillor Johnson’s promise,” said Mr Dunn.

Councillor Johnson was particularly angry about suggestions made by Councillors opposed to the sell-off of the farms that tenants felt ‘kicked in the teeth’.  He claimed this to be ‘wide of the mark’ repeating that tenants would not lose homes or livelihoods.

“Having received Notices to Quit, how else are tenants expected to feel other than ‘kicked in the teeth’.  Councillor Johnson said that the Council would do everything it could to make life as comfortable as possible for those affected by the sell-off and I fail to see how serving Notices to Quit falls within that objective,” said Mr Dunn.”

“The TFA is calling on the County Council to rescind the Notices to Quit allowing individuals occupying on Farm Business Tenancies the ability to negotiate terms with a new owner or the ability to move on if another opportunity emerges,” said Mr Dunn.

end

Ref:  MR22 Date: 11 April 2016

Notes for Editors:

Below are direct quotes from Councillor Johnson made during the County Council’s Cabinet Meeting on 03 December 2015 when the decision to sell the estate was made:

“There has been much rumour and I think some conversation on the radio yesterday that this was going to turn people out of their homes etc and that is extremely wide of the mark. What we are talking about is a possible change of ownership of the tenancies not a change of the tenancies themselves.  There will be some changes if it moves out of the ownership of this council.  But to many people it will arguably be to the advantage of the tenants.”

“I must take exception to “kicking in the teeth” that implies that these people will lose their homes, lose their livelihoods or whatever, that is not the case.  We are talking about a potential change of ownership if the decision is taken to dispose.  There will be new owners.  The tenants are protected by the terms of their tenancy and that protection will continue.”

“I promise Councillor Price and everybody else in this room we will do everything we can to make life as comfortable as possible for those affected in this way and we will be inviting them all to come and talk to us either collectively or individually.”

For further information contact George Dunn on 07721 998961 or the TFA’s Communications and Events Co-ordinator Jenna Kirkpatrick on 0118 930 6130.

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