News
26th Nov

2015

TFA Media Release No. 31 – Herefordshire Council Cabinet Lacks Sound Judgement

Herefordshire Council Cabinet Lacks Sound Judgement

The Tenant Farmers Association has accused Herefordshire Council’s Cabinet of riding roughshod over the Council’s own governance by overturning a recommendation from the Council’s Scrutiny Committee to retain and rationalise its 4800 acre farm estate for the benefit of Council tax payers and arguing that the estate should be sold instead.

TFA Chief Executive George Dunn said “The future of the Herefordshire County farms’ estate has been carefully considered by a specially constituted task and finish group and the local authority’s General Overview and Scrutiny Committee which resulted in the clear recommendation that the County should retain its estate, rationalise it and better manage it for the benefit of Council tax payers both now and in the future.  That the Cabinet can show such crass disregard for this due diligence is unbelievable.  It is acting more like a despotic oligarchy than democratically elected individuals”.

The TFA has written to all County Councillors urging that the decision is taken out of the hands of its Cabinet and made instead by full Council where there can be a proper level of debate, scrutiny and accountability.

“Sadly it does appear that the principal source of the problem is Councillor Harry Bramer, the Portfolio Holder for Contracts and Assets.  It is well-known that he has long held the personal view that the Council should sell its farms and he has allowed his political bias to replace sound judgement and could lead to the council making a very bad decision.  It is not usually our style to personalise a campaign but in this case we believe it is justified.  Councillor Bramer has failed to enter into debate or discussion despite our attempts to engage with him,” said Mr Dunn.

“Not only has the Cabinet decided to ignore the work of the Council’s own committees but it has not followed best practice in carrying out the review.  The Association of Chief Estates Surveyors and Property Managers in Local Government, with the support of a number of industry bodies, has recently produced a best practice guide for how local authorities should conduct reviews of County Farms and as far as I can see there has been no consideration of this by the Cabinet,” said Mr Dunn.

“The Cabinet is also withholding important information including a report commissioned by the local authority with Fisher German surveyors which the Council claims to be commercially sensitive.  The TFA believes it contains important information that should be in the public domain before final decisions are taken,” said Mr Dunn.

“Ultimately, this is too important a decision to be made by anything less than Full Council and it should be taken off the agenda for the 03 December Cabinet meeting,” said Mr Dunn.

end

Ref:  MR31

Date: 26 November 2015

Notes for Editors:

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

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