News
2nd Dec

2015

TFA Media Release No. 32 – Herefordshire Council Witholds Vital Farms Report

Herefordshire Council Witholds Vital Farms Report

The Tenant Farmers Association is pressing Herefordshire Council to release a report on its smallholdings estate which the Council is holding under lock and key.

TFA Chief Executive George Dunn said “When the County Council announced its review of its County farms’ estate, it appointed consultants, Fisher German, to produce a report to inform the review.  The tenant farmers who live with their families on the estate and stakeholder organisations were given assurances that the report would be placed in the public domain as part of the evidence base for the review.  Eighteen months down the line and this report has not seen the light of day.  Despite many attempts including a Freedom of Information request, the Council has refused to publish this report.”

“It is bad enough the report is not in the public domain but it is even worse that the document was not made available to the County Council’s own Task and Finish Group tasked with preparing recommendations for the future of the estate or its General Overview and Scrutiny Committee which was charged with making recommendations to Cabinet.  However, despite the unavailability of the document, the recommendation to Cabinet was to retain and rationalise the estate.  Cabinet has wholly rejected this recommendation and will be pushing for the sale of the estate when it meets tomorrow (03 December),” said Mr Dunn.

“We don’t even know if the report is helpful to those of us who are pressing the Council to retain and better manage its estate but it is simply appalling behaviour that the report is not in the public domain.  Better to have all the information in the open so that good and accountable decisions can be made rather than individuals feeling that they have been left with a job half done,” said Mr Dunn.

“I have been in contact with all of the County Councillors to press that decisions about the future of the County farms estate should be pushed to Full Council for consideration rather than left with its Cabinet.  However, the Constitution of the County Council provides its Cabinet and individual portfolio holders within the Cabinet with effective “carte blanche” to do what they like regardless of what the rest of the Council or the residents of Herefordshire want.  Whilst it may be too late for County farms, this Constitutional dictatorship within the County must change,” said Mr Dunn.

End

Ref:  MR32

Date: 02 December 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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