Shropshire CC tries to sell tenant farms

tliouk office at
Fri Aug 15 12:06:17 BST 2003

TFA considers legal action Source: FWi 12 August 2003 

By Farmers Weekly staff

THE Tenant Farmers Association has not ruled out court action to stop 
a county council selling its entire farms estate to a mystery buyer.
Shropshire CC has been trying to dispose of its agricultural holdings 
since 1992, but still has 69 tenanted farms, totalling about 3000 
acres, on its books.

Now the council has offered the remaining tenants a non-negotiable 
chance to purchase their units by the end of the year or face a new, 
unknown landlord.
TFA chief executive George Dunn said such a move could be illegal 
under the 1970 Agriculture Act.

This stipulates that county councils have a duty to provide land to 
let to people who would otherwise have no way of acquiring a 
farm. "We wouldn't rule out a legal challenge."
Andrew Stirling, head of estates, said he was aware of the issue and 
had written to Defra for guidance. "So far I have not had a response."

A Defra spokesman said it was taking legal advice concerning its 
powers under the 1970 act.

Tenants wishing to purchase their holdings have been asked to make a 
commitment by 31 August with a completion deadline of 31 December.



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