Queen pleads poverty - Staple Fitzpaine tenants must buy or get evicted
tony at cultureshop.org.uk
Thu Apr 24 23:03:15 BST 2014
Crown tenants under threat in homes sell-off
Daily Press | Posted: April 18, 2014
Families living in Crown Estate-owned properties near Taunton fear
their close-knit communities will be torn apart by their landlord's
decision to sell 32 homes, and tell tenants to buy or move out.
Almost one third of the 101 homes in the farming and
forestry-dominated land holding are to be sold.
Residents say they have been given between two and four months to leave.
Ruth King, who has lived in her home in Staple Fitzpaine for 15 years
said: "It used to be that when you had a Crown Estate property you
had security. I thought we'd be here for the rest of our lives."
With chickens and pets Mrs King fears finding a new home in the
immediate area will be difficult.
Neighbours who have become close friends are heartbroken at the
Council leaders have also raised concerns. County councillor Ross
Henley has called for the Crown Estate to remove the threat of eviction.
Taunton Deane Borough Council leader John Williams said the landlords
would be: "stripping out a complete layer of affordable housing."
The houses are let on shorthold tenancies.
Neil Jacobson portfolio manager for the Crown Estate, said: "We
understand that this may come as a disappointment to some tenants,
which is why we are offering all of those affected the chance to
discuss purchasing the property they have been renting, should they wish.
"Conscious also that finding alternative accommodation can be
challenging we are providing increased notice periods, above the
statutory minimum (two months) and will look sympathetically on any
personal circumstances that mean tenants can't meet the timescales."
Crown Estate Eviction of Neroche Parish Tenants
Recently some residential tenants of the Crown Estate in the Neroche
Parish area received notice that they must either purchase their
residence or leave within a few months. This came as a complete
shock and has caused distress to those affected, and to other tenants
of the Crown Estate who are unsure of what the future holds.
Details of what is happening are uncertain at the moment, both of the
number of houses in the parish affected and whether farms are also involved.
One resident of the Crown Estate, Vicky Pearson, who received such
notice, has begun a campaign to try to prevent the evictions
happening. She has gained very strong support from local residents,
both Crown Estate tenants and others, and from our national, county
and district representatives. The Somerset Gazette made it front
page news with an excellent accompanying article.
This website will endeavour to provide up to date information as it
becomes available. The current information is sketchy but it will
shortly be clarified after a public meeting to be held on the evening
of Thursday 24th April at Neroche Hall, the village hall (see
information below). We will also publish links to other websites
with information relevant to the situation in Neroche Parish.
The Crown Estate publishes its policy on rural housing on its
website. A copy of the web page, and a link to the site can be found below.
Time Line of what's known so far
(as of 19.4.2014)
Information provided by Vicky Pearson who has been coordinating the campaign
Residents notified that they have 2 to 4 months to purchase property or leave.
Uncertainty as to how many properties in Neroche Parish involved.
Vicky Pearson begins campaign to prevent evictions. She contacts
Cllr Ross Henly(Somerset County Council)and Cllr John Williams
(Taunton Dean Borough Council).
Bickenhall Women's Institute sends out emails to our MP; County,
District and Parish Councilors; and others, asking questions about
what is happening. Replies offering support were received.
Cllr Ross Henly attends meeting with concerned residents.
A local resident makes a request under the Freedom of Information Act
asking the Crown Estate what residential property it holds in
Somerset and how many it has disposed of recently or plans to sell in
the next 12 months. Reply awaited.
Sarah Hyde, local resident and Deputy-editor of Somerset Gazette,
meets concerned residents.
John Reed, Arch Deacon of Taunton, agrees to write in support.
The group organising the Annual Parish Meeting of Neroche Parish
invites the campaign group to attend the Annual Parish Meeting on
Thursday 1st May at Neroche Hall.
Other residents elsewhere in Taunton Crown Estate make contact and
inform of notices to quit.
Somerset Gazette highlights the evictions on its front page, with an
accompanying article inside.
Local resident produces website for campaign. See
Guardian Newspaper requests information on Crown Agents
response. Reply to questions currently being obtained.
Thurloxton tenant to be interviewed on BBC Radio Somerset.
Request from Linconshire resident to join up with Forced Out to form
a consolidated UK wide campaign and to use the forcedout.co.uk
website. Offer accepted.
Jeremy Browne, Member of Parliament for Taunton Deane, to meet Vicky
Pearson, affected residents and supporters at her home to offer support.
Public Meeting in evening at Neroche Hall, the parish hall, open to
allow affected residents, other Crown tenants and interested
residents. See flyer below.
Ross Henly (Somerset County councillor), John Williams (Taunton Dean
Borough councillor), Jon Bell (Neroche Parish Council Chairman) and
other parish councillors, and the WI will attend, along with the press.
The purpose of the meeting is to find out more about the extent of
the Crown Agents action; the affected residents' reaction to it; and
to assist the residents to deal with the problem.
John Williams (TDBC councillor) to meet Crown Estate Agents.
Ross Henly (Somerset County Councillor) to meet Crown Estate agents.
Neroche Parish Council to hold Extraordinary Meeting to discuss
problem and its response.
Notice to all Crown Estate tenants within Neroche Parish
and to concerned Parishioners
to be held at Neroche Hall,Bickenhall
Thursday 24th April
(click here for directions)
The meeting aims to:
Share current information and action taken
Establish an action group
Discuss and plan a way forward
Those attending include:
Cllr Ross Henly (Somerset County Council)
Cllr John Williams (Taunton Deane Borough Council)
Jon Bell, Chairman, and members of Neroche Parish Council
Rev. Paul Reynolds and Rev. Mary Godin (Benefice representatives)
If you cannot attend but would wish to support your fellow parishioners
or would like to speak/contribute to the meeting, please contact
Vicky Pearson, Orchard Portman tenant, on 01823 327419
or email vickyp at gmx.co.uk
Refreshments kindly donated and served by Bickenhall WI
Information on Crown Estate website page
What we do
Our portfolio of homes includes listed buildings and brand new modern
homes, from one-bed terraces to large detached family houses.
We have over 700 rural residential tenancies, mainly former farm
cottages and farmhouses. New lettings are on an assured shorthold
(AST) basis and attract market value rents.
Our properties are situated across the UK and their day-to-day
management is handled by local managing agents.
For more information on how to contact our agents, please visit:
We also sell as well as let properties in our portfolio. This year,
2014, we have decided to sell a number of our properties across the
portfolio in order to re-invest elsewhere.
Although an AST does not offer any guarantee that a tenant can remain
in a property beyond the end of the contractual term and an owner is
entitled to have vacant possession of the property on service of only
two months' notice, we recognise that finding somewhere else to live
in that space of time may be difficult. In our current sales
programme we are presently able to provide substantially increased
notice periods of up to six months (perhaps longer) depending on
circumstances. Also, as part of the current sales programme we are
offering to all tenants affected first refusal to buy the property
before it is put on the open market.
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