Council challenged to honour ‘’duty of care’ to tenant farmers as notices issued

NFU has strongly urged Herefordshire Council to honour its duty of care to its tenant farmers affected by their decision to sell off the county farms estate.

The first notice was served on Friday (January 29th), just two months after the local authority’s Cabinet agreed to the sale, a decision that affected 45 farming families.

NFU Deputy President Minette Batters said: “We are deeply concerned for those farmers who have been given notice to quit their businesses so soon after the initial announcement.

“It should now be a priority for the local council to provide those issued with these notices with clear and transparent information about the expected timescales involved with this process. They have acknowledged they have a duty of care to treat their tenants fairly. They need to do this with respect and with an understanding of the complete lifestyle change that this decision will mean for many of them.

“We urge the council to give further assurances regarding tenant welfare; do more to help their tenants through this process and express an understanding of the profound impact of receiving these notices just two months after the initial decision was made.”

NFU tenant group chairman Graham Clay said: “I would like to know whether the Cabinet’s policy is to just allow the tenancies to expire and leave the tenants to navigate their own way, or do they intend to provide support in the form of meeting with tenants to establish their priorities? Are they going to provide mentoring advice and support for the individuals and families affected and is there a timetable for the sell off?”

In order to assist its members directly affected by this, NFU will be providing tenants with first response advice and encouraging them all to seek independent agent support in their negotiations with the authority. Once we hear from the council as to the level of support they are proposing to offer the tenants we will consider what else needs to be put in place to ensure that the tenants are helped during what will be a huge change to their businesses and homes.

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