The Farmers Weekly reports that the NFU have reacted strongly to proposals to sell off county council-owned farms in Cheshire. Union deputy president Meurig Raymond wrote to Cheshire West and Chester Council to express regret at the County's plan to sell 47 farms from its estate.
“The decision is bad news. Council holdings occupy a unique position in the tenanted sector. They provide an opportunity for people to enter the land-based economy who would not be able to do so, as starter farms are not usually available through other landlords,” Mr Raymond said.
“This reflects the role of a council in promoting enterprise and providing opportunities for people to enter business. They play a vital role in sustaining the rural economy of local communities and help local authorities obtain “best value” in the management of their assets.
“We recognise the need that the council has for raising capital and the budgetary pressures they are under but we feel that there are opportunities for the Council to raise this capital without the need to withdraw the provision of County Council Holdings,” Mr Raymond added.