Herefordshire Council Cabinet members will be asked to approve the smallholdings disposal plan at their meeting on 14 April.
The plan outlines how the next steps in the disposal programme will be agreed. The smallholdings disposal plan report identifies the need to minimise timescales and ensure the best value for money, by using an agent to help value and market the assets. It also highlights key sites that the council will retain to enable future development within the county.
Councillor Harry Bramer, Cabinet member for contracts and assets said: “Herefordshire Council is committed to its duty of care for the local community and to tenants. As we find alternative ways to fund the statutory services we have to provide, we need to prioritise which activities the council can support. The disposal plan outlines the process for the structured sale of council smallholdings to help ensure best value for money for taxpayers and clarity for tenants.”
There are 42 smallholding tenants in total and the 23 tenants with ‘lifetime’ and ‘retirement’ tenancies are unaffected by this decision and remain in their properties under their current terms.
In February, the council issued 15 ‘farm business’ tenants with termination of tenancy notices. The period of these notices varied between 12 and 22 months depending on the remaining term of each tenancy. The council has previously met with, and continues to support, farm business tenants on a one-to-one basis offering advice and training.
Tenants will be provided with the opportunity to purchase their own holdings, provided best value is achieved and it does not negatively impact upon the remainder of the identified estate for sale or retention.
The decision to sell the smallholdings was made at Cabinet on 3 December 2015. The smallholdings disposal plan report is available on the council's website.